Founder of Preeti Exclusive Events, inspired by her rich, South Asian cultural heritage and upbringing in the USA, has a knack for effortlessly fusing eastern traditions with western flair. We got in touch with her regarding the hurdles she has faced in the last couple of years and learnt about her personal journey on her fight against breast cancer. Preeti has been successful in taking on the challenge just like any day at the office and has handled it with utmost power and stride. #BossLady
What was your initial reaction when you were diagnosed with the illness?
Shock. When I felt the initial lump, I was in denial. Eventually, I needed to see a doctor and as all the tests were concluding, I told myself it would be a wakeup call for my busy life, that this is a message to slow down, that I work too hard, etc. With no family history, I never imagined this would happen to me at the age of thirty-six. Once I heard the news, I just kept crying and my parents who were with me at the time were in sheer shock as well. After some time, I realized crying will not change the outcome. Asking ‘why me’, will not change the prognosis. I just asked them to give me a long-term synopsis of what they think the treatment will entail and then told them I wanted everything broken down day by day as I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with decisions that need to be taken in the future. I basically became my very own planner and this is what I tell my couples when we plan short term goals.
Did your reaction lead to a setback in your career? If yes, then how did you overcome the obstacles?
No, it didn’t. It was by luck that my season was just beginning and I had time to talk to my team about who would take over which wedding as a team leader, how calls and meetings would be conducted as well as how walk throughs and paperwork would be guided. I took control of this disease before it controlled me.
How did your esteemed clients and vendors support you through these trying times?
I was at every single wedding (with a wig!) and they were very empathetic when I told them. Almost all of my brides made sure I was on site at the wedding, not because they didn’t trust my team, but because they wanted to see me, give me a hug and let me now that they are with me at every step of my life. I may not have been doing much of the running around, but I was happy to be on site at each event and oversee everything. I received praise, gifts and lots of support from them. I will forever be grateful for that.
How do you manage to stay positive despite the harsh realities of life?
I believe there is no other way to be. The mind is an incredibly powerful tool and what you tell it, what you preach to the universe, how you see the world, all comes back to you. Sure, having cancer was devastating but I wouldn’t let it break or define me in any way. The biggest thing I kept telling myself was that it could have been worse. I would meet women in my support group that had long treatments and short-term prognosis. Hence, I believe that whenever you feel down, just always be grateful for what you have because someone else may have it far worse than you. Five months ago, I lost my best friend to brain cancer and watching that was heartbreaking but in spite her short-lived time in this world, she exceeded love and kindness with her smile. A true inspirational figure, she is why I remain positive as I know that she always looks over me and talks me through bad days. This experience truly changed my perspective on life.
What has kept you motivated to continue you career as an incredibly celebrated wedding planner, especially since the work load being so stressful and hectic?
My parents are so proud of me. Everything I do is so celebrated by them, that it keeps me going to reach higher and higher accolades. My niece loves looking at my event pictures and has stated she wants to take over my business (she is 10!) and my nephew loves all of the gifts I get in the welcome bags. I am so passionate about weddings and love that I have also moved onto the technology side of it by co-funding an event planning application that just won the tech completion for 2018. I want to always stay relevant in the industry and appease to the millennials as well. A smile is what takes everyone’s stress away, sure planning is always stressful but you must manage that stress for your own health and happiness.
What sort of management skills would you like to advice to all the aspirational working women out there?
Surround yourself with an incredible team and showcase their strengths. From marketing and sales to managing your emails, use interactive ways to stay organized like google docs or apps like Asana so you can track everyone’s progress on a project.
What would you like to say to women who are battling from various illnesses and continue to break barriers every day?
Continue being a trailblazer that you are meant to be but be kind to your body! Illnesses remind us to slow down and sometimes we forget that we are human. We are allowed to take breaks and rest our mind and body. Don’t let the illness be an excuse to prevent you from being an incredible woman in your field. We need YOU to pioneer through sickness and overcome challenges to contribute with your skills.
Being an integral part of ‘Wish Upon A Wedding’, what does the organization mean to you?
I am so grateful to give back to this organization. After going through my treatments and still working weddings, I wanted to find a way to give back, to show my gratitude to the universe for helping me survive. Granting wedding wishes to terminally ill brides and grooms is so rewarding and enriching for me. It means so much to be able to give my time and resources to these incredible couples. It’s literally mixing both my personal and professional worlds together in perfect harmony!
All Photographs Courtesy: Preeti Vasudeva/Preeti Exclusive Events