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Planning for parties, for success

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Last year, Tiffany Ficklin drove her family out to the gates of heaven and hell. Specifically, the billboard touting her “The Gates” event, a heavenly sinful Halloween party at Santa Ana Casino’s The Stage.

It was the first time she saw her event planning company logo on a billboard. “It was nerdy,” she admits, but she says she read it as a big fat announcement that she was living well.

“Leave nothing uncelebrated” is the business motto for Tiffany Ficklin, who defines success as using your natural talents and crafting a lifestyle that fits your values. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

“Leave nothing uncelebrated” is the business motto for Tiffany Ficklin, who defines success as using your natural talents and crafting a lifestyle that fits your values. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Plenty of people told her that launching Bravo Alpha Events when she was “divorced and super-broke” was a risky proposition. “A lot of people told me to put it on the back burner. But I had an intense desire.”

What fueled that desire, she says, was that feeling of bouncing out of bed in the morning, eager to greet the day because she was defining success on her own terms.

In a new series of interviews leading up to our 25th anniversary issue in August, Sage magazine hopes to uncover how Albuquerque women create their own definition of a good life.

For Ficklin, 38, it came from nurturing a business, now in its fourth year, that allowed her to use her natural talents and craft a lifestyle that fit her core values.

How did that lofty values-driven statement translate to being known for “badass events”?

First of all, what’s a badass event? I asked her as we sat down to talk in her new office space next to The Produce Company coworking space downtown near the railroad.

“The second people walk in a room, they are dazzled,” she says. “Your senses are overwhelmed with awesome.”

What she’s after, whether it’s a Gatsby-themed New Year’s Eve party or a small, elegant wedding, is a sensory experience that leaves guests with a memory. “The imprint it has on the heart and mind is just there.”

“Leave nothing uncelebrated” is her business motto, and that refers not just to the big events like New Year’s Eve or a wedding, but that first person who calls your business or the first time you hand out your business card.

But the path to her own moment of celebration was not easy. Like many creative entrepreneurs’ stories, the timing of launching her business was counterintuitive – a time when the risk was the greatest. But she says once she figured out what set her apart, her business boomed. “I became a lot more successful in my mind when I quit caring what other people thought of me,” she says.

You can read my full interview with her on the Sage website at abqjournalsage.com, which touches on:

  • Why she calls her work a calling, not a career.
  • How “Cottonwarts” and Harry Potter factor into her influences.
  • How a big splash, a small moment and a disaster led to success.
  • How to “flip” an experience so you play to your strengths.
  • Why the best time is the worst time.
  • How to hit a breakthrough.

Plus, on the website, you can catch up with the latest advice from the Ask the Experts panel and find a calendar of events for women. Two to note: On this month’s Well Woman Radio show with Giovanna Rossi, the topic is “What Makes It Difficult to Eat Healthy Meals?” That show airs at 8 a.m. Friday on KUNM 89.9 FM, or you can find it at prx.org. This week’s Equal Time with Martha Burk on KSFR 101.1 FM features her commentary on the only woman to land at Normandy with 150,000 men. You’ll find that at prx.org/p/120708.

Carolyn Flynn is the editor of Sage magazine, published quarterly in print and daily online at abqjournalsage.com. Find Sage at facebook.com/sageabqjournal and “like” the page to get it in your newsfeed. You may reach the editor at 505-823-3870, sage@abqjournal.com or through Facebook.

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