Ideas to Read and Pass Along

Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

Play to Your Genius

Bring Those Crazy Ideas to Life

Are you toying with ideas, hopes and dreams that never seem to happen? Are you secure, but stuck in a dead end job? Are you engaged in work that makes you come alive—playing to your genius? Are you doing what you love and love what you are doing? Is it time to make those crazy ideas, those daydreams come true? We’d like to introduce you to a woman who takes crazy ideas and playing to your genius seriously.

sex and the city movie posterWith the summer buzz surrounding Sex and the City: The Movie, many fans, friends and supportive spouses anticipated purchasing tickets, grabbing a tub of popcorn and watching the hottest chick flick of the summer. Nicole Matthews, CSEP, a professional personal concierge and owner of The Henley Company, had another idea! Nicole saw the buzz as an opportunity to blow the doors off movie premiers in San Diego. Not only did she plan an event to celebrate the movie launch, she grew an idea into a sensation. By combining her extensive event management experience with personal concierge services, Nicole saw the opportunity to capitalize on the buzz of this cultural phenomenon. She created an event that celebrated fashion, friendship and the right of women to be fabulous. The goal was to create an experience for women that turned a pop cultural moment into a memory of a lifetime. This caught the attention of New Line Cinema, the movie distribution company, who were so impressed they endorsed her event.

Creating and launching a big time movie premier is a far cry from a year ago when Nicole found herself slipping into the Dead People Working™ Syndrome. After almost five years of toying with the idea of starting her own business, Nicole finally decided to follow her passion, do what she is good at and play to her genius. Gutsy, you bet! Big opportunity, yep! Huge risk, oh yeah! Nicole chose to give up the security that comes with a corporate paycheck and an office with a view. In July 2007, she said goodbye to corporate America and hello to The Henley Company, an event management and personal concierge firm she founded to help clients live the life they want and organize events that blow the doors off business-as-usual.

Managing the lives of busy professionals and executing large-scale events has renewed her passion both personally and professionally. Walking away from what is safe, yet draining and deadening, is tough. Walking toward a bigger, better, more fulfilling YES, although exciting, takes a ton of courage. Nicole took an idea and made it a company. She walked toward her dream of becoming an entrepreneur and BOOM her work has taken on new meaning. The law firm was a job, a means to an end. But being an entrepreneur is a wild ride, a journey. It’s about building your own professional brand. It is about making your work your signature. It isn’t always easy, but moving toward your own bigger YES and building something out of nothing is what drives Nicole.

Self-producing an event and creating something out of nothing is a huge risk, but Nicole trusted her gut and was confident that a Sex and the City: The Movie Launch Party would play big in the San Diego market. Check out what Nicole thinks are some of the keys to her success. Collaboration—creating strategic partnerships that generated great buzz. She started by reaching out to local and national companies that have an interest in partnering with sophisticated, professional, 30-something women; her phone started ringing. Nicole was able to secure some of the major product placement players featured in the movie such as Bag, Barrow & Steal, Skyy Vodka and Jimmy Choo Shoes. To create even more buzz, one lucky winner at the event actually went home with a pair of Jimmy Choo Shoes donated by Saks Fifth Ave. It’s not about freebies, though, it’s about strategic partnerships that make sense for both parties. With the flurry of excitement surrounding the movie launch, companies were itching to get in front of the demographic that she delivered.

Another key behind the success was creating an event that was priced right but unforgettable. Nicole gave the attendee a unique experience they wouldn’t find at their local movie theatre. All attendees received a movie ticket for a private showing on opening night; a pink carpet, paparazzi experience; a no-line, no-cover VIP rooftop party at Stingaree, a local nightclub; complimentary cosmopolitans hosted by Skyy Vodka; a goodie bag filled with official Sex and the City: The Movie swag and other glamorous items; and a raffle ticket for the Jimmy Choo shoes and other prizes. The women came in droves and it became the ultimate girls night out, an unforgettable movie experience!

Asking. Nicole is fearless when it comes to asking people to get involved. She likes to say, “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” So it was with this mindset that she reached out to a local radio station and asked two of the afternoon, drive-time DJs to be “Party Ambassadors.” The request ballooned! The station gave away tickets to listeners and promotional spots about the event became the afternoon radio buzz, everyone wanted to win tickets. The exposure she gained, just by having the courage to ask, was priceless and the event sold out. It became the hottest ticket in town thanks to her great partnerships.

Nicole risked big time. We believe you have to risk big to gain big and we applaud her ability to lean into her genius and blow the doors off business and life as usual.

Are you playing to your genius?

What crazy ideas, dreams or changes will make you come alive personally and professionally? Your work is your signature, are you making it a masterpiece?