Headshots by Jess Jolin Photography
Part 4 is all about my girl, Ellen. <3
In early March of 2017, I received a very thoughtful email from a student in England. She was looking for an internship and something about the email struck me. At the time, I never had anyone work behind the scenes at NMWE and, honestly, had no idea how to ask for help or what tasks to give anyone behind the scenes. For six years I had been doing all of the planning, designing, social media, website building and managing, bookkeeping and accounting, inquiry management, networking, along with everything else that goes into being a business owner – completely alone.
We decided to setup a Skype appointment and briefly chatted. I liked her energy and her follow through (I was pretty awful at emailing her back / confirming a time for a call). After our Skype session she was still interested in the possibility of working together (which surprised me because I had just gotten home from the gym, looked a hot mess, didn’t really prepare any interview questions, and all around didn’t totally take her seriously – I mean, she lived in England). Sure enough, we set up another interview. This time I got my sh%t together. If she was seriously going to travel to another country for an internship, I didn’t want to let her down or waste her time. I wanted to understand what she was hoping to gain from the experience, what she thought she may want to do in the future and how I could help her get there. I also needed to set some realistic expectations so she didn’t fly all the way across the pond and be let down. I mean, let’s get real, event planning is NOT as glamorous as instagram or the movies make it look. We are often collaborating with highly emotional individuals and stressed out parents while researching and organizing the dozens of options couples have while keeping track of all the logistics. During wedding season, while I wish we were twirling in a field of flowers listening to people profess their love, we’re actually counting and packing crazy amounts of inventory, removing those super annoying stickers that never actually come off (candle holders, lanterns, water glasses, etc), confirming the venue location for the 17th time with Vendor X, physically hauling super heavy boxes and boxes of decor, moving tables and chairs, fixing broken rental potties, drying ceremony chairs, redrying ceremony chairs when it rains again, etc, etc, etc.
On top of ^that^, I needed her to know that I worked from my “home office”. What this means is I work in the second bedroom of our new home in Kittery that we’re totally renovating (i.e. we don’t have door knobs on the bathroom door at the current moment!), and that I also have two cats and a crazy, adorable, very attention needy dog. We also have chickens, I work in my sweats a lot, laundry is often in the living room needing folding, and I like to work with loud music playing.
She loved it all (or so she said… haha!).
At this point, I was really excited to have her on board. When I used to teach high school math (ya, I did that for a year), I really enjoyed working with my students. I was looking forward to working with someone and hopefully becoming a type of mentor for them.
Ellen has been working with me for slightly over a year now and she has been helping me with all types of behind the scenes tasks. Every day is different and she’s become a fantastic mind reader. I send her emails as I think of things and she organizes my thoughts and gets s#*t done. She’s super helpful with researching new vendors, collecting and organizing information, and giving moral support. I also love having her around to bounce ideas off of, laugh with when she says funny things in her adorable English accent, and trust to have by my side when working some of the largest weddings I’ve ever planned. One of our most recent weddings, we were on our feet for 15 1/2 hours with a 30 minute dinner break and the girl didn’t complain once. Literally NO complaints! She works hard, likes to make people happy, asks a lot of questions (which I love), and is always up for a challenge.
She has taught me so much over the course of the last year and I feel very, very fortunate to have met her and have her in my life!