What is & Celebrate’s origin story?
Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around celebrations at my grandparents’ dining room table in Maine — cake, silly hats, whacky games. My grandfather was someone who was willing to spend his last time on a good time. Our family lived by the motto, “it’s all about the experience.” And, because we rarely had the money to spend on vacations, or other luxuries, my mom and grandmother turned every birthday, holiday, minor achievement — including the first day of school & last day of school, and the dog’s birthday — into a reason to celebrate.
From them, I learned that boxed lunches comprised of the simplest ingredients (PB&J on white bread) could be turned into a spectacular dining experience if cut using adorable cookie cutters. Handwritten notes, handmade Valentines, thoughtful gift wrap, also had a large influence on my way of being. These seemingly inconsequential special touches made me feel loved and well-cared for. Over the years, I witnessed how others were touched by these same small gestures, thoughtful notes, and random acts of kindness my mom and grandmother consistently delivered. They were often unexpected but wholeheartedly appreciated by each recipient.
In-between childhood & today: I made my way to Little Rhody to attend college, entering Salve Regina University as ‘undecided,’ and later transferring to URI to study Public Relations. PR helped me strengthen my writing skills and taught me the importance of storytelling. Later, I returned to school to earn a second degree in Graphics, Multimedia & Web Design. There, I learned how to visually tell stories through design. Over the last decade, I built a career in marketing serving a variety of sectors — from insurance to fashion, to technology, and real estate — always with an emphasis on client relations and event management.
The here & now: And Celebrate was born as a result of blending my combined life experience, passion for celebration, and recognition that entrepreneurs could use a partner in brand building, event strategy, & content development to reach the people they most want to serve and make a more meaningful impact on the world.
And Celebrate encompasses much more than event planning — it’s all about the experience! Together, we identify the series of touchpoints and experiences that will elevate the clients’ in-person events long before their guests walk in the door. It’s about putting ourselves in the guest’s shoes and asking the client, “how do you want your guests to feel?” … That becomes the jumping off point for building in design elements and micro-brand-experiences to make each event more meaningful and impactful. This often includes event promotion, email sequencing leading up to the event, branded décor items, activities prior to and during the event, branded workbooks and printed materials, takeaways, gifts, future client on-boarding elements, such as “welcome for joining” gift ideas and email sequences. Because when businesses infuse the same level of care and detail into their brands that my mom and grandmother demonstrated to be so impactful in everyday life, they have the opportunity to set themselves apart and ensure their prospects and clients feel seen, heard, appreciated, and well-cared for — which, in turn, leads to positive client reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and lifelong customers. Now, that’s something to celebrate!
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to young professionals looking to make the leap from day-job to business owner/entrepreneur?
1) Listen — to the needs of others & your intuition. My second business, The Branding Edit, formed in collaboration with Brittanny Taylor & Olivia Rodrigues was created in response to a need we heard other creative entrepreneurs describing in the market. We recognized that our combined skills, talents, and areas of expertise could help busy, creative entrepreneurs with capture and tell their stories visually online and off. Had we not been tuned in, we may not have ever launched The Branding Edit. When you’re listening & leading with your intuition, decision-making becomes a heck of a lot easier and allows you stay in alignment with your truest desires.
2) Experiment, experiment, experiment. Continually iterate your processes, refine your offerings and shape your services to meet the needs of your ideal clients. Your clients will be your biggest teachers. Stay open to learning, and adjust as you go.
3) Invest in yourself by attending conferences, workshops, retreats, and seminars that are offering tools, resources, and connections to people in your industry who will help you grow. Trust me, the more you show up and put yourself out there, the more you receive.
Tell us about the role of collaboration in your career.
To me, there is nothing better than collaboration. A seedling of an idea can bloom into a fully grown garden when you are collaborating & co-creating with others. Before striking out on my own, I spent 10+ years in corporate settings — companies ranging in size from 5 to 5,000 — and it was always the people I missed when I chose to move on to other opportunities. The cool part about building my career, and now my business, in Rhode Island is that I’ve maintained many of those connections along the way, and they’re now coming back around in different forms in my own business. For example, my first ‘anchor’ client was the result of a connection made by my dear friend and mentor from my very first job out of college at Delta Dental of RI, my first hire, Ashley Holmes, was a former colleague at Swarovski Crystal, and the relationship I have with Chris Colbert at Barrington Printing was originally formed when I was working as Marketing Director for Bluedog Capital Partners — I now recommend Chris to many of my clients for their event printing needs.
What does a typical workday look like? Do you have a daily routine or ritual that you swear by / that helps you stay focused as you build your business?
For me, every workday is different and I LOVE that. Depending on the day, I could be working from my cozy home office, a favorite coffee shop, a table at Red DWG Library CoWorking Lounge, or onsite at an event, but no matter what time I wake up, or where I’m headed, here are the few things I do: 5-20 mins of meditation, followed by a few minutes writing in my Five-Minute Journal, then straight for the coffee. If the weather is nice, I usually take a vigorous walk around the neighborhood before coming home to enjoy eggs, avocado and toast, and settling into my work.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra that inspires you?
“The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” — Oprah Winfrey … I refer to this quote often to keep me anchored to my mission and truly believe whatever we focus on, we receive more of, which is why I choose to maintain a positive outlook as often as possible.
How can young professionals create more space for celebration in both their careers and their lives?
I love this question! Here’s the thing, we have the tendency to emphasize the negative rather than the positive, which psychologists point out stems back from our earliest beginnings when being aware of and avoiding danger was a critical survival skill. This has carried over into our current time, we give greater weight to criticism than praise, and we rarely pause to celebrate all the little actions we take, which ultimately lead us to the big things. There is data out there that states, “it takes 5-10 positive events to counterbalance one negative event.” So, I encourage everyone to start and end each day with celebration. Important note: A celebration does not have to entail a big band, balloons, or confetti. To celebrate is to give acknowledgment in gratitude. It can be as simple as savoring & celebrating your morning cup of coffee, celebrating the air pumping in and out of your lungs on your morning walk, or the celebrating the freedom to spend a few extra minutes in bed on a weekday. Other ideas include: setting an alarm on your phone to go off mid-day, then stopping to celebrate the moment, whatever it is; when winding down for the night, take pause & celebrate everything you DID accomplish that day … every phone call, every connection made, every word written, every email responded to; establish the practice of texting a friend at the end of each day with three things you’re celebrating today. Because, like Oprah so brilliantly reminds us, “The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”