b&b191 DDJA Lesly Simmons on event planning and knowing your worth
“I’m thinking of getting into event planning.” A lot of people say it, but what does it really take? How do you decide what kinds of events to plan: weddings, holiday parties, conferences, the list goes on with some more specialized than others. Whatever you choose, it takes a lot of dedication and careful financial, as well as event, planning. As Lesly says “Even when I’m not working, I’m working.” She shares with us what it’s really like, how to ask for what you’re worth, and how to know what you’re worth, what kinds of offers to accept, and much more.
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It’s not easy to start your own business and it’s even harder when it feels like you have to explain to your family what you do every time you see them, when you walk into an event and can count on one hand the PoC in the room, when you try to ask for what you’re worth, but don’t want to get passed over for the next person. We ask folks to leave their shiny pictures and Instagram highlights at the door and tell us what it’s really like to do the work, put in the time, and devote your life to your work.
Lesly Simmons is the founder and president of Simmons Creative, senior content and events producer specializing in audience engagement through events and social media. She has consulted with companies including Google, Amtrak, Oculus, Airbnb and others to develop and execute content strategies for conferences, product launches and influencer programs for nearly 10 years.
Before founding Simmons Creative, Lesly managed disaster and diversity communications for the American Red Cross in Washington DC, and worked as a reporter for the Washington Post and the Bureau of National Affairs. Lesly has a master’s degree in ethics and philosophy from Georgetown University, and currently lives in San Francisco.
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