#FlashbackFriday: Houston SuperBowl LI (Sunday, February 5, 2017 – Houston, Texas)

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It is months after the SuperBowl but I wanted to share and recap my memories on one of the biggest events to hit Houston, Texas this year since it was last held here in 2004. I may not have been on the “established” level that I wanted to, however I was still privileged to work for companies that gave me access and experience for what is to come. One of my goals is to be a top entertainment event planner, which is why I made it a priority to work and volunteer during the 2017 SuperBowl LI Experience in Houston. From working my day job at the Hotel & Lodging Association of Greater Houston and leaving there to work another shift, I thought I would be #TeamNoSleep! However, with good time management and what seemed to be the perfect work schedule, I was able to enjoy the festivities while also getting paid. Let’s just pray that the next time Houston hosts the SuperBowl, K. Benai Events will be more than a household name. Check out my week recap below!….


First Day of Volunteering at the NFL Experience and SuperBowl Live held at Discovery Green and the George R. Brown Convention Center. It was a 10-day experience including local food trucks and local performances by Houston artists.


The Houston SuperBowl Commitee hosted a party for all of the media coming into Houston since they would be too busy to partake in festivities during the end of the week on Tuesday, January 31, 2017. Food was catered by City Kitchen Catering.


On Wednesday, February 1st, I took the day off (from one job) to enjoy the Super Comedy Bowl Explosion! Thanks to the CW 39 Houston for my free tickets that I won on Facebook. I enjoyed hearing jokes from comedians Rickey Smiley, Michael Blackson, Earthquake, Billy Sorrells and Tony Roberts. The event was hosted at Texas Southern University’s HP&E Arena.

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My mother and I at the Super Comedy Bowl Explosion – Texas Southern University – HP&E Arena

I made it to the Houston Power Party thanks to Ms. Sabrina Patrick (Chic Soiree Weddings & Events). On this day, I learned how to work well with a team and experience the cultivation of an event from beginning to end. Sounds by DJ Hi-C, DJ Kid Capri and DJ Supastar filled the museum and created a fun atmosphere for the young professionals. What a long day it was and all I remember is getting home at 4am!


On Day 7, I actually had the day off and explored the NFL Experience and SuperBowl Live with my father – which as you can see is a huge Cowboys fan. The George R. Brown convention center was filled with NFL paraphanelia including displays of the Lombardy Trophy, past SuperBowl rings and tickets, autograph signings and entertainment for all ages.


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Nas aka bae

The night of the Rolling Stone Live: Houston party will be my most memorable. As much as I wanted to somehow get into the Maxim party in Sugarland, I couldn’t pass up seeing #bae, known to others as notable rapper Nas! The party was sponsored by Budweiser and included performances by Big Sean, Nas and a surprise appearance from Busta Rhymes. I’ll always remember bending over to pick up a broken glass and looking up to see Odell Beckham stare back at me in my eyes (thank God for morals!). Other celebrity appearances included Jerome Bettis, Ezekiel Elliott, Chef Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Anderson, Chanel Iman, David Schwimmer and plenty more.

I did not get home until 5am that night/morning and was scheduled to work at the Reliant Center for the SuperBowl PreGame Party for Sunday, February 5th at 8am. Needless to say, I overslept and did not make it to the center until after 12pm. At that point I felt any job should be thankful I showed up and I guess they were becasue I was put to work immediately. I served in the pregame party and enjoyed every minute however, I knew that my body was winding down and needed a break. To sum it up, that week was filled with many great experiences and memories. I can’t wait to share these stories with my children (if I ever decide to have any). I also can’t wait to plan and attend events similar to these!

Kaylon Benai

 

 

Reasons to hire an Event Planner

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This is for the “I Can do it myself” people. I am not saying that I am an expert, however I have attained certain skills in the hospitality industry that makes me stand out from the average planner. I pride myself in knowing that I come from a hospitality background. I took the initiative to pursue internships in my field, serve in a popular restaurant chain for over 3 years to learn a different aspect of hospitality, and often volunteer to gain knowledge in my craft. 

I want people to understand that just because I am planning your event as a friend or family to consider my needs such as your cooperation. Let’s look at some reasons you should hire a planner shall we….

First Things First – Your event will look much better!

How many times have you been to an event and you said to yourself “It looks like someone threw this together?” Event planners and designers know what photographs well. It is easy to match a few colors and vases, but it takes a certain technique to know what flowers are in season, what patterns go with certain table décor, etc. I learned this when I interned with a certain wedding planner Ms. Sabrina Patrick (Chic Soiree Weddings & Events). She is an expert at what she does and I truly admire her work. It has a clean, simple and elegant approach to the point where I can look at an event and tell that she planned it! She taught me that simple is sometimes best and your décor does not have to be over the top to get your guests attention.

It gives you time to enjoy your event!

That one is pretty self – explanatory……

Saves You Money!

Mainly because event planners have built relationships within the industry in which they receive discounts with certain vendors. Also, event planners know how to budget and negotiate certain packages, re-use expensive items for consecutive event days, etc.

Keeps your vision alive!

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It is normal to get frustrated when things are not going the way you thought. For example, your DIY project did not come out the way you saw on Pinterest, so what do you do next since you spent all of your money on crafts at Hobby Lobby? No one is going to fight for your vision like your planner because honestly, their company is on the line as well.

I would tell you more, but that would just be feeding you free knowledge, so just hire K. Benai Events!

Kaylon Benai

“Invest in yourself, you will get the best return”

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Lately I have been battling with many things I guess other 24 year olds are dealing with – trying to pursue my dreams while also trying to get my life together. I am always telling myself to never stop learning, never stop growing. Constantly trying to find new ways to brand myself as well as my business. While growing and maturing, I have learned that it is often normal for entrepreneurs to feel the way I have been feeling the past few months. Some friendships I have lost, some gained. Also, a lot of negative feedback but an equal amount of positivity. It is easy to look at other people around you and see how comfortable they are and remain complacent. I however, am not willing to settle for an unhappy life. The thought of what my future holds has been filling my mind lately. Wondering how I will attain a life of fulfillment or if it will even happen at all.

Which brings me to a statement that has lingered in my head like a new song you keep on repeat. While taking a real estate course, the teacher stated “Invest in yourself, you will get the best return.” I loved how she put a play onto those words. But what I loved even more was that is was one of the most genuine and factual statements that anyone has ever told me. Ever since then, I have been wondering if I will gain the most fulfillment by working my way up through a company or pursuing my true passion and becoming an entrepreneur. I know this may sound crazy to some but I just don’t think that working a 9-5 is normal for everyone.

I’m saying all of this to say…I think its time I start investing in myself. Anything I start, I must complete. Every goal I set, I must achieve it. Any friendsips I have lost, were for a reason. I think the hardest thing right now is dealing with failure and sometimes feeling alone.

-Kaylon Benai

“How I Built This”

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During my final semester of undergrad at the University of Houston, I enrolled in an entrepreneurship course taught by a very popular professor who was recommended to students from all majors. What I liked instantly was that he was not your average professor. Everyday he wore different and very stylish suits, often told us personal life stories and encouraged us to network and meet at least 5 new people at the beginning of each class. I was so influenced that I even invited my older sister to come sit in with me during the famous “final lecture” of the semester that students would often rave about and tell us that it is something we would not want to miss. Professor Carlos Ortega taught students many things about entrepreneurship, but I would say he taught me more about life and what to gain from it. During the “final lecture” he shared something with students that most people, let alone professors, would be ashamed of. He told us how he struggled at a young age, did not do so well in college his first few attempts, how at one moment he was unsure what he wanted in life but most importantly that all of this was okay and made him who he is right now: a stylish professor, entrepreneur, traveler and encourager. I was so encouraged on how he graduated from college after all of the setbacks and went on to pursue a masters degree in business from the University of Chicago.

Needless to say, I still keep up with Professor Ortega on social media handles and he suggested a podcast that I enjoyed listening to about self-made millionaire, Spanx creator Sara Blakely. Just listening to this 30 minute podcast, made me feel like all of my crazy thoughts an ideas are actually not that crazy. Also, that your ideas do not need to be shared with everyone.

Guy Raz: “Did anybody know about what you were doing?”

Sara Blakely: “No. When I came up with the idea, I kept it a secret for one year. I did share my idea with manufacturers or lawyers or people I thought could help me bring my product to life but I was very careful, right away. It was just a gut feeling I had, to keep it to myself because I believe that ideas are the most vulnerable in their infancy and it’s instinct to turn right or left in that moment and tell a friend. When you do that, instantly ego is invited into the mix. And then you end up spending all of your time defending it, explaining it, and not pursuing it. So, I needed to be at the place where I wouldn’t turn back. No matter what I’d heard.”

Hearing this reminded me of something Professor Ortega told me when I asked for advice about moving upon graduation and pursuing a masters degree. So many people have given there unwanted opinions and discouraging remarks about some of the ideas that I would like to pursue but he said ” You can have it all”. So why should I limit myself to others mediocre standards?

-Kaylon Benai

 

Personal Account vs. Business Account

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I recently opened my first business account for K. Benai Events. One thing I have realized when it comes to managing money as a business owner/entrepreneur is to keep your personal account and business accounts seperate. Having two bank accounts may appear inconvenient, but you should not use a personal account for your business finances primarily because it can affect your legal liability. A few perks to having a business account are legal protection, tax advantages, creditability and convenience.

All you need to get started is below:

  1. State Issued ID
  2. Social Security Card
  3. Business Name & DBA Paperwork
  4. Tax ID/EIN Number

 

“Life is a journey and you have a divine purpose”

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Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths. – Proverbs 3:5-6

When I graduated from the University of Houston in December of 2014, my uncle wrote me a letter that he handed me along with a gift. Often times, I go back and reread the letter because it is fitting to the many experiences that I am overcoming at this age. There are many times when I feel lost, confused and unsure what to do with my life. But, everyone needs something that grounds them and gives them just a slight dose of optimism. In the letter he states…

“Each ending is a new beginning.” You are “ending” your undergraduate career at the University of Houston but “beginning” a new chapter in your life.  During your life you will “end” a chapter and you will begin a “new” one.

Please pursue your educational and career goals with a passion. Continue to strive for excellence. Allow God to be the “center” of your life because all that is good and perfect come from Him. Remember Proverbs 23:23, “Get the truth, and sell it not – wisdom, instruction and understanding.” … James Baldwin, the great African-American author said that because of our ancestors’ struggles from slavery to the Civil Rights Movement and now the present, your crown has been bought and paid for. So hold your head high and wear your crown with pride today and forever…

Life is a journey and you have a divine purpose. What is your purpose? You may or may not know yet, but you will.

Today is my last day working for Mr. Mathew Knowles as an event manager at Music World Properties (House of Dereon & The Rice Mansion). I worked my way up within this company for 2 1/2 years beginning as an intern. The greatest compliment he gave me was that I reminded him of his daughter (I’m not sure which one, but I don’t care). I may not be sure where I am going yet but I am trusting that I will get there. My journey is like no one else’s, and I am learning to be proud of that.

Kaylon Benai

Washington D.C.

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In November 2016 I visited Washington D.C. for the first time and enjoyed every moment! The primary purpose of the visit was to attend the open house of a graduate program I am applying to, however I gained so much knowledge on the rich African American history that lies within. It upholds to its “Chocolate City” nickname for many reasons. On the first day, we attended a musical for one of my favorite movies – Love Jones – at the National Theatre. The casting included Chrisette Michelle, MC Lyte, Dave Hollister, Michel’le, and other great talents. On the second day we visited the National Museum of African American Culture. It was such an overwhelming and memorable experience. I tried not to share too many of my pictures inside of the museum, however I wanted you to see the hard work, time and dedication that was put in for US. Words can not explain the 5 hours we spent exploring, learning, and growing and that amount of time still was not enough. Day 3 we visited Howard University and spent a night on the town at BLISS Nightclub. Overall, I loved Washington D.C. (aka Chocolate City) and would recommend anyone who has not visited to do so.