High school seniors are faced with several important decisions to make before graduation. Sometimes, the biggest decision they have is what their next step will be.
For EC alumna, Danielle Appleman ‘18 this decision was not an easy one. Danielle would admit to not being the best student in high school, as she was unsure of what her future looked like. College, however, was always a part of the plan.
“I knew a smaller school would be a better fit for me,” she said. “I needed that one-on-one attention and didn’t want to get lost at a huge school.”
Although Emmanuel College was on her radar, it took a chance meeting with a pastor for Danielle to set her sights on the Springs.
“My car died in the middle of an intersection,” she remembered. “I had to roll down to a turn lane and had called my dad to help. A gentleman pulled up behind me and asked if he could help me, offering to drive my car to a parking lot. Turns out he was a pastor driving through town and thought to help. I don’t know why that was a sign for me to come to Emmanuel, but it was. It was a coincidental set of events.”
The Cumming, Ga. native started at EC as a Business major but struggled to find her passion until taking a Business Communication course. This course led Danielle to change her major to Organizational Communication, which was the perfect fit.
In her major, Danielle not only found a passion for Event Planning but mentors who took the time to share advice and tips for finding success in her field.
“Paula Dixon and Dr. Terilyn Goins (Doc G) were two of my favorite professors,” she said. “Doc G was my advisor – she gave me a lot of good advice and has always been easy to connect with. When I was interviewing for jobs, she helped me with my resume and negotiating. She was a great mentor during my time at EC and even now.”
As a senior at EC, Danielle focused on one goal…to graduate with a job.
“I graduated on Saturday and started my job at Gas South District, formerly Infinite Energy Center, as an Event Coordinator on Monday,” she remembers. “When I started I went through a few routes of where my job was going, but ended up staying at the Convention Center, one of our buildings on campus and did very well there.”
In 2019, after only a year, Danielle was promoted to Event Manager.
“My role is to be the liaison between the client and our event staff,” she said. “It’s my job to make sure events go as smoothly as possible by communicating with the client, our event staff, and assess their needs throughout the day.”
Although she has found a love for planning tradeshows, corporate meetings, and galas, one yearly festival called, JapanFest has become Danielle’s favorite.
“It’s the largest public event we do on our part of campus,” she said. “It encompasses three of our buildings and is a Japanese cultural festival. There are a ton of moving parts and we have approximately 10,000-14,000 people per day come through. It’s loud, it’s when our building feels the most alive.”
When she was still in college, Danielle gained experience with event planning by interning with Slauer Events and Design, where she’s helped plan 30 or more weddings. She now works as an Associate Lead Planner for the company.
What advice would she give to college students looking to break into the Event Planning field?
“Get as much experience as you can,” she said. “Internships, shadowing people, don’t be afraid to reach out. I reached out to so many planners and coordinators that I wanted to shadow. Not very many replied, but those that did, those were wonderful experiences. Also, find something you’re passionate about, find something you want to be around, and go from there. Every company needs an event planner.”