Jennifer Brisman is a leading wedding and event planner and chief planning Officer of Jennifer Brisman Weddings Newyork and events Newyork. For nearly 20 years, she has been providing unparalleled event planning, consulting and coordination services with integrity, grace and style. A consummate professional and creator of memorable experiences, Jennifer is best known for relentless attention to detail. She champions the client experience and guest experience equally with meaning, passion and the finest eye.
Interestingly, Jennifer originally wanted to become a doctor and attended The George Washington University focusing on a premedical curriculum. While there, she was an active student and held various leadership positions within the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), including that of the president, producing many events and programs for the premed community at large. One of the most notable was a fundraiser for Metro Teen AIDS, the panning experience which became the pivotal moment in a big career change.
Upon graduation from GWU, Jennifer worked for GANZI Productions, Inc., a powerhouse event-planning firm based in Washington, D.C. While there, she was involved in the The Greater Washington Exploratory (Bid) Committee for the 2012 Olympic Games and The People’s Princess Charitable Foundation, Inc., “Dresses for Humanity” World Tour.
Jennifer then headed to New York City, which was feverishly becoming the event capital of the world and joined famed Production Group International (PGI). While there, she worked on corporate, social and association events featuring headline entertainment for clients including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Fidelity Investments, The Waldorf=Astoria and The 24 Karat Club of the City of New York.
Wanting to expand her event roster and capabilities further, Jennifer then went to work for International Communications for Management (ICM), a global financial conference company, as a Senior Conference Producer and later Summit Director of the Finance, Banking & Insurance division. While at ICM, Jennifer produced executive-level business conferences that featured C-level officers from F1000 companies, handling program development, speaker acquisition and sponsorship sales, while collaborating with the internal marketing and operations departments. These events were entrepreneurial in content and in execution, motivating Jennifer to go out on her own.
So, in 2001, she began her own company, Jennifer Brisman, inc., and its two subsidiaries, Jennifer Brisman Weddings Newyork And Events Newyork. As company President and Lead Planner, Jennifer served both her wedding and corporate clients directly, while overseeing her event team and all business operations. Throughout her firm’s growth, she was active with New York Women in Communications, serving in various leadership roles and often chairing the Program/Planning Committees of their esteemed Matrix Awards, which spotlights the most extraordinary women breaking barriers, and shaping and shaking the world. These superwomen and they’re remarkable personal and professional stories, quietly became Jennifer’s guiding light as she planned a course for herself to make her own mark. The rest, as they say, is history.
It is great to have you with us, Jennifer! Can you tell us a little bit about your story as the founder and CEO of VOW, the premier wedding management platform?
VOW is my vision to simplify the wedding planning process.
- VOW is the hub among all stakeholders in the wedding space.
- VOW’s wedding workflow platform makes it easy for venues, vendors and engaged couples to connect, contract and collaborate around a single wedding event.
- Specifically, VOW’s cloud-based platform provides customised wedding workflow and management tools to venues, vendors and engaged couples.
- VOW champions data and analytics from contact to contract then I do, enriching that data to select the right vendors, inform best practices and leverage network effects.
- VOW is my vision to transform how the Wedding Industry conducts business optimising productivity, profits and outcomes for all.
Having worked within the wedding/event planning industry field for over 20 years at Brisman Weddings, can you tell us about the transition between the ventures?
It was pretty natural. I knew that I wanted to address solutions for all the stakeholders in the space. In fact, it was a concept I had played with nearly a decade earlier. So I set sail and built prototypes (visuals) that demonstrated the potential of VOW and showed it to businesses in and out of my professional network for feedback. I worked to understand the individual pain points of each wedding business I connected with. Most businesses vocalised the same specific challenges and we began building the actual product based on the pain and problems we felt were the most needed to address first.
VOW is a cloud-based platform that streamlines and centralises how the wedding industry conducts business – what problem are you currently solving within the market and how do you believe this to be a revolutionary concept?
The wedding space has always been and continues to be highly fragmented with no innovation.
- We have no centralisation, standards of practice, transparency or hard data & analytics
- This results in decreased productivity lost sales, higher costs, mistakes and stress for all of us – all vendors, venues and certainly engaged couples who often feel it the most as it’s the one and only time they are part of the wedding ecosystem.
What was the set-up process like for VOW and how is it funded?
Initially, I funded VOW myself. I built a preliminary team. We brought on an impressive Board of Advisors. Shortly thereafter, we got an angel and seed investment.
Can you explain the company structure and the team working behind VOW?
VOW is a team of 5 of us, me, the CEO and Founder, a COO, CTO, Head of Product and Brand Director. We also have an extraordinary intern, a freelance market data analyst, and legal counsel.
What platforms are you using to raise brand awareness around VOW?
Right now we are building the brand itself. We are doing that, first and foremost, by making sure it delivers and building on the strength and power of the platform.
Who is the most influential female powerhouse that you admire and why?
My sister-in-law, Melissa Brisman. Melissa has been a pioneer and is a leader in the field of reproductive law. Since 1996, she has drafted legislation and argued before State Supreme courts, setting the laws and protecting parental rights for children born through assisted reproduction. She and her firm have drafted and negotiated thousands of time tested contracts and agreements to protect families. Over 2 decades she grew her own family and built not just one, but 2 companies. She is a total trailblazer and super successful in every regard.
The best lesson learnt throughout the business building so far?
Keep your friends close and your teammates even closer. No matter what rejection you get either soft or hard, make sure to ask the person to connect you with someone in their network who can perhaps help you or your path.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Being your own means doing the things that make you feel your absolute best. Tapping into this can take some work. It’s not always what you think. I like building things. Creating things from inception to completion. That is why I loved being a wedding and event planner. You take an idea and, over time, you make it come to life. There’s no dress rehearsal. No redos.
No ‘we will do better next time.’ With weddings, you have to get it right the one time – the first time and that’s it. It’s an unusual level of pressure that I grew to love. I loved having the skills and reputation that brought about that result hundreds of times over for families. It made me worth my weight in gold to a bride, groom and their families. It taught me to deliver, no matter what. That is something rare. That is who I am.
That is my ‘#BEYOUROWN. I am someone who has learned to deliver.No excuses and I parlayed that into my current trajectory with VOW every day.
What does 2020 look like for you?
I think pretty awesomely. I hope to be spending it with my team building amazing things for my wedding industry here in the states. Stay tuned!
Image taken by Danielle Gallo Photo
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