Today’s Millennial on a Mission is a young woman that has taken her love for event design and management, and turned it into her own business here in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area. Prior to launching Artistyca Events, Jessica worked for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the Head Administrator for the Neurosurgery Residency Program for the past 3 years, but knew that wasn’t her ultimate career goal. In August 2011, she decided what her dream was, committed herself to the development and understanding of her purpose and has reached levels of success that a few years ago seemed impossible. In January 2014, she took a leap of faith, and left the corporate world — not pursuing happiness but creating it.
I’d like for you to meet Jessica Echols.
Born in Fairfax, Virginia and raised in Prince George’s County, Jessica attended Bowie State University, where she graduated with a B.S. in Pedology (child and adolescent studies) and B.A. in Communications in spring 2011. “As a college athlete, a member of Student Government Association, and participating as a model in several pageants, I was a very active college student,” Jessica recalls. ” Bowie State University definitely molded me, and I thoroughly enjoyed my collegiate career.”
On when she fell in love with event planning, and what lessons she’s learned:As a model, I was always invited to some of the most amazing events, and I remember always thinking to myself “who put this together?” It intrigued me the amount of effort and meticulousness went into planning events, and the execution each event possessed. So I randomly was asked to be on planning committees for various events at Bowie State, and my love for event designing blossomed. The most challenging lesson I’ve learned in building my business is the understanding that because I have a service and not a product to sell, I have to essentially be the voice of my brand. I have to be able to speak what I know about events, and rely on my work ethic and delivery to produce quality for my clients.
On being more than just a ‘party planner’, and her planning process:When I’m asked what I do for a living, the event designer name is always tainted with the ‘party planner’ title. It doesn’t bother me because it just gives me an opportunity to discuss the difference and introduce my business. The moment I meet someone that wants to host an event, I want to hear about their vision. After that moment, the mental planning happens — I’m creating treatments of how to properly execute the plan, and thinking of ways to turn each thought into reality. My inspirations come from anyone who has ever dreamed and brought that dream to reality. I find motivation in the doers. To me, Artistyca Events is a one of a kind event design and management firm because it doesn’t stop with just planning and executing the perfect event for our clients. We facilitate dreams, strategically build brands and develops platforms through innovative event creations. The event is just a gateway for more to come from a memorable foundation. The number one lesson I’ve learned in business management is being okay with charging clients what you know the quality of your work is worth. If you don’t trust your worth, no one else will.
To Jessica, being a Millennial on a Mission means to live for a purpose, to be a change maker. “As millennials, we have the understanding that our purpose isn’t for self gratification,” she says. “It’s to leave a mark for the generations after us, and I aspire to inspire.” On the journey to entrepreneurship, Jessica constantly sets goals for herself. She believes that ‘you are your own worst critic’, and she has felt the need to want to do more. “Striving to achieve your dreams comes with faith, determination, consistency and persistence,” Jessica says. “Multiple doors will close and the road less traveled is always the hardest, but the experience is humbling and truly worth it.” Her one piece of advice to young entrepreneurs: don’t ever let anyone redesign your purpose. “The vision you have for your life was never meant for anyone to understand, because that vision wasn’t given to them. You are an individual. Stand alone and watch people stand with you.”