Interviews with Planners - Chivonne Hyppolite

Looking to create your ideal event planner? Put on your lab coat and step into the Abstract Elements laboratory. In your beaker, combine the elements: creativity, passion, experience and negotiation. Actually, add a bit more of negotiation for good measure - I mean who doesn’t love a good negotiator. Now mix this unique formula and heat it up to 365 degrees over your high-energy Bunsen Burner. Pour your mixture into a fashionable pair of heels and Voila’, you will yield Chivonne Hyppolite, Event Execution Expert and owner of Abstract Elements Management Agency and AEMA Love Deluxe.

Chivonne lives by the motto: “Experiences are lived…not Googled. Her quest is not sell her services, but understand how she can best serve her clients’ needs through creating unique experiences which delight and excite. Her client centric, methodical approach to planning events is what sets her apart from other planners. Chivonne believes in the fusion of intelligent decisions and stakeholder expectations. With over a decade of experience, she has planned and executed various corporate meetings and conferences, galas, golf tournaments, concerts, community fundraisers, festivals for Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, start-ups and nonprofits. Chivonne’s unique communication style and exceptional customer service skills allow her to put the vision of her clients first while executing with flair and precision. Her cheerful and infectious attitude is highly regarded amongst her industry colleagues.

Chivonne understands that there is an art and a science to event planning, and her formal education has trained her to think creatively about logistics. She is a proud graduate of the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Arts, followed by a Master of Science from the University of Tennessee. Chivonne’s events have been featured in Pennsylvania Meetings + Events Magazine, Munaluchi Bride, Bridal Tribe, and various other online event planning publications.

What is the best advice you have ever received as a planner?
No matter what, be cooler than a cucumber on ice. Problems will always arise, but you are the solutions expert. Take a moment, breathe, re-strategize and solve. All of the answers are already inside of just need to quiet your mind enough to hear them speak.

What is the most unique location you have ever planned an event at? What was great, what was challenging?
The most unique location I ever planned an event at was a dinner boat cruise in Tokyo, Japan. As an American planner who had never previously been to Tokyo, I had to rely on Google and my very limited Japanese communication skills to make sure that the logistics and decor were going to be perfect match for my client's event. The challenging part was planning a dinner boat cruise on a vessel that was still under construction, and was not going to be functional until 1 month before the event. I relied on my gut feeling and the encouragement of the local CVB representative to guide me through this process. The event turned out to be fabulous and my client was very pleased. Not only did they have a blast, but I did too!

What advice would you give to someone entering the business today?
I would encourage anyone entering the event planning industry to first, build a solid network of colleagues who you can trust and rely on. You will always need to bounce ideas off of others, you need others to be a barometer and sometimes to talk you off the ledge. Second, learn how to network with the intention on helping and serving someone else before you put your hand out to ask for their help. People do business with those they know, like, trust and enjoy being around. Make yourself a valuable asset to others and they will become your biggest allies. Next, I would encourage new planners to do your homework. Try your best to stay ahead of the trends...don't fall behind them. Think innovatively, plan with passion and move with a purpose!

What do you see as the most challenging aspect of being a planner, and how do you overcome that challenge?
I feel the most challenging aspect of being a planner is not allowing your passion to plan to overshadow your personal goals. We plan and execute for others at such high levels of excellence, that it is easy to put our personal and professional goals on the back burner. For example, you have been working in the industry for years and events are your life, but you really want to take the CMP because it is a personal and professional goal, yet you don't make time to work towards it. It is easy to put a goal off until this next event is over and then I will "have time" to work on it. That time never seems to come. I overcame this challenge by doing two very specific things. First, schedule 30 minutes- 1 hour of uninterrupted time a day devoted to working on that goal. Second, I schedule myself to attend industry specific conferences and workshops that relate to that goal, and utilize that as my continued education and motivation to accomplish my goal. 

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How do you think our industry will evolve in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see our industry going into the sphere of event automation. Gone will be the days that we have to wait for an AV tech to turn the lights up or down in event hall B. With all of the smart tech that is popping up every day, we will be the conductors of a beautifully fine-tuned orchestra of event management. All of our tools are becoming digital and cloud-based, so we can virtually plan and have meetings from anywhere in the world.

What makes you successful as a planner?
One of the secrets to my success as a planner is my creative curiosity and fearless attitude towards pushing the innovation envelope. New ideas do not scare me, instead they fuel my ambition to provide a unique service to my clients.

In your opinion, what is the best and worst industry trend of the year? 
Thus far in 2017 the best industry trend of the year has been the planning and execution of environments which facilitate discussion and engagement; utilizing smart, comfortable and functional event design.

The worst industry trend of the year has been the bacon bar. Millions of pounds of bacon dipped in all types of condiments and placed in apothecaries leaves a lot to be desired in my book.

What is the best industry book that has helped you as a planner? 
Art of the Event by James C. Monroe

Please do us a little favor and share this post with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them as they go about planning meetings and events.

Chivonne Hyppolite
Event Execution Expert, Abstract Elements Management Agency
Phone Number: (404) 492-6211
Affiliations and Memberships:
MPI, Rising Tide Society, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 


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