Being an entrepreneur requires making decisions independently. That’s both the blessing and the curse of working with a small or non-existent team. The need for a community to reach out to for advice and input has been long standing, and thanks to Sean Low, there’s an answer.
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Brit Bertino, a highly accomplished figure in the wedding industry. Brit holds multiple accreditations, sits on the advisory board of the International School of Hospitality, and manages several brand extensions. She does all of this while having speaking engagements and planning exotic celebrations for her clients in the United States and around the world.
We were particularly interested in interviewing Brit because she is the acting President of the Wedding Industry Professionals Association (WIPA), a fast-growing organization that’s making a positive impact in our industry…
Q: At this point, you’ve established yourself as one of the most sought-after wedding and event planners. Can you tell me how your planning career got started and how you went from being an industry newbie to being an industry leader?
A: I began my career working for a broadcasting company producing concerts and events for elite musicians… then I moved on to producing weddings for cruise lines, traveling, and planning exotic celebrations for my clients all around the world. I tell everyone that I have an amazing job. In the end, everyone has heard this… It’s all about who you know. I have done many, many years of networking and setting myself up as a leader in the event industry in order to go from the newbie to what I like to call an “oldie goodie.” Hard work and persistence truly pay off. If a door closes on you, and it will, quit bangin’ on it because another one is sure to open.
Q: You strike me as an incredibly busy person – planning events, making TV appearances, managing your own company and brands, etc. With so much already on your plate, what moved you to take on the additional responsibility of being WIPA’s President?
A: I truly want to change the wedding industry for the better. I don’t want people to think of wedding professionals as just the sister or cousin who planned their best friend’s wedding and who is now suddenly an expert at wedding planning… or as someone who DJ’d their little brother’s wedding and is now somehow a “certified wedding entertainer.” Yes, we all need to start somewhere, but WIPA is truly setting standards in the industry to qualify the best of the best wedding professionals. I want brides and grooms to look at our members and know that they are hiring the most talented creative partners for their special day. Being a part of WIPA allows me to help mold standard policies and procedures for the wedding and event industry, and that’s why I make the time to be a part of such a great organization.
Q: Most wedding industry professionals are aware that there are several different trade associations aimed at helping them. Can you tell me what makes WIPA unique and why you think it serves a much-needed role in the industry?
A: I always say it’s best to go to all of them, as you [the professional] need to find the best match for you and your goals. What sets WIPA apart from others is we are strictly geared towards wedding professionals, and we are setting standards in the wedding industry that other organizations are not setting. We strive to have the most talented and ethical wedding leaders as members and leaders across the globe.
Q: WIPA’s members are primarily concentrated in certain areas like northern and southern California, Atlanta, etc. What steps can professionals outside of those main areas take to join the organization and to get the most out of their membership?
A: We have several chapters in formation and chapters along both coasts. If someone is interested in joining or starting a chapter in their area, they are welcome to contact national for the most up to date information. They can send emails to Corinne@wipa.org or to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Since its founding in 2008, WIPA has grown and developed a lot. Where do you see the organization going over the next, say, five years?
A: In the next 5 years, we will restructure our membership to benefit everyone from smaller businesses to large corporations. We will have the first-ever wedding certification (I’ll give this a year, as we are already in the works). We would like to continue to grow our partnerships with suppliers like Timeline Genius to bring more added value to our members. We will continue to grow our annual awards and leading educational components. We have so many goals, and the leaders at National are working hard to make these come to fruition sooner rather than later.
Q: So many wedding industry professionals are working to reach the stage you’ve reached. If you could give them just one piece of career advice, what would it be?
A: One piece of advice… Don’t ever give up. Be the best that you can be every day. And be your authentic self.