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Ask FVO!: How do I Transition from a Banking Career to Event Planning?

Funmi Victor-Okigbo

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Ask-FVO-NEW-PICBellaNaija is pleased to announce a new column for our special readers – Ask FVO! Funmi Victor-Okigbo (FVO)  is an expert in event planning & management, and is now a  BellaNaija contributor.

FVO is the Chief Executive and Lead Production Designer of No Surprises Events. Her corporate client base spans industries as diverse as technology, entertainment, banking, government and consumer goods across sub-Saharan Africa.

Need help planning a family dinner, birthday party, seminar, wedding, board meeting, concert or just curious about how the professionals do some of their amazing tricks? If you have a burning question, just Ask FVO and get a focused, clear, no-nonsense answer!

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Hi FVO,

I’ve spent the last 6 years in the banking industry and have decided that I want to work in Events Coordination. I just think life is too short for monotonous jobs and I’m looking to inject fun into my career. I’ve chosen events because while it might be hard work, it appears very glamorous and a good way to spend time whilst making oodles of money. How would you suggest I get started? Given I’m an experienced professional, I don’t feel I should have to start at the bottom of the ladder. I’d really appreciate your advice.

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Hi Temi!

First I’d like to ask why you want to make a switch to the Events industry? I’m hoping it’s much more than about the glam and money! You must be truly passionate about it and be ready to work your way from bottom to the top as the jobs may not be as frequent in the beginning as you’d love and this will be your true test.

Events management is not as glamorous as a lot of people think because let’s face it, we make the events happen so we are ‘backstage’ most of the time and for the money making part you have to be patient as it takes a while to ‘make money’ there are lots of overheads you have to consider like phone bills, staff salaries (you may not have a lot at the beginning but at some point you’ll need help 🙂

You may have been in the banking industry for a while and even though you may have transferable skills, like communication and problem solving skills, some of those skills still need to be honed in the events industry (and this is not to take anything away from the banking industry) for example at the bank you may only need to communicate with a few people at the time and most times maybe to the same people, however in the events industry you will have to communicate to different clients and lots of vendors at the same time, one email may not just do it sometimes, you may have to follow it up with a phone calls just to be sure! It’s important that your message is clear as there are no dress rehearsals, you have to get it right the first time so clear communication is extremely important. You can only get good at this on the job!

Are any of you looking to make a change into an event management career? What expectations do you have? Let me hear from you.

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Send your questions for FVO to askFVO(at)nosurprisesevents.com stating your name and where you are writing from. The editor reserves the right to edit submissions for content brevity and clarity. We regret that we cannot provide individual answers to questions sent in and cannot state at which exact date answers would be published.

We look forward to reading your emails and tweets with questions.

Funmi Victor-Okigbo (FVO) is the Chief Executive and Lead Production Designer of No Surprises Events. Her corporate client base spans industries as diverse as technology, entertainment, banking, government and consumer goods across sub-Saharan Africa. No Surprises Events practices an in-house methodology termed “Event Architecture” which they hold delivers world class events in a predictable on-time and on-budget fashion. Developed over the years, “Event Architecture” has become the company’s trademark as well as a FVO’s personal approach to creating and managing events for corporate and individual clients. The approach has since been incorporated into FVO’s other venture, The Wedding Company.Visit www.nosurprisesevents.com

13 Comments

  1. yassbeetch

    September 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Share deets of ur hairstyle pls

    • Torise

      September 3, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      electrocution

    • Hills

      September 3, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Lol!…Or Diana Ross`s hairspray

  2. Nikky

    September 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Why seek to hear other people’s expectations when you are ready to just bash them about it. The so called writer gave you her reason and asked her questions, but you chose to ignore her question and lecture her on the negatives of your job and why she shouldnt go into it. Seriously lady, if you are going to be an advise columnist, be open minded and learn to answer questions directly.

    To the writer, your question is “how do you get started?”. You can moonlight or intern with an already established company, otherwise, you can just start right off by advertising your business to people. All it takes its a couple of satisfied customers for word of mouth to go. Everyone starts at a place. Start small if you have to, start big if you want. Read up on event planning, find something that makes you unique and separate from the rest. And oh btw, if you dont know squat about event planning but still wanna do it, the round about way of doing it is hiring people smarter than you as regards to event planning and letting them be the creative mind while you hold the position of CEO.

    • Nikky

      September 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      And oh btw, you can start by organizing a party for yourself or a friend of yours. Start a blog to showcase your work. create an instagram page to showcase your work. The more people who sees your work and likes it, the more exposure you get. Even if its your church or banking job, someone wants to throw a party. You can do it free or charge a small amount but make sure there is something “you” in your work that sets you apart.

    • tbn

      September 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      I like your response. The writer did not answer the question. She only discouraged the person who wanted to go into events business. I have found out that this is common with established business persons, they discourage people who want to come into their line of business.

    • Daisy

      September 3, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      I don’t understand why you say the writer didn’t answer the question. Temi (the person asking the question) stated “I’ve chosen events because while it might be hard work, it appears very glamorous and a good way to spend time whilst making oodles of money” AND ‘”Given I am an experienced professional, I don’t feel I should have to start at the bottom of the ladder”

      So to me the writer needed to tell Temi that event planning isn’t as glamorous as s/he thinks. Truthfully, a lot of people think event planning is an easy job that is easy to break into and be successful at. However having gone to tons of events there are people that really have no business planning events. No Passion. No Innovation. Poor Execution. So I agree, before you go into the business (and really any business), you need to ask yourself some hard questions.

    • iba

      September 3, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      I totally agree with you here. After reading what this new contributor had to say, i had to read again and again cos i felt she didn’t do justice to the question – i was actually shocked she could just skip it and on a walk down her own lane.

      Oh well welcome Funmi, i love event management but not taking part in it. I’d be following your column. I bet there is more you can share.

    • yours truly

      September 5, 2014 at 11:15 pm

      God bless you! You took the words right out of my mouth. Very typical of human beings (Nigerians especially). Rather than address the question, she was rambling on and giving the writer the third degree. Mschew.

  3. ify

    September 3, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    menn i decided to comment today first time ever in BN @tbn and nikky. 1 million likes for this piece to the writer. the so called okigbo did not encourage the lady at all very sad. God bless u pls as an established person give insightful encouragement not down cast hopes .i don.t think any person will get in touch after the whole bashing

  4. Funmi Victor-Okigbo

    September 3, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    @Nikki, you gave Temi some good advice there about starting her business by organising parties and showcasing her work on Instagram etc. I guess I should have also listed a few things she could do while answering the question. Having said that, this forum is designed to be interactive and I also look forward to learning as I advice so thank you!

    The objective of this column is not to bash or discourage anyone but to give advice based on my experience. My response was to help her make an informed decision. Leaving a well paying job to start your own business is something that should be considered carefully and not taken lightly.

    In reality the job is not as glamorous as people think as I mentioned earlier and there are overheads to be considered, however if you love your job and are ready to work hard, with patience and determination the reward is sure to come.

    Contrary to what people think, the growth of the industry is actually a good thing, the more event planners there are in the industry, the better it is for everyone, competition is good for the industry and actually helps raise the bar, that way the client gets a lot of choices and are better for it.

    @tbn I’m not sure ALL business owners discourage people from starting their own business if I may speak for some of them, I think it’s all down to how you interpret the advice and how you make it work for you. if you really love something and are determined to make it work, no one should make you change your mind no matter what, I guess that in itself is a true test of your passion.

  5. Teju

    September 3, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Read up about event planning and take time to sit down to know which one you would love to specialize on eg, weddings, corporate events etc. Event planning and management is very wide and you can just choose one or do all as most event planners do especially in Nigeria. Research well on you core of expertise, pin up some of your favorite vendors in an archive for future references. You can intern with an event planner but all in all you need to believe in yourself. When choosing your company’s name, choose one that is catchy and let it cross across all your social media platforms.

  6. Uc

    September 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    welldone to the writter at least some persons will stick with their jobs rather than make d switch…By d way this days we have all sort of things going on eg MUA was the in thing at a time today every family has one. event Cattering small chops etc look well a member of ur family does it my sis told me of a wedding in festac where the anuty had her camp gas at d venue and was serving hot small chops as her donation to the couple hmmmmm stick with your paying job and learn a skill it all come in handy when u need to help a family member or a friend cause they might as well hve sumting to offer when u re in need u all save money
    Please dont eat me raw just my observation shikena

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