BY ANY STANDARD, Makini McGuire is an over-achiever; she's a medical doctor with her own general practice in Chaguanas, as well as an entrepreneur. Along with her husband, Nigel Brown, McGuire co-owns Corp-So Events Solutions, a professional event management service for corporate and social functions, all at the 'tender' age of twenty four!
It's a good thing that Dr McGuire is "a multi-tasker who loves to keep busy"; it's a balancing act that she seems to have perfected. "It was more difficult to balance both, when I was at the general hospitals because of the intense hours; sometimes I would be on 12 or 24 hour call.... with my own practice I'm more flexible".
A globally certified events professional, Dr McGuire founded Corp-So Events a year ago. "Thank God for my husband; he's my inspiration. He saw my gift and encouraged me to start this business, and he paid for it!"
One of her biggest coups was the recently completed 'I Do' Bridal Expo, held at La Soledad estate. Corp-So Events Solutions was brought in less than two weeks before the event, after another service provider failed to deliver.
"This is why I started my company, because there is a need for greater professionalism in this industry. My client experienced the same thing I did as a bride: lack of communication by the events planner. Imagine you're planning a really special occasion, you've entrusted it to a professional, yet they are not keeping you informed of the decisions they're making or they are not meeting the timelines as agreed. This can be very nerve-wracking and unsettling for a bride or host...at the end of the day, your planner needs to understand that while they may be planning your special occasion, it's still YOUR day and you are paying for it."
Dr Mc Guire relished the opportunity to build her brand. "I love challenges. We worked really hard to pull off the event; we were glad to prove ourselves... Our client and the attendees gave us the thumbs up; it was a success."
Dr Mc Guire approaches every event with the precision of a surgeon, with a three-step method. Firstly, "there's the conceptualization stage, where we get an idea from the client of their vision, and we brainstorm. Secondly, we 'plan and manage'; we create an event plan and walk through each step to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Then, on the day, we execute our event plan and coordinate the event." Drawing from her medical background, Corp-So offers a unique bridal service: a couples' blood test. I shudder to think of the consequences of a negative outcome on a couples' wedding plans! "As a medical doctor, I've seen positive blood tests for one person but their partner is unaware; because of patient-doctor confidentiality I cannot say anything," Mc Guire sighs.
While event professionals need to keep their clients looped in and communicate frequently. McGuire shares that customers also need to let their event professional do their job. Borrowing an analogy from medicine, a good doctor listens to their patient and a good patient listens to their doctor. But sometimes you get a 'client from hell' who is very stubborn; they disregard advice, they want things their way; sometimes they reel themselves back just before the brink of disaster. It's a good thing, then, that Dr McGuire knows how to be patient. "If it's a minor thing and they insist, I let them have their way, let them be happy, but if it's a major thing that could impact the event and tarnish my reputation as a professional, then I stick to my guns."
Dr McGuire graduated in 2013, and her practice is doing well. "My patients love my bedside manner. Medicine is my calling, my purpose... events planning is my passion. I love to see something that I've planned take shape; I love the finished product. With medicine, the workload is great, the hospital hours were long and only a person who genuinely wants to practice medicine should embark on this journey. I say that because I know people who were coerced, as it were, to become doctors; they didn't want to disappoint their families but they're just going through the motions. Their heart is not in it. Recently, a colleague said, Makini, how do you do it? I wish I could...
Usually, doctors stay longer at the hospital, but
Dr McGuire went into her own practice so she could have flexibility with her other business. "I keep up with my medical courses and I am doing the Canadian qualifying exams, which are very intensive, to be able to practise there."
Dr McGuire met her Jamaican husband while both were studying at UWI's Mona campus. "I had applied to study here; somehow my name appeared on their list and I was accepted there instead... to this day it's still a mystery to me." Well, if that's not Divine intervention, then I don't know what is. Doctor McGuire gushes that her husband is her rock. As for her father, economist and management consultant Gregory McGuire, she says, "I'm a daddy's girl; I love my Mummy, but my father did everything to ensure that I am what I am today... he always said, see yourself five or ten years down the road, and then do what it takes to get there".