It’s our first #WCW of 2016 and I thought it was only fitting to spotlight my #1 girl crush Fernanda Paz! As some of you know Fernanda and I met in college in a math class one of us didn’t need to be in (her) and the other needed her hand held through (me). I aggressively pursued her and wore her down until she agreed to be my bestie, and the rest is history. Fernanda is essentially the entire reason The Party Girl still exists, because without her I’d still just be crafting up overdramatic parties for Super Bowl and driving Justin crazy. Now there’s a method behind all that madness, and I have a sense of direction, and you have a blog full of party ideas and a Shop full of ways to throw your own Pinterest-perfect party.
So needless to say, Fernanda is like my #WCW errday, and today I get to share her with you.
I like to think Fernanda is like the mysterious one behind the scenes at The Party Girl. Her own insane schedule has meant that she can’t be giving me manicures all the time, so we had to bid farewell to #manimonday, and since neither of us live in Toronto anymore The Weekender posts seemed a little out of place. We’re hitting our 2016 stride with a streamlined blog full of more delicious content, and less of the extras. The PG is going to be 100% your celebration headquarters, where we’re celebrating the everyday – be that with parties, new recipes, our homes, or our peers. And that means that you get more of me, the loud mouth, and less of Fernanda (the one that makes sense). So I hope you take away a new look into the other part of The Party Girl with today’s profile.
Phew, so all of that is to say, I’m SO excited that today you get to:
How did you land your current job? Tell us a bit about your career path so far.
After graduating from UOFT with a History and Spanish degree, thinking I wanted to become a teacher, fate had other plans for me. Teaching was very competitive to get into, so I decided to put my other strengths to work and started an event planning diploma. In my final semester, I was accepted into an internship at a local charity with the Canadian Spinal Research Organization. I was fortunate enough to be offered a part-time position with them when my internship finished, which then lead to a full-time positions a few months after.
What advice would you give to recent grads who are looking for a job in event planning? Any tips or tricks for navigating the industry?
The best advice I can offer to recent event planning grads is to make the best of every situation. I was able to get my current job as an event administrator at a charity, (an industry I’ve always wanted to work in) through applying myself and having fun as an intern. Even though I was technically working for free, I worked hard and they saw that, so when my internship was over they were happy to bring me on full time.
It seems like everyone out there is looking for event planners with lots of experience, which can be hard to get when you’re fresh out of school. So the greatest tip I can share is to volunteer at local events to get as much event planning experience as you can.
What are your favourite parts about your current position? What are some of the challenges?
As with any event planner, the greatest sense of accomplish is seeing the entire event that you’ve coordinated come together. Currently we’re working on building an international campaign called Shoot for Cure, and it’s been so incredible to learn all of the different aspects of a campaign of such a scale. I’ve gotten to work in fundraising, marketing, graphic design, communications and so much more getting the campaign up and running.
As a small team, it can be difficult, managing priorities and the amount of work, especially when the big events are in full swing. It’s a catch 22 because I am able to get experience in almost every aspect of the charity, but the workload can be overwhelming, especially if I’m not organized. Thankfully that’s one of my strengths! There is so much going on at a fast pace, communication and updating one another can be challenging. It’s important to trust your colleagues to have their part done, so you can do yours. It’s like a juggling act, doing so many things at once, but the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing it for a great cause and seeing it all come together after 2-3 months of planning is magnificent.
I wish I could say there was a typical day in the event planning world, every day is different, especially with our growing organization. One day at work can consists of following up on e-mails to website design in the morning to drafting proposals, sponsorships, brain storming campaign ideas to meetings with our Chief Development Officer organizing our international projects in the afternoon. When you have 2-3 events happening in the same timeframe, it can get very hectic, so I especially make sure I get the boss his morning coffee during those busy weeks.
Event planning can be a very demanding career. What kind of things do you think are vital to balancing your personal and professional life?
It’s definitely a demanding career especially when you have a tight deadline for the event next week, so it can be easy for your work life to go into your home life. I think setting those expectations from the beginning with your partner and knowing that sometimes it will be a part of the job, and also knowing to take that time to turn off and not bring work home with you. The most vital thing for me was having my daily planner, knowing exactly what I had to check off that day, so I didn’t have to take my work home…most days.
What’s your next goal?
Where I would like to be in the next couple years is to complete my CFRE designation, as I’ve really enjoyed the fundraising aspects of my job. I’ve enrolled in a couple courses that I think will be a great next step in my career.
If you could pick anyone, which three women would you invite to your next dinner party?
That’s a great question, my next dinner party would have to include
Karina and Katrina from Tone It Up (we’ll count them as one). They are my health inspirations, I wish I had their abs!
Jennifer Lawrence for her quirky and hilarious sense of humour, and Ashley McAllister, because she is my favourite Party Girl [AM: we’re so in love]
What are your favourite Instagram accounts to follow?
Toneitup- their workouts are crazy good, Emily Lee- because I just can’t get enough of her planners, & Mystylediaries- I wish I had her fashion sense
I wish I knew how to…..
Sew, I know it sounds lame, and I guess I missed that class in Home Ec, but wouldn’t it be fun to be able to make all of your own clothes??!!
Tell us what “celebrate the everyday” means to you:
Enjoying the little moments with the people that matter most to you.