Gequinn Mattox is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and has lived in Denver, CO since 1984. She is the mother of one daughter and the grandmother of 3 grandsons.
Since 1986, Gequinn has worked for the University of Colorado. In 2016, she became a Program Coordinator on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, CO in the Center for American Indian & Native American Health.
Gequinn has been an Event Planner & Coordinator for a variety of events. She has worked with a host of organizations, personal groups & churches. She has also volunteered and has contracted to work with organizations within Colorado including Planned Parenthood, Baptist Ministers Conference of Metro Denver, Colorado Black Women for Political Action and the Mountain Region Black Economic Summit. She is a member of the Event Planners Association, Colorado Black Biz Group and The Planners Vault to name a few, and a newly certified Pandemic Compliance Advisor. In December, 2020 and January, 2021, Gequinn was featured in the interview series in Thrive Global and Authority Magazine and March, 2021 she will be a guest on The Round Table Talk Show “Ask Sharifah”.
Gequinn is an active member of the Ebenezer Baptist Church of Denver since joining on Sunday, January 31, 2016. She is honored to serve as a member of the Trustee Ministry including the “Property” sub-committee and as the Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor.
Although Gequinn is a late bloomer to launch a business in the event planning industry, she is not new to the industry and has been tagged to be the favored up and coming Event Planner of Colorado. An “Event Slayer” in her own right.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge was a request to plan a 2-day wedding. I had never done one before but I felt confident enough in my abilities to pull this off. I took some time to figure out the best way to strategically make this happen while at the same time making it appealing for my clients with regard to layout and cost.
Another challenge within that was that this couple was very popular, and they had to make a decision about who would attend the bigger reception being held the next day. Not easy but we got through it!
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
Smaller more intimate weddings and the ability to make their special day more unique which I LOVE! These 2 trends allow the bride and groom to really enjoy their day, interact with their guests, and offer those special little touches they otherwise may not have been able to do.
I like that we are getting back to the what, and who, really matters which is what it should be for your wedding day. None of us are the same so our wedding day shouldn’t be either. This holds true for corporate & social gatherings as well. It allows you to be uniquely you but you can also go with the traditional feel if you prefer.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
You can recreate a lot of items you see on Pinterest and Youtube yourself and they look like you spent a lot of money. You can even pick up some really nice items at a garage or estate sale that you can repurpose and make into something uniquely beautiful.
Also, check with event centers/companies that periodically have a sale when they are refreshing their inventory. You’d be surprise what adding a little bling to an inexpensive item will do!
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
Relationships with my vendors are CRUCIAL and the KEY to my success! We are a team and there is no “I” in team. I know it’s cliche but it is so very true. I love working with my team, or any vendor for that matter, to make an event come alive. We are all experts in our own right so I allow them to express that in their work and in the events that we do. I support them on my platforms and on their platforms, and I’m always sure to say “thank you” or “great job” or SOMEthing. You’d be surprised how many times they don’t even get something as simple as that. A little gift card here and there is also great. I also take interest in their other events & some parts of their private life. In my company, I make it a habit to create an atmosphere in which I would want to work in.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
My goal is to have my own, small event center so I can continue to do small, intimate gatherings even when we go back to full-sized events. I think this is something that is here to stay and no matter what, there’s always going to be a need & want for smaller, intimate gatherings and VIP events. I also want to afford those with smaller budgets the same gratification for their event as those with larger budgets. It’s about making people happy and realizing their event dreams.
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
My family Christmas party. It was great and kind of came naturally to me. Planning those events at Christmas, summer picnics and soirees, turned into my love for event planning. I got such a rush at the thought of putting together an event and to be honest, that rush hasn’t changed. I love the thought of bringing different elements together and coming up with the final result. The best part is, I make people happy. I take what they may have in their head and bring it to life! Making others happy makes ME happy!
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
1. Never allow others to get in your head and make you believe you can’t do this or you aren’t capable of doing the job.
2. Just because someone is in business does not mean they have the same drive, work ethic and “let’s do this” type of attitude as you do. Be careful who you work with!
3. Always allow time for yourself.
4. Do not take constructive criticism personally.
5. Never stop looking for ways and opportunities to learn and grow.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
I’ve come to realize that event planning is my gift which started as my passion. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I realized this. My passion was also my gift AND it allows a way to give back. I didn’t go to school for this but given my attributes of being highly organized and detail-oriented, it made event planning come naturally for me. I’ve been told by many colleagues throughout my career that they don’t know how I sit behind a desk all day because I light up when I talk about events or mention a new venue coming on the scene. They tell me often, planning events is what I’m meant to do. I “bring their vision to life” is what has often been said. THIS brings me so much joy because THAT is what I want to do for my clients regardless of if it’s for a wedding, corporate or social event!