mbwHello, my name is Mary Baird-Wilcock, CSEP, Founder and CEO of The Simplifiers.  For those whom I haven’t met yet, howdy, hi, lovely to meet you!  My journey as a mentor in the events industry has been nothing sort of an epic global adventure, truly.

You see, I launched The Simplifiers back in 2003, as a full-service event planning company, based in Austin, Texas…in my pajamas, in my home office, as you do.  Spinning off from my 7+ years of experience working in commercial radio, producing large-scale concerts and community events, I decided to follow the way of my entrepreneurial parents and start my own small business.

It was my dream, after all… 

…planning events with passionate clients and amazing vendor partners who value my knack at staying super organized, always under budget and cultivating a collaborative, fun experience in the event design process.  Plus, I finally found a profession that truly APPRECIATED my attention to detail! (all the OCD gals in the crowd, holla!)

I became an ISES (International Special Events Society) member in January 2008 and that’s when my career really took off.  From day one, I got involved at the local chapter level in Austin, Texas and never looked back.  My first volunteer role with ISES was on the Marketing/Communications committee for the CulinArt 2008 gala where I quickly realized what an incredible opportunity it was to volunteer for my local ISES chapter, allowing me to build deeper relationships with all the major players in Austin.  That lead to a nomination for the Director of Finance board position (2009-2011) and later, leading the ISES Austin chapter as their Chapter President (2011-2012).  Flash forward to today, I’ve served on the ISES international Education Council for two years, helping to guide the education offered at all 53 ISES chapters globally and beyond humbled at the recent International Election slate, presenting me for a Director-at-Large position on the ISES Board of Governors, starting July 2015.

Just by raising my hand and saying “yes” more times than saying “no”, all of sudden, doors started opening for me in my career.  

Education has always been important to me…I learn something new at every event I produce, with every client I work with and at every opportunity where I volunteer.  And to see how my volunteer work with ISES was helping to make a (tiny but significant!) positive impact on the local events industry, I realized how much I truly enjoyed being a mentor for others, as well.

The Simplifiers actually began The Apprentice Program back in Fall 2007, as our in-house internship program.  Since then, we’ve mentored 70+ apprentices over the years who have impressed us in leaps and bounds.  Our very best interns later became full-time employees for our events team and others catapulted their careers after receiving The Apprentice Program training to become leaders in their own sectors, all over the world.  Like a mother hen, I’m proud of each and every one in our flock as each one have a success story to tell of their careers.  And we are excited to share their stories on our blog in the coming weeks!

They say you learn the most from what you teach others.  

And that is true.  I’m passionate about education in the events industry, helping interns reach their full potential and now, helping other wedding planning firm CEOs become better mentors for their interns.  We have taken what we’ve learned from our 8+ years experience of running The Apprentice Program in-house, updated the curriculum to now be based on CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) principles of ISES and designed it for an eLearning online platform.

2015 brings lightning-fast technology and a Millennial generation (ages 18-24 interns) who are more accustomed to blended learning environments, fusing video-on-demand training content from The Apprentice Program and facilitated live discussions with their supervisor.  There has never been a better time for The Apprentice Program.

Ready to step up your game as a mentor?

Follow our blog in the coming weeks for tips on where to find the very best summer interns, insider secrets on how to sharpen your interviewing skills, why interns will be your secret weapon to help your firm grow and prosper and more.

Everyone can be a mentor…but it takes the right stuff to be a GREAT mentor.

If you think you’ve got what it takes, we’d love to work with you this summer.  Apply today to have your firm be considered for the VIP Summer Class of 2015, as we are selecting a handful of dedicated wedding planning firms to take part in our summer launch.  Deadline to apply is Friday, May 15, 2015 at 11:59pm PST.

You can do it and I look forward to working with you soon.


  • Vanessa says:

    I am not in mentorship status. I am not anywhere near 18-24 any longer as my kid’s are. I am a 46 year old woman who has finished raising her children & am now ready to get back to for filling my own career dreams & is therefore very much in need of the same apprenticeship opportunities of any very young adult. I have completed quite a few college credits prior to & during the raising of my children. I am currently working on certification in event decor, after which I will continue on to event design, draping, lighting, destinations, kid’s, wherever else my passion may lead me in this particular chosen career dream that I have every intention in making come true. Unfortunately, rather than achieving my career dreams prior to having children, I chose to raise my children first (priority dream) & am now in the best place of my life to now pursue my career dreams so that I may continue to be an example to my children & now my Grandchildren. Please inform me if there is any place for me to receive mentorship or if you know of where I May Find it.

    • Hi Vanessa! First off, CONGRATS on raising awesome children and then pursuing your career dreams in the event industry. Some of the very best interns/apprentices that I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years at The Simplifiers have been in similar positions as you…later in life, wanting to do a mid-career shift or getting back into the workforce, starting from the ground up. So, don’t be discouraged…women in their 40s can just as easily find a mentor and/or internship as those in their 20s. Here’s my best advice: -seek out your local ISES (International Special Events Society) chapter and get plugged in. http://www.ises.com Volunteer to help plan a monthly chapter meeting or at least sit on the Education/Programs committee at the local chapter level. You’ll meet a TON of vendors in your area and expand your network. This will also help you keep your ear to the ground of any internships and/or apprentice programs that might come available for you to apply. And remember, when you apply for these positions, think of the WEALTH of knowledge you bring to the table that people in their 20s don’t have yet. Time management skills. Communication skills. Juggling multiple tasks and looming deadlines, all at once. These are the skills any mom masters! Good luck and let us know how you’re doing!

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