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Meet Kelsey Walker of The Kelsey Symone` in Doral

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelsey Walker.

Kelsey, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.

I moved to Rhode Island (from NC) for two years right after high school and I attempted to start an event planning business with my boyfriend at the time. It started off pretty good from getting the business registered, getting insurance, and an office, etc. The business came to an abrupt stop when our personal relationship started to deteriorate. Thankfully, we were only in the beginning stages of starting a business. We didn’t have any clients we were just filling out all the paperwork and getting office space. In an effort to save the relationship we decided to start over in a new city (Miami). That was short lived lived as he became increasingly more abusive.

Thankfully, for me, I made a few friends that helped me get out of that horrific situation. They are the reason I am alive and pursuing my dreams of being an Event Planner. I am currently a student at Florida International University working towards a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a Minor in International Event Planning. I have again started from scratch and I am looking forward to every minute of it. My advice to anyone looking to start a business is to do your research on the kind of business you want to create and surround yourself with people who want to see you succeed. The most valuable thing I have learned so far is that event planning it’s not about the event. Instead it’s about the people having the event. Your job is to make sure that they have the experience of a lifetime no matter how big or small the event is. People are not just allowing you to throw them a party, they are inviting you into their lives to help them create memories that will last them a lifetime.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It hasn’t been easy but it has been very rewarding. I lived in a domestic violence shelter and I thought that was going to kill me. They have a way of making you feel less than human but I learned something about myself. I am a fighter and when you hit rock-bottom there is nowhere left to go but up. I thankfully was accepted into Florida International University and no longer had to live in a shelter. It can’t explain the joy I felt. I knew I would be able to pursue my dreams of event planning and that I was safe. If I could sum up my experience it would be through one of my favorite Rocky Balboa quotes. “You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” I know there will be more struggles in the future and I am okay with that. As a young African-American woman entering the world of business, it can be tricky to navigate. There are assumptions that are made about me and my abilities based simply on my appearance and secondly because of my age. I’m 25 years old and in a space with people that have been planning events for as long as I’ve been living. The thing that comforts me is that I truly feel that I am my own competition because I challenge myself daily to be more creative & innovative because I know what I’m capable of.

Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about your work?
The Kelsey Symone` is named after myself because that’s what you are getting, me. I am an event planner and plan all kinds of events such as 8-hour conferences, weddings, commitment ceremonies, intimate celebrations, birthdays, etc. I am a person who naturally likes to celebrate other people so event planning feels natural to me. This may sound crazy but my specialty is not in the kind of event but in the experience of the event. I’m a firm believer that anybody can throw together some really pretty decor and have an event but not everybody can create an experience. What I’ve come to learn about events is often times people don’t need someone to plan the entire thing they just need someone to execute on the day of so that they can relax. I happen to be great at that. I think what I’m most proud of and what sets me apart from other people is the variety that I’m able to offer as an event planner. I can plan any kind of event and I can be as involved as much or as little as you need. Most event planners specialize in a type of event and I specialize in people at the end of the day my job is about you. My services range from a simple consultation to full-scale event planning. You tell me what you need and we will build a package around it.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
The ability to care for and relate to other people is what I believe is essential to success. I get immense joy from making other people happy. I will go out of my way to ensure that I not only meet but surpass your expectations. People will forget many things but they will always remember how you make them feel. I can’t count how many times I’ve been to an event and the event space was beautiful but the only thing I can remember is how poorly I was treated. Things as simple as making sure there are cushions on wire chairs can make all the difference. Wire chairs are stunning in terms of decor but boy are they uncomfortable without a cushion.

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Image Credit:
Spark with Luly B., The Black Student Union at FIU, TrapxCanvas

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