A Star Studded Event: Establishing A Career in the Fine Details
Many of us are reluctant to step out on our own, especially if we are unsure of what the next move will be. However, sometimes it is necessary to take risks, even when we were not initially prepared to do so. Just ask entrepreneur, Christy Bareijsza, (phonetically “Bar-asia”) founder of Events By Red Carpet, a full service company that hosts symposiums and conferences, facilitates market branding, offers music and concert production, organizes trade shows, caters social events, books speakers, organizes sport tournaments, and manages audio visual for major productions. Although Christy did not have her degree in event planning during her tenure in corporate America, the time there did open her eyes to the possibility of starting her own company. Since 1999, Christy has been responsible for detailed event marketing, production and planning, exceeding her clients’ expectations by offering new and creative ideas while ensuring that she adds in personal touches that they can appreciate. Her attention to the fine details in each event she hosts is one of the reasons that she has such a long list of repeat corporate and celebrity clients such as IMG World, South Africa Tourism, Bombardier, 24 Hour Fitness, She Runs It and Brown Forman among Film, Radio and Television Personalities. Christy’s sharp intuition, bold ideas, and creative talent not only set her apart as one of the most sought after female business owners to work with, her negotiation style and educational experience makes her a leader in the industry. So while Christy may not have planned to begin on the red carpet, she is surely making a shining appearance there now.
Rachel: Thank you so much for joining us! What is your “backstory”?
Christy: After graduating from Hofstra University with a B.A. in Dance, History and Art History, I had a short stint at JP Morgan Chase. While employed there, I discovered that event planning existed as a profession. Realizing that I did not have the experience to apply for the event planning position, I was driven to obtain a post-graduate certification from NYU in the field of Meeting, Conference and Special Events Management. Then, I strategically secured a position as a meeting planner. This lead to a fast-track promotion to Vice President and Head of Corporate Events at two major Fortune 500 companies. During my tenure in the corporate world, I founded Events By Red Carpet in 2001. The part-time venture then grew into full time employment in 2006. Surviving in a “frivolous” industry during a recession became far more difficult than the pressure of producing the event itself. At the time I considered this challenge part of being an entrepreneur, but in retrospect, the complicated environment ignited the drive to succeed strategically while continuing to acquire top quality clients and producing memorable meetings, conferences and events.
Rachel: Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?
Christy: I strongly feel my most interesting career success was making the transition from an employee to entrepreneur. My corporate experience afforded amazing opportunities combined with job security, but the continual desire to take risks, test boundaries and expand my knowledge outweighed the comfort of a consistent paycheck and benefits. The transition was not smooth, nor has it softened as time has passed, but the gratification of forging your own path and building a brand, truly outweighs the potential monetary challenges and fear of failure.
Rachel: What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Christy: I would love nothing more than to take my decades of knowledge as an expert planner and pass it on to aspiring event professionals. I am making that dream a reality, as I am currently launching an educational platform that will prepare novice planners for the reality of this industry and support the successful growth of their career.
Rachel: Who are some of the most interesting people (Clients?) you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Christy: The most breathtaking event was for A&E Television Networks, which took place on Ellis Island. Their subsidiary, The History Channel, was premiering the documentary The Story Of America, and my company produced the seated dinner for 125 guests in the Registry Room. The location was where a majority of the guests’ ancestors patiently waited to receive their immigration papers over a century prior. The arched ceilings were donned with blue stars, and pin spots perfectly illuminated each table’s centerpiece while the Statue of Liberty stood proudly in the southern view competing with the New York City skyline to the north. The gasps and tears of pride as each guest entered the room will always be the most memorable part of the evening, making this my most favorite experience.
Rachel: What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Being an entrepreneur is a complete roller coaster of highs and lows.
2. I will obtain clients in the most unusual of places, when I least expect it.
3. Put your health and business before everyone else’s needs.
4. You cannot control everything.
5. Loyalty is hard to come by.
Rachel: Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” — Estée Lauder
We are currently in a time where individuals are celebrated by portraying highly staged images of material items they deem as “successful” on social media and it’s accepted as reality. This type of false advertising sends the wrong message to younger generations about self-worth, the importance of education, and an honest day’s work. The “authors” of the most respected success stories dedicated years to their craft, made daily sacrifices, and failed many times before finally accomplishing their goals. Success is a combination of joys and pitfalls, and I believe this quote by the entrepreneur Estée Lauder sums up the truth, simply.
Rachel: Who do you consider to be your role model for the way in which you have molded your career? What can you share about that person?
Christy: When I was a little girl, my father would play his favorite records for me. I would stare at the Fleetwood Mac “Rumors” album cover and imagine being Stevie Nicks delicately balancing in her pointe shoes and sheer black sheath dripping with mystery. Stevie muddled pure sensuality and feminine strength, with emotional torture through her own raw lyrics. The significance of her connection became more apparent as a girl when learning the album was released on my birthday. She taught me to thrive in being different and understand a single rejection is never an ultimate decision.
Rachel: We always hear about the best advice we have been given. Tell our readers the worst advice you ever received.
Christy: The worst advise I have even been given is to shut down my company and return to a “safe” corporate role in times of adversity. I believe the hardship an independent business may face forces you to formulate a better strategy and tap into your creativity in an unexpected way that helps you to remain resilient.
Rachel: What are you currently reading that might be something I should try to read as well? Why?
Christy: “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” by Margot Lee Shetterly.
Not only is this novel a historical account of the evolvement of empowered women, it truly depicts the battles women had to fight daily for equality during the feminist and civil rights movement. This story helps to shed a light on the life altering sacrifices the previous generations made to create opportunities and build respect for the present woman.
Rachel: When you have the time, what do you binge watch?
Christy: Anything on Bravo; it’s mindless, stress free and I find reality television completely entertaining.
Rachel: Where have you travelled that has given you inspiration personally or professionally?
Christy: My favorite locations to visit are Mallorca in the Balearic Islands just south of Spain, and the southern charm of New Orleans, Louisiana. Despite being thousands of miles apart globally, each destination has a distinct sense of elegance, detailed architecture, mystique, valued tradition and genuine excitement as the sun begins to set. In addition, each location hosts a bona fide hospitality, flavorful food, heartwarming locals and excess of libations making each destination fondly memorable and continually remaining in the forefront of my passport.
Rachel: What would you say we need to know as a society to “move forward”?
Christy: To move forward, society needs to return to the basics of education, hard work and persistence. We are at a point where the images portrayed on social media are being considered a false reality and that success is easily earned. Most highly acclaimed individuals have experienced multiple pitfalls prior to achieving their successes. Their adversity, community efforts and positive changes should be recognized more than their superficial financial gains.
Rachel: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Christy: I am eternally grateful for my friend and colleague, Mary Cesar. With a working relationship spanning almost two decades, her support initially as a vendor then technology advisor and partner in my business has been immeasurable in my success. Her ability to always remain loyal, supportive, but offer impartial and expertise advise with a kind heart, has helped excel my growth both personally and professionally.