April 9, 2009

Born to Party (Plan)
How Two Alpha Phi Sisters are Making Waves
in the Event World
Written by Stephanie Hansen, managing partner of Starfish Creative Events, Inc.

For as long as I can remember, I have been a planner. The first event I can recall putting together was a surprise birthday party for my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Mills, at the ripe age of seven. It was a huge success! My father used to say to me ‘one day you’ll realize that life’s not just one big party’, and my response was always, ‘Who Says?’

My business partner and fellow Alpha Phi, Gail Cayetano, spent her time as most middle kids do -- working to be a creative standout in suburban, NJ. At the young age of 13 and armed with a new technological advancement called the “Internet”, Gail posted on job boards that she was starting her own casting company. Within a week she had received over 100 submissions from actors in the tri-state area. An entrepreneur was born.

The two of us first met at as undergraduates of Boston University, where we developed the usual college friendship – as sorority sisters. We both quickly rose as leaders in Alpha Phi, where we were able to organize and inspire our fellow sisters through team-bonding events, charity fundraisers and branding initiatives.

Years later, we reconnected 3,000 miles away from our original meeting place – in sunny Venice Beach, California. Though we both took different paths to get there, we found ourselves with very similar backgrounds in the event industry. So, we joined forces and founded our company, Starfish Creative Events, Inc (SCE). SCE is a full-service event management agency that caters to corporate and entertainment clients who wish to build their brands through events.

Since the start of the company 3 years ago, we have increased our revenue over 3000%, with 2008 sales coming in at almost half a million dollars. Our list of distinguished clients includes Activision, University of CA - Irvine, Virgin Charter, Douglas Emmett Management, Coin-Op Television, Konami Digital Entertainment, and celebrity David Hasselhoff.

In 2008, both Gail, now 26, and myself, 25, were honored by The Stevie Awards for Women in Business, capturing the honor of “Best Young Entrepreneurs” for the year. The Stevie Awards honor and recognize the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and business people worldwide.

We often reflect back on our time as sorority sisters in Alpha Phi, and are quick to realize how well the organization prepared us for the business world – and for a successful partnership.
Gail put it well when she said, “Not only did we refine crucial skills like networking, marketing and organization, but we learned how to follow a successful business model and, most importantly, solidified a strong friendship built on mutual respect and fortified by trust, which is why we make such great partners.”
I couldn’t agree more.

For more information on Starfish Creative Events, visit our website at http://www.starfish-events.com/.

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