event mentor POV #6: Mary Phan of Very Mary Inspired and The Sketchbook Series

By August 24, 2016Mentor POV

Our event mentor POV series brings you insights and tips from some of the top event professionals in the US.

The Apprentice Program helps you empower your interns and turns them into more capable and productive members of your team. But it also helps you become a superhero mentor. Our network of event professionals means that we can share best practices and expertise. 


So who better to talk to than one of Special Events magazine’s 25 young event pros to watch?

25 YOUNG EVENT PROFS TO WATCH (6)We’re speaking to Mary Phan of Very Mary Inspired and The Sketchbook Series.

How did you first get involved in the events industry?

I started as an event planner and designer in 2008 and rebranding in 2013 to Very Mary Inspired & The Sketchbook Series.

Prior to having my own business, I had experience in interior design and retail merchandising.  And even though I don’t do event planning any longer, I’m still very much in the wedding and event industry teaching all over the country concept of design through concepts and sketching ideas onto paper.

On average, how many interns do you work with every semester?

We always love mentoring and offering inspiration where we can.  We try to take on at least 1 or 2 interns every year.

What do you think are the most important skills you need as a mentor for event interns?

I believe that being a mentor, much like teaching, requires leadership, experience, and patience.

What tasks do you typically delegate to your interns?

It all depends on what project, but we try to give social media, graphic design, and projects that have hands-on experience in backend processes.  It’s important to know that even in creative businesses, the strongest qualities are still about organization.

Once you have a great foundation, a creative business, if set up correctly is what will set you up for success.

What’s the best thing about being a mentor?

I believe that the success of seeing students, attendees, or even other event professionals speaks to the success of me as a mentor.  If they succeed, I feel a sense of pride knowing that I played a role in that. To me, the satisfaction of seeing someone else succeed makes my job that more meaningful.

What’s your very best life hack tip you’ve learned along the way as an events professional and/or as a small business owner?

Be nice to everyone.  Trust your instincts and make sure to give more than you receive, weather that’s personal or professionally – building a brand isn’t about pretty logos or a gorgeous Instagram feed, it’s the impression you leave well after you’ve interacted and worked with your audience.

For me, I want everyone who interacts with me, my brand, my team to feel the same sense of energy.  We are constantly working on to strengthening our brand values and message.

What’s one event or project you’re working on now that you’re super excited about?

I’m over the moon to be planning our 2017 tour for The Sketchbook Series. This past year, we’ve gone all over North America teaching creative professionals how to bring their ideas to life. We’re so excited to see The Sketchbook Series growing to even greater heights in 2017!

The Apprentice Program provides easy to implement, structured training for your interns, apprentices and new hires in the events industry.  Get them onboard faster with how your firm plans, designs and produces live events.

The Apprentice Program includes:

  • weekly “spark” training videos
  • intern homework missions
  • individual intern report cards
  • intern pop quizzes
  • mentor support and advice

Starting at just $75/intern USD per semester for our custom-crafted training, guaranteed to get your interns to think faster on their feet.

Join the waiting list for Fall 2016 start.


Leave a Reply