CEO of the Simplifiers – Mary Baird-Wilcock, CSEP has over 14 years experience in the events industry and now she’s helping other event professionals using everything she’s learned running her own business. We decided to interview her and find out more including the biggest challenges she’s faced and her guilty pleasure…
You may have heard that Mary has established the Super Mentor Academy to help #eventprofs take themselves and their business to the next level. She’s also offering event professionals 9 days of free coaching with the #9toSIMPLIFY challenge!
You can also listen to inteviews with Mary on the Twentisphere podcast HERE and on Social Tables HERE. One of these interviews will teach you about building relationships and sales, the other involves a conversation about a giant hamster…
How did you end up establishing your own business in the events industry?
Prior to launching The Simplifiers in 2003, would you believe I worked in commercial radio?!
Yes, it’s true.
I basically worked in every job imaginable in the radio industry, including sales, marketing, on-air as a DJ (aka. radio presenter), voiceover talent, engineer and promotions. It’s the promotions department where I fell in love with event planning, as the promotions team are the ones who produced large-scale community events, festivals and concerts.
I also worked in marketing for live music venues and at the Austin Lyric Opera, as well.
I started The Simplifiers because I am passionate about producing non-traditional events for clients looking for something different. Over the years, we’ve attracted some amazing tech clients like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Intel to produce their events and have worked with hundreds of brides who refuse to have a cookie-cutter wedding.
I think what makes our team stand out from the rest is an equal balance of attention to detail project management skills, mixed with a thirst for creative design and producing unforgettable, FUN live experiences. Plus, we aim to ALWAYS keep things simple for our clients.
What are your proudest achievements?
As an event planner, receiving my CSEP certification in 2013 as a Certified Special Events Professional was an absolute highlight. There are only ~400 in the entire world and I’m 1 of 3 in the UK alone. It’s a highly sought after achievement that can’t be bought online but rather earned with experience, dedication to our craft and proven knowledge in our field.
In addition, getting listed as one of the “Top 25 Young Event Pros To Watch” globally by the Special Events Magazine is quite an honor!
What are your areas of expertise?
Mentoring, project management, budgeting, sales and public speaking are all areas that I’m passionate about and love teaching others. My mission is to make a positive impact that elevates the events industry as a whole.
Why did you decided to start coaching other #eventprofs?
Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support and guidance of my business coaches and mentors I’ve had over the last 20 years. Each one has helped shape my character, my work ethic and built up my business acumen.
As a business coach for event planners, I feel it’s a great honor to help guide others in the events industry. I love walking alongside someone, giving them the tools and advice they need to take action and achieve their goals.
I’ve mentored well over 150+ interns within The Simplifiers over the years and transitioning to becoming a mentor for event planners and #eventprofs was the natural next step, sharing everything I know.
What are the hardest challenges you’ve overcome as an #eventprof and business owner?
90% of all small businesses fail within the first 5 years.
When The Simplifiers crossed the 5 year mark, business was actually booming. But let’s be honest, there are ALWAYS ups and downs in any business, every step of the way.
As a creative myself, I knew early on that I needed to gain a mentor to teach me the basics of cash flow or I would not survive. That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made for my business.
What do you wish a mentor/coach had shared with your 10 years ago?
Hire slow and fire FAST!
The secret to a long-lasting business is surrounding yourself with an awesome team. You’ve got to find the right people who not only believe in the vision and core values of your events business and but also have skills that compliment yours. Don’t look for clones of yourself, but rather, fill the gaps to created a well-rounded team.
What are your biggest strengths as a coach?
I’m approachable. I’m down-to-earth.
I crack jokes and keep it real.
I also try to break down big, scary topics like cash flow, bookkeeping and sales into simple, easy-to-understand and more importantly, easy-to-implement terms. Sometimes, female entrepreneurs have a lot of shame and fear when it comes to money management and pricing. I squash all that by keeping it as simple as possible.
What tools or methods do you use to get the biggest changes and results out of your coaching clients?
Break it down (MC Hammer style)!
No really, break down the big, hairy audacious goals into tiny, bite-size nuggets.
So you want to win the “Event Professional of the Year” award in your city like Lotoya Vongrechin of V Agency Events? No problem…I’ll help you create a game plan to make it happen. Do you want to work with a big name client like Ryan Hansen, CSEP of BeEvents? Go for it! I’ll share my tips to position yourself wisely and create this opportunity!
Favorite TV show at the moment: RuPaul’s Drag Race, season 9
Go to snack: raw sugar snap peas (straight from the packet or dip ‘em in hummus, yum!)
Guilty Pleasure: cuddling other people’s dogs…I’m a foster parent at Dog’s Trust!
Favorite way to unwind: I love to paint with oils. I always tell myself before beginning that I don’t care at all what the finished product looks like, which somehow squashes the “this is crap” inner voice. It’s so therapeutic…right now, I’m painting a jellyfish because #whynot.
1 thing about you that would surprise us: I’m an egg purist…which means, I only eat eggs scrambled or as a omelette. I’m hoping, one day, my tastes will change but for now, I eat eggs like an eight year old.
The #9toSIMPLIFY challenge is coming back!
Launching again on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, this FREE 9-day challenge is built for small business owners in the events industry (both #eventparents and non) who are looking to create a complete game plan to boost their cash flow, book BETTER clients and up level their business in 2017. (valued at $997 USD) Are you up for the challenge?