Folasade Akinrinmola, popularly known as Sade Gbonyin is a politician and an entrepreneur. The former chairman of Gbonyin Local Government Area of Ekiti State and former Commissioner 1 of Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), in this interview by TAYO GESINDE, speaks about her new found love for events planning.
What motivated you to go into event planning?
I have never for once left my business despite the sensitivity of my office as the executive chairman of Gbonyin Local Government and commissioner 1, SUBEB. I have always maintained my wine, gift and rice shop but I have always had passion for events planning. Despite my political appointment I have often served on the committee that organised events since 2003; I coordinated the ushers during the swearing- in of Governor Ayodele Fayose under the office of the SSG then. Civil servants then called me chief usher. I derive joy from getting involved in protocol and organizing. I remember vividly that I coordinated all activities concerning commissioning of all projects across the state, including the aso-ebi used by the South-West governors. It was not about making money, but I always feel restless when things are not done the way I feel they should be done. During the visit of the late president Yar’Adua and former President Olusegun Obasanjo, I was also saddled with the responsibility of coordinating alongside the protocol department of government house that was during Governor Segun Oni’s regime. When I was elected as the executive chairman of Gbonyin Local Government, I organised events like Children’s Day excursion for some children from my local government. They visited the governor’s wife, the radio and television stations in Ekiti and Motive Fun Center at Are Afao Ekiti. I also organised an evening with Muslims in the local government. I also enjoyed organising surprise birthday parties for our members. All these I did with ease and great success without being trained and at no cost. In 2017, I went for a wedding thanksgiving church service and when the pastor was preaching and said whatever you do with ease and get great result is your call, make money from it. I had already gained admission for a master’s degree in Peace and Security Studies at Ekiti State University, so I resumed. Immediately there was a change in government and in addition to my gift, wine and rice shop, I registered with Busybee Academy for an 18-month course in events planning. At the end of my training, I became a certified event planner and started A-Z Events Experts.
Does that mean you want to quit politics?
Politics is neither a skill nor profession to me. The option of serving is the right of the electorate so I find it difficult introducing myself as a politician. So, the issue quitting has nothing to do with being a professional. I never play politics without a second address since I joined in 2003. People know that I am a poultry farmer, I was doing that even while occupying political office. Politics will only make networking easy for me as an event planner.
What has the experience been like since you became an event planner?
The experience has been awesome mostly because it is something I enjoy doing. I am always happy that God has been helping me to have answers to some questions in the event industry. I have also been able to connect with the best hands in the industry.
What is your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life is doing same thing in a different way for a different and better result.
How have you been coping with competition in the industry?
It is a competitive industry but I believe it is one step after the other. Experience can never be bought with money but the best thing one can do is reading related books, journals and attending conferences. For instance, I am in the United States of America at the moment for another conference. So, putting all this knowledge to use as well as having a cordial relationship with people in the industry will help one to thrive even in the midst of competition.
What is your unique selling point?
My unique selling point is paying attention to detail and everything that concerns our clients.
Where do you see this business in five years?
Five years from now, the event industry will be so professionalised that it may be difficult for uneducated person to break even because most innovations are going to be through social media and rigorous research
What are you working on at the moment?
I have trained about 20 girls on event ushering so I am planning a summit for would be event staff, hostesses, ushers, and bouncers. It will be held later in the year. We will announce the details later.
What does one need to start an event business?
To me, I believe having passion for event is the major key to being an events planner. Event planning is not meant for a frustrated person or a sadist.
What advice do you have for people who want to go into events planning?
The industry is meant for hardworking, smart, intelligent, humble, organised, detailed, clean, neat, ready to learn and a catalyst. So, whoever wants to go into the industry must have some of the listed qualities.