An Interview with Gillian Marto - President & CEO of Events of A Lifetime

This article originally appeared on cityboxmedia.com. You can access the original article here

Gillian Marto was interviewed as part of CityBox Media’s Sole Seduction series.

“Sole Seduction’s intention is to positively embrace who we are as catalysts to our very own success & to collectively empower like-minded women who understand where they are in their personal & professional journey while championing & supporting causes that matter. Sole Seduction at Jimmy Choo is an exclusive program where a select group of female powerhouses joined forces to raise funds for Aflac CHOA benefiting Sickle Cell. Together, we celebrated and honored these driven professional women recognizing their contributions in their respective fields as catalysts to the success of their companies while giving back.” Maryan Aiken

Meet Gillian Marto

Give us a brief overview of your current role & what you enjoy doing for your company? 

I have had the luxury of owning my own event planning and production company for the past five years.  I enjoy creating magnificent events that are enjoyed and remembered by my clients and their guests.

What was your first job ever and what was the takeaway from that experience?

My first job was in wholesale clothing.  I learned that traveling for business was not as much fun as I thought it was going to be!

What’s your most memorable milestone and why? 

To date, my most memorable milestone was when I expanded my company from luxury weddings to corporate events. My first corporate event was for a luxury private jet company’s Atlanta launch with celebrity guest Christina Milian.

What’s been the most significant contribution you’ve had for your company to get to the success you have today?

I would say that Atlanta’s event awards, The Allie Awards, have made the most significant contribution to the success of Events of a Lifetime Productions.   I began entering the Allie Awards three years ago, and ELP has won awards every year since 2017.  These prestigious awards have resulted in invaluable press and recognition from other event planning companies and potential clients.

Gillian Marto | Events of a Lifetime Productions | Atlanta, GA | Award

What process have you taken that has been the vehicle to the success of your professional journey?

Networking, integrity, creativity and innovation have served me well in the success of Events of A Lifetime. Our awards and aligning ourselves with reputable event professionals, who give the highest level of service and professionalism to their clients, has given my company a leg up in this industry.  I have been able to learn from other companies and have created professional relationships and friendships which I highly value.

“NETWORKING, INTEGRITY, CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION HAVE SERVED ME WELL IN THE SUCCESS OF EVENTS OF A LIFETIME.”

Looking back, you’ve had mentors that have shifted the direction of your professional career, who have been the most memorable mentors that consistently pushed you and why? 

My brother-in-law, Michael Marto, who has owned his own production company, Executive Visions, Inc., for the past 30 years, inspired me to think big and never put a cap on what I can do.  He pushed me to shatter the glass ceiling and do more than I thought I could.  Watching his success, which he achieved with hard work and the utmost of integrity, has inspired me to do the same.

With your current role, what was it that inspired you to push harder & what are your strategies to achieve them?

What inspires me now is the ability to have a platform and use my experience and success to help others.

How do you face challenges and how do you overcome them?

Challenges are best-faced head on.  I am willing to listen.  I purpose to be quiet and consider all the options and solutions.  I have then learned to go with my gut- it can be trusted.

What has been your rule of thumb in terms of arriving at resolutions that will work for the team?

My business partner and I are on the same page and hold each other accountable. We problem-solve and I can trust her opinion and suggestions.  Together we can come to resolutions that are best for all parties involved.

Gillian Marto | Events of a Lifetime Productions | Atlanta, GA

If you were to mentor your younger self, what advice would you give?

Don’t worry about what people think about you or your decisions.  Do no harm. Pray. Listen to your gut.

In your personal experience, what is the fundamental key to success?

Integrity, hard work, perseverance and trusting myself have been fundamental to my success.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

I wish I knew that “no” is a complete sentence!

What sets you on fire and keeps you motivated?

I stay motivated by focusing on my creative passion for producing amazing events. Many times, I am able to tie my events to a larger purpose.  Right now, our purpose is producing events that bring awareness to sex & human trafficking- a blight that is rampant and affecting our most vulnerable societies.

What’s your hell yes moment?

My “hell yes!” moment was when I decided to bring Deb Hull, Vice President and Marketing Guru, and the amazing Social Media extraordinaire Kiera Palmer to the Events of a Lifetime team.  Our partnership has brought expansion (corporate and charity markets), lots of laughs, and an event production niche that is unique.  Our approach helps our clients accomplish marketing goals and sets them apart in the marketplace.

What’s one word that sums you up?

Tenacious

What’s your next exciting project that you’re really looking forward to doing & why?

Deb and I have founded Safe Haven, The Global Butterfly Movement, in order to provide the UNITY to END Human Trafficking.  It has many purposes. A public art initiative, we are using the beauty of butterfly sculptures to communicate that SEX TRAFFICKING IS NOT TOLERATED HERE!  As an umbrella organization for all of the many people, foundations, and initiatives who work in this space, we will send a message of UNITY- much like the breast cancer pink ribbons.  When you see a butterfly sculpture, or a person wearing our butterfly pin, it signifies that those who may be in peril, have found a “safe haven.”  There is power in unity.  This is SO important to me because peoples’ lives can literally be changed and put onto a path for success.  This is my calling from the Lord, and I take it seriously- it fuels and drives my passions.

Interviewed by: Maryan Aiken. Founder. Sole Seduction. CityBox Media. GlossyPark. Sole Seduction originally launched in Johns Creek back in July 2010