Chisom Okafor is the Chief Executive Officer of Tachira Events, an event consulting, planning and management company in Lagos. She tells TOMINA EGBOKWU about her experience as an entrepreneur
Can you talk briefly about your company?
Tachira Events is an event consulting, planning and management company that helps conceptualise, organise and coordinate events. We equally operate as an advisory body that shares ideas on any kind of events our clients choose to plan. We seek to relieve our clients’ stress and reduce the time spent on planning an event; this way, we ensure effective and efficient service delivery to our clients. We are committed to living a life of service the best possible way we can as well as enriching lives and not just getting rich. Tachira Events will be four years old on September 2019.
How did your career unfold?
Quite easy; I’ve always been a solution provider and a people person. My friends always call me ‘Mother Hen’; other times, they call me ‘Business Woman’ because I am always willing to help and I always give them a listening ear. Back in school, my room would be one of the fullest because there’s something interesting or fun happening. So, before I left the university, I asked God to help me through the Holy Spirit and direct me on fulfilling purpose and doing what I am supposed to do through self-discovery, and then I realised this is definitely it.
What challenges did you encounter when you started out and how did you tackle them?
When I started out, there was that fear of the unknown; I remember saying to myself, ‘Should I just continue at my job and save enough money to start the business?’ Then I realised it’s not about the money but my potential and doing what makes me happy and gives me peace. So, I decided not to limit myself; more importantly, I had discovered myself and also realised that doing events is in line with fulfilling my purpose and my belief, which is to live a life of service, enrich lives and not just get rich.
How would you describe the level of patronage since you started?
It has been very encouraging; it pushes me to never give up because a lot of people believe in me and my brand.
How has the journey been generally?
It has been challenging and awesome at the same time – meeting new people, putting smiles on my clients’ faces as well as impacting lives.
The events industry in Nigeria appears to be saturated. In what ways have you distinguished yourself as an event planner?
I simply do more than is required of me; I handle every event the same way regardless of which is paying more or less. I do not compromise on standards at all because, to me, every event is an opportunity for another.
If you were to do an honest assessment of your performance so far, what would be on the scorecard and in what areas are you hoping to achieve more?
My scorecard will be 105 per cent. I will keep working effectively and continuously on my clientele.
What legacy would you like to leave behind in the events industry?
A legacy of being the most amazing, selfless, efficient, trustworthy event planner in the world.
What was your biggest moment as a CEO, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
The fact that I am living a life of service and enriching lives in the best way I can. I also love the feedback and prayers I get from my clients and vendors, as well as their trust and confidence in what I am capable of doing.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
To be very honest, there is nothing!
What strategies do you employ for work and personal life balance?
I pretty much take time off when necessary as ‘I kuku cannot come and kill myself’. I am a restless person; so I tend to get bored quick and start missing going for meetings or work.
If you weren’t doing this business, what would you be doing?
It’s this or nothing; I quit my job for this. This is me fulfilling purpose. So, I am not sure what else I would be doing.
Where do you see Tachira Events in the near future?
Tachira Events equals a one-stop source event company, with event centres and all the vendors needed for any event. Basically, it’s a place where you walk into and you won’t need to go look for any vendor because all the vendors are on ground and readily available.
Some people believe that having an event planner for an event is luxury and only for the rich. I totally disagree; there are a lot of event planners/managers whose services are affordable. The whole essence of having a planner is to relieve event organisers of stress and also suggest quality affordable vendors.
What is your advice to those who are just venturing into this kind of business?
My advice is simple: be extremely passionate about it and be patient. Also, you have to be a people person; that way, it’s easier to manage clients the best way possible. I say this because clients vary based on their beliefs, values, nature; being a people person helps you have the right approach towards every client that comes your way. Also, always pray to God for strength and wisdom to handle every job very well.
Who are your role models?
In the industry, Funke Bucknor-Obruthe; her energy and vibe are amazing, and her ability to effectively stay relevant after so many years inspires me. Generally, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija is my role model; her humility, hard work, willingness to live a life of service as well as her love for God inspire me a lot.
When you are not planning weddings, what do you do for fun?
I hang out with my friends, chill and dance. I love to dance!