7 Questions With HOJ

“I’m A Natural Born Planner” – Sandra Ikeji, CEO Events by SI

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The highly promising Sandra Ikeji, the younger sister of Nigeria’s Most Influential blogger Linda Ikeji is a Certified Events Management/Events Planning Professional. 

Sandra Ikeji is the Founder & Head Planner Events by SI, a fast growing event planning and consulting company in Nigeria. Sandra knows what makes great company culture, thus the company has grown with A-list clients: Fidelity Bank, top celebrity actress Tonto Dikeh and a host of others.

We recently caught up with Sandra Ikeji long enough to ask her some questions about event planning.

7QuestionsWith HOJ is an original series by HOUSEOFJETHRO, profiling the faces behind event business, technology, and management in Africa.

 

HOJ: Event planning is an interesting field; what inspired you to choose it for your career and How did you become an event planner?

Sandra Ikeji

SIMy name is Sandra Ikeji and I am the CEO of Events by SI,  you can call me Sandra Ikeji the party planner. I love organizing great events, and parties which just makes my world. I also have an eye for detail especially with respect to bringing people together and ensuring they have a memorable time.  I was made the general organizer (GO) of the literary and debating society while in secondary school. This was because even though I was a science student, I would plan and attend good parties and also attend student conferences. I also organized Valentine shows and sold tickets. Such was my passion for organizing events that I sold my phone in 2002 in order to raise cash to secure a venue for a Valentine rave I was organizing. I will say I am a born planner.  

Sandra Ikeji

I also run a commercial modelling agency called BlackDove Models @blackdovemodels which I started back in the University of Lagos, Unilag.

So, after I left school I continued to manage the modelling agency and in managing the business I had the opportunity to meet corporate professionals who requested for models for their brands and hostesses for events.

In providing hostesses, I would also source for vendors and I’m most times part of the planning process, I did this for years helping top companies organize parties and conferences and in 2015, I knew it was what I really wanted then I decided to get a professional knowledge.  After taking few courses in Nigeria, I travelled to the United States for a course in Conference and event management at The International School for Hospitality, Nevada which is one of the biggest schools in the country.

I also studied Weddings. Upon my return, I worked with various vendors in Nigeria then a few months ago July precisely I felt I was ready for the industry then I birthed Events by SI.

 

HOJ: Tell us a quick story that envelopes what kind of person you are. ?

SIWhile growing up, I learned a lot and I thank God for that. I am sometimes tough but beautiful in general.

I would describe myself as a lover of family, I am very family-oriented. I am a lover of books, Educational books most especially, I also love to study.  I still want to go for my PhD.

I am a graduate of Geography and MSC in regional planning so PhD would not be bad. Lol!.

I love God. I love the Kitchen, and I love to cook. I am also, a lover of friends, at times I wonder if 50 ladies on the bridal train would be enough on my wedding day.  Lol.

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HOJ: On this platform, we place emphasis on the impact of the digital culture on every aspect of event planning and management as well as how it affects other art forms like fashion, how does this play an active role in pushing your brand?

SI: Technology has changed the event industry all over the world. There have been so many changes in the way we socialise, send out invitations, we as planners are under increased pressure as the event industry has a higher expectation than before and your clients have higher expectations as well.  

Furthermore, it is easy to promote your event on social media, follow trends, even venue decoration and latest trends in fashion is easy. Through technology, event marketing is more interactive.  There are good events app to know what events are available, social table for your floor plan. Social media to promote and market your brands.


HOJ: What’s been your favourite event to do?

Linda Ikeji at #selfmadewomanconference 2017. Events by SI Production.

SIEvents by SI plan events, from weddings to corporate event, destination. I have no favourite and every event is different and means a lot to us. At Events By SI, we go all out to make our clients happy and make sure every little detail is met.

Blackdovemodels at self-made woman


HOJ: What are the most important things to remember on the day of the event as a planner?

SI: The event day is basically for coordination and execution, the bulk of work goes into planning which is before the event.

Fidelity Bank Beach hangout by @eventsbysi

Events vary so as checklist varies. Corporate event planning checklist differs from social event planning checklist but what is common is briefing your team knowing that every detail of your client matters, also confirm that all your vendors are on time then hope to have a beautiful event.

Party for one of Nollywood’s finest and talented actress, Tonto Dike, Planned by EventsBySI

HOJ: Who were your mentors when you started the Your Event Management Company?

SIMrs Funke Bucknor of Zapphaire events, I also love Karen Tran she is wonderful with florals.

 

HOJ: With reference to an article: Sandra Ikeji: Nigeria’s rising events professional on Lindaikejisblog we learnt you’ve worked with Nigerian event planners infusing western concepts to the traditional style. How was the experience like?

Sandra IkejiI love African culture but when you infuse western culture into it becomes more glorious. You must be very detailed and creative from venue styling to etiquette for hostesses and staff to event management to thinking on your feet and crisis management and especially event contracts. All these are important.

 

Thank you so much, Sandra … you are just amazing and we love what you do!

To learn more about Sandra’s work, You can connect with her via Website: EventsBySI on Linkedin via Instagram @EventsbySI via Facebook @EventsbySI.