Yadira Enriquez, Director of FOPE School of Events, has 22 years of experience in the hotel operation and event management. She has contributed to prestigious leading companies in the environment, such as: Ministry of Tourism, GADP, SETEC, Quito Tourism, CAPEIPI, educational institutions and the hospitality industry.
She also works in the implementation and development of training plans, marketing and hotel and event strategies. She is a Business Administration Engineer with a specialization in hospitality, postgraduate studies in protocol and event management.
She is a University professor with 10 years of experience, international speaker on topics such as: event management, event producer, ceremonial specialist, emotional marketing, among others.
She has accreditations such as: Founder and President of the first event & service sector union of the Chamber of Small and Medium companies of Pichincha, 2014/2017. Due to her high performance, she is named Hotel Master by Cofradía Hotelera del Ecuador, Collegiate of high professionals in the hospitality industry. She has successfully promoted in Ecuador the legalization of professional profiles in Coordinator and Organization of events. She is an International lecturer. She is nominated by Weddings Beautiful Worldwide – a division of National Bridal Service of the USA – as president of the ECUADOR division. She was invited to be a member of the industry’s premier circle of wedding professionals, Belief WP.
Her firm purpose to formalize and enhance the events industry in Ecuador with high standards of excellence, created in 2008 the first Training School for Event Specialists “FOPE SCHOOL OF EVENTS”.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced while planning an event and how did you overcome it?
In reality, each event has its own challenges, since each human being is unique and as such we owe it to their specific moods and personality.
The challenges range from the venue where you plan your event has a power plant, and it does not work on the day of the event. And even planning a well-organized event with all the preventive and biosafety measures and that the authorities try to suspend it for supposedly exceeding the capacity in time of a pandemic.
a) As for the electrical plant that did not work, we decided to enhance the event with a very romantic atmosphere, placing lamps with candles throughout the room and we asked the guests if someone played the guitar and thank God yes . And it was an incredible evening! Where everyone was infected with joy and ended with beautiful moments, it was a very beautiful and different experience!
b) In the second case, I must state that the professional must be very clear in their professional knowledge and especially the legality corresponding to our sector, in this case I will be empowered by the knowledge acquired regarding the laws and I was able to debate and it was possible to finish the event without major complications.
What are 2 trends in the event planning industry that you’re excited about?
The trends that excite me are the personalized ones, the ones that you can create incredible experiences; like getting married on the slopes of a snow-covered mountain or on a farm, quinta or hacienda and create the whole atmosphere in Tuscan style, very romantic Italian.
Second, make destination weddings with unique experiential experiences that you know you organize exclusively for the client who hires you.
What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?
a) You can rent fine accessories
b) Make the decoration with flowers of the season, and minimalist so that the expense is not cumbersome, however, for us in Ecuador it is a great advantage since we are producers of the most beautiful roses worldwide.
c) You can hire a chef or catering companies to help us with good and elegant gourmet proposals and not so sophisticated that they fit our budget
d) And what determines whether an event is elegant is good taste and the etiquette that governs it, we always have to advise on this point if we do not have knowledge
If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream client and event look like?
If I had unlimited resources, the wedding would be held in the middle of the world, since we are one of the most important energy centers in the world, it would encourage all the guests to enjoy great unique experiential experiences before the event, such as tourism, adventure, spa and our incredible gastronomy.
The event must have several entertainment activities apart from the usual in which it is involved, music, art, culture, where the guests forget about their daily activities and just enjoy each moment.
The client of my dreams are the people who have well decided what they want and do not vary in their criteria at all times. And I would love to do the wedding of JLO and some European royalty, since I love high etiquette and good taste.
How important are your relationships with vendors and what are some ways that you successfully cultivate and ensure good rapport?
For us it is very important to maintain good relations with each of the members of our value chain, each of them is an important and essential part. His work is a common thread that allows the event to go ahead. Therefore, qualifying your professionalism and efficiency is paramount.
The relationship that is manifested is of both parties, to achieve a good relationship is to clarify what our objective is and what theirs is and to synchronize. Not only say it, it must be raised in documents, such as contracts, agreements and reveal what our work standards are so that they align. As the saying goes, clear rules friends forever.
What advice would you give someone who needs to plan a fundraiser but isn’t sure where to start?
1. Be clear about the idea of the event
2. Carry out a very specific brief
3. Present the project where specified; Mission and vision of the project, objectives, what will be done using the resources collected, who are involved, who is in charge of the project, who is the event aimed at. With this you can request sponsorship regarding the logistics of the event, products and services.
What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for you personally or professionally?
The most exciting thing for me is to help people who are getting involved in the industry grow professionally, through continuing education. Also my greatest interest is to position my country as an ideal destination for holding weddings and events with exclusivity and personalizing your experience according to your expectations. Since we are an ideal destination, and are a small country full of emotions – we have four worlds, mountains, coast, the east and our wonderful enchanted islands The Galapagos.
What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea to setting up and starting to attract a client base?
My profession is a hotel manager, with 22 years of experience, my world was hotels and I love this profession. When I decided to be a mother after 10 years of marriage I began to investigate labor issues that I can dedicate myself to without taking all day and having time to raise my little one. In my search I saw the need in the market, and I visualized my opportunity; which was to be a consultant for hotel businessmen, and on my way I was introduced to clients, hotel business owners and the like. I also dedicated myself to planning events
Hence the idea of specializing in events was born and I saw that this training proposal did not exist in my country. After years of experience and study I decided to set up my own training company in events and hospitality applied to my country and FOPE Luxury Event School was born, training with high standards of excellence. From there they were adding educational proposals aligned to our objectives and the wonderful day arrived when I was appointed CEO for Ecuador, of which are considered the number one certification in the United States, Weddings Beautiful Worldwide. Today we are present in different countries.
14 years have passed full of experience, good and bad, but they are more rewarding, where we have managed to crystallize several projects, among which our profile is visualized as a job competence. Currently it is formally recognized as the professional profile. We are the only ones in Latin America with this validation and formal accreditation.
In terms of planning, organization, event management, I have 17 years of experience.
Our clients, thank God, are for direct recommendations and for the position of being an ethical training center, concerned about the implementation of efficient standards and above all the human factor, we have always believed that our legacy is to leave professionals who can develop in your activities and goals
What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?
My first event that I did alone was my cousin’s marriage, with 280 guests, where the adrenaline was at 100%. I always explained to my students that it is very easy to do it when you have a solid and prepared team. This happened when I worked in 5-star hotels, and one could be calm since high standards are handled, however, when doing it alone and without the operational support it’s like starting over, but the experience in operation and leadership that I obtained in the companies where I worked helped me.
I started by making an exhaustive list of suppliers, rating their product and service, asking for references among others, and thank God we did it. It was a beautiful and very well organized event and I thank my uncle who put his hands on the fire and I believed in my abilities.
What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?
Actually, when starting my business, I prepared a lot in addition to having work experience in the subject. However, I believe that knowledge is power and constant training makes the path easier and above all faith in God and in your capacities.
I would have liked to start my business with the experience I have today so I would make better decisions. A tip is to meet people in your industry with experience and they are your guide for making the right decisions. That is, learn from other people’s experiences, experiences of success and experiences of personal growth.
What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?
We had a very eccentric client and he asked us to do an event for him three days in advance. He asked us to do an event for 70 people at his farm in the mountains. His property was a large beautiful mansion but the roads were a total disaster, disabled for common cars, only tractors passed. On the way our transport got stuck and the dishes and delicate accessories broke. It was very stressful, but in the end we succeeded. We changed all the logistics to the tractors and special trucks of the farm. It took us longer than scheduled, but it was a great challenge and a great experience because we succeeded and pleased our client.
Anything else you’d like to comment on while we have you?
Actually I am very happy and I feel blessed and fortunate with what has been achieved so far. We have organized countless events, we have worked in the hotel industry that fascinates me so much and today we are training future professionals interested in entering this wonderful industry. Our advice; never stop dreaming, always walk another kilometer and always share is to grow.