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Student Feature: Jessica DeCoste

Jessica DeCoste is a 23 year old student enrolled in the QC Event & Wedding Planning course. She was born and raised in Alberta and plans to stay there for the immediate future. She loves working with people, especially when it involves achieving a common goal.

Notes from Jessica

Though I love being out-going and personable, I am also always grounded to my work or a project that I am passionate about. I am very organized and, oddly enough, work well under pressure. I am always available to help, which is exactly what I want to do as an event planner. I want to take the stress away from clients to create an enjoyable experience for them.

Growing up I was always excited to plan my own birthday parties. I would have a set schedule with what games we were going to play, and when to open presents and have cake (thanks for providing the budget, Mom!) Everything was always planned perfectly because I always wanted my friends to have a good time, which they did!

After struggling with a career choice for a few years, I had to sit down and ask myself: “What do I actually enjoy doing?” Everything fell into place when my birthday came around. Even at 23 years old, I had it all planned out and I enjoyed every second of it. I even had a friend approach me for some help with her daughter’s birthday party. I like to help people and I always have. I think a career doing this is exactly what I want to do.

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Did you always see yourself as an event planner?

As a career, I never considered being an event planner. I’ve always been one of those people who didn’t really know what I wanted to do but enjoyed learning everything I could. I went to school studying Communication Arts at Lethbridge College which was great in eventually leading me into to the world of corporate, conference and event planning that I am now a part of. Studying the QC Event and Wedding Planning Course is a great way for me to become even better at what I do. And I’ve enjoyed every second of it!

What are you enjoying most about the QC course thus far?

I really enjoy the ease of following the program. I have never studied anything in an online format, and I’ve always been more of a hands-on learner, so I was nervous about not knowing how and when to do everything (readings, assignments etc.) I love that everything can be done at my own pace and that the course itself is clear and easy to follow. Working full-time, volunteering and having two one-year-old puppies at home, my life doesn’t often allow for spare time. Being able to do this when I can has made the experience even greater than I had initially hoped!

The online chat is also a great resource if I ever find myself with any questions.

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What is the most valuable thing you have learned thus far?

I’m thoroughly enjoying the business start-up education and advice included in the program. I don’t intend to start my own business after completion of the course; however, I may decide to do so in the future, and it’s great having the resources and knowledge available to do so. I knew a little bit about business education when I started with QC, but certainly not enough to one day start my own.

I’m enjoying all aspects of the program as it is up-to-date with current trends in the industry, but also allows for creative freedom and ideas! I love to be creative and come up with “unusual” or “out-of-the-box” ideas and this course allows me to do just that.

What has your most successful project been thus far?

I have done a number of event-planning projects; however, I didn’t do them alone. I can’t take all the credit for their success!

I worked with a great crew when I was at the Lethbridge College Student’s Association. We worked on so many fundraisers, awareness projects, and some just-for-fun events that it is truly difficult to pick just one “favourite”.

What are some things about event planning that you find tedious or trying?

I find it tedious to remember each and every tiny detail of an event. Knowing that this is extremely important in the industry, it has forced me to become more organized, which really is the key to success. When you have a repeat client, they often request many of the same partners and suppliers from their last event. When you’re involved in lots of events, it’s hard to recall the suppliers and partners involved in each one. Keeping a record and knowing what happened one, two, three years ago has made it much easier for me to comprehend. It’s tedious work, but ultimately rewarding for you and your clients.

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What do you think is the next big thing in event planning?

Working in the industry, I know that there is a lot on the go and that it is ever-changing. I believe that clients want “something different” in their event. Many events are done “by the book” (and some clients like it that way!) but once in a while it is good to suggest something completely unexpected. Specifically, many corporate and business events are very similar and altered very slightly for each event. My favorite thing to do is to suggest “weird” and “unique” venues. Instead of having the gala in a conference room at a hotel, host it at a local vineyard or at a specific exhibit at the local museum. These little changes can make people say “Remember that event we went to that was held at the ________”. Having people talk about an event, after the event, is one of the best compliments an event planner can get!

What does the future hold for you?

To be honest, I’m not completely sure! I’m extremely excited to finish the course as I’m only three units in at this point. Aside from my full-time job, I hope that I can work on charity events and fundraisers for non-profit organizations. I love the rewarding feeling of helping people and organizations help others. I can say with confidence that I will definitely be working in event planning, one way or another!

To find out how you can become a student at QC Event School, click here!