Today we’d like to introduce you to DeNeitra Burnett.
DeNeitra, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
After graduating from Howard University in Washington, D.C. I was uncertain about the direction of my professional life. I signed up for the LSAT and decided that I would take a shot at law school. Did I want to be a lawyer? Not really, but a few of my peers were following that path and I figured exploring the possibility would at least buy me more time to figure “it” out. After not one, not two, but three less than ideal runs at the LSAT it was pretty obvious that law school was not in the cards for me. I decided to pack up my bags and relocate from sunny Southern California to NYC for an internship with the Zagat Survey. That internship was a pivotal moment in my life because it exposed me to the world of events. I worked in the corporate communications department and was charged with assisting with the various elements of event planning. Those 3 months are among the best of my life and are officially when I caught the event bug. I moved back home to SoCal and decided to return to school to pursue a business degree. While in business school I took an entrepreneurship course and was charged with starting a business. Still remembering the rush I got from planning events with the Zagat team, I thought, “hey, why don’t I just start a wedding planning business?” A friend of a friend was recently engaged and “hired” me to plan her wedding. Although the planning experience was a whirlwind, I did it, and it was freaking amazing! The rest, as they say, is history.
I founded Savvy Events in 2009 and had no clue that I would grow the then, wedding planning business, into a premier resource for brands and corporate clients looking to produce intentional and on brand event experiences. Although our roots began with planning weddings, the focus of the company has shifted over the past 9 years. In 2016 we stepped into the fast growing influencer space, partnering with brands such as Makeup Geek Cosmetics and La Roche-Posay to produce on brand and on-trend experiential events from Los Angeles to New York City with a focus on curating experiences that create buzz, increase brand awareness, and have Instagrammable moments at every turn. I’m extremely excited about the trajectory of the company I founded while in business school and even more excited that we’ve carved a space for ourselves in the Los Angeles event planner landscape. I have big plans to continue partnering with brands to share their story through intentional and experiential events.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Gosh, so many victories yet so many struggles… but, that’s life, and more importantly, that’s entrepreneurship.
1. I have been blessed to work with some amazing people. However some of the biggest challenges have revolved around finding the right people to work with. Not every person who has joined our team has done so for the right reasons. Becoming more discerning along the way has definitely helped the road be more smooth.
2. Another challenge is setting boundaries. I love what I do and I love the client’s that we serve, so it’s easy to respond to an email at 11 pm if I see it come through on my iPhone. Over the past several months I’ve been really intentional with setting boundaries and not allowing every email or phone call that comes through to dictate my moments. I respond, of course, but now I do so during office hours.
3. Consult an attorney EARLY. Your contract should accurately reflect and protect your services and business. This will help you avoid some obstacles and make resolving some challenges much smoother than they would be otherwise. Remember to revisit this over time. As your business evolves so should your contract. It’s worth the investment.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Savvy Events is a boutique experiential events company based in Los Angeles, California. We specialize in curating on brand, on-message, and on-trend event experiences primarily for brands in the beauty and lifestyle space. We totally get influencer events and understand the varied components necessary to produce influencer focused events. No stone can be left unturned and we recognize that every single element is interwoven to convey a specific message and that message tells a story that is translated through branding, photo activations, and unique elements that elevate the brand and distinguish their event from the dozens of other influencer events happening every day from LA to NYC and Miami.
We plan, design, and produce experiences that keep guests excited about the brand and more importantly, excited to pull out their cell phones, capture and share the details. I’m most proud of how we’ve been able to establish a very unique space for ourselves in the ever-evolving experiential events arena and that our clients are continually impressed with our work.
I honestly think what sets us apart from other event companies is the fact that we ask the right questions and then we listen and allow what we have learned to inform our planning, creative design and event production. We fully immerse ourselves in our client’s world by asking targeted questions, allowing us to get to know their brand, what their goals are, and what they are looking to accomplish. Based on that feedback we develop a game plan and we rock it. We bring our A-game to every single event we touch.
What were you like growing up?
I was totally shy, a complete introvert, and afraid of my own shadow. I was diagnosed with vocal nodules on my vocal cords when I was in elementary school which caused my voice to sound very raspy and hoarse. Kids constantly talked about my voice so I was extremely self-conscious about talking in front of people for fear of being talked about. After years of speech therapy my voice improved and the hoarseness went away. With that improvement came greater confidence that to this day I am continuing to hone.
I loved reading and spending time with a small and close group of friends. My parents often hosted family and friends at our home for weekend parties and dinners so there were always cousins, aunties and uncles around. My childhood was so full of love and warmth and I look back fondly on that time.
- Website: www.savvy-events.com
- Phone: 323.834.9611
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/savvyeventsllc
- Facebook: facebook.com/savvyevents
- Twitter: twitter.com/savvyevents
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