Fusion Board Feature: Faith Folayan
You’ve worked over a decade in event logistics leading you to start your own business at TLW Consulting. Tell us more about TLW – what do you do, who do you serve, why did you start the business and what are your goals?
TLW is a division of “This Love Weddings,” a boutique wedding planning and design firm in the Twin Cities. Faith and her small team execute weddings and multicultural celebrations, including long-distance weddings where couples plan from afar. Employees include Faith, a part-time worker, and a variety of consultants depending on the magnitude of the event.
“We help [our clients] fuse their culture into the day.” She successfully bring her clients’ vision to life using her skills in strategic planning, project management, and marketing. TLW Consulting is also in the ‘business of doing good,’ focusing on diversity and inclusion in their work, whether sourcing speakers or involving the community in their events.
What inspired you to do event-planning?
The groups Faith has been involved in, such as student government in high school and annual sorority events at the University of Minnesota, have solidified her love for event-planning. Faith initially thought she would pursue pharmaceuticals, but pivoted into marketing, graduating with a marketing degree with an emphasis in communication. Prior to event planning, she worked in digital marketing and corporate marketing. “Events is one thing I could love and do regardless of being paid to do it.”
As someone with a background in and passion for events planning and marketing, and someone who is also passionate about diversity and inclusion – how do you marry (no pun intended!) those two efforts?
“I am able to marry those two when it comes to supporting D&I [Diversity and Inclusion] work.” Practitioners may need additional support, and that is where Faith comes in. She ensures messages are conveyed properly and ultimately looks through a lens of diversity to ensure inclusivity and support are available no matter the program or vendor. “It could be as little as ensuring that the microphones the presenters have match their skin tone.”
Faith has a variety of licenses and certifications, including Women’s Entrepreneurship as well as a certificate in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace from the University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business. “Personal development is really big for me… I’m currently part of an out-of-state D&I program where I’m just learning. Learning is always important. I consider myself a life-long learner.”
Faith is also currently taking a moment of rest. After events slowed in 2020, she took additional time to educate herself and focus on development and is now taking time to implement strategies she has learned.
As a board member for Fusion Learning Partners, how do you hope to bring your experiences and your passions to the organization?
“I have a passion for branding, so it was great to be a part of the re-branding process, especially as a new board member.” In terms of diversity and inclusion, bringing in a different lens and finding ways to be more innovative are important and relevant skills Faith hopes to bring to Fusion.
Part of the mission statement of Fusion is to inspire innovation for the greater good… what does this mean to you, or why do you believe in this?
“Being innovative is a way to improve life: improve the lives of others, improve the community… It is how we’re able to grow, better ourselves, bring others into the forefront, and advance others.” She explained that when you are thinking of others and of the future, inclusion follows and advancement can occur. Innovation happens when others are accommodated and thought of holistically.
There are many critical issues our communities are facing right now, but if you had to pick one, which issue needs the most innovative thinking and why?
“There are so many, but for me, I would say the home crisis. Home affordability is huge.” Faith discussed how important it is for low-income families and People of Color to have the ability to purchase a home, or be at home, in-general, during this time. Faith also explained how access is another large issue. For example, being able to access the internet is a privilege and difficult for those being schooled at home amidst the Pandemic, especially if parents are working from home and multiple points of broadband access are required. “Realizing your privilege and being able to adapt, and what that looks like, during this time [is important].”
What has been one of your favorite events you’ve planned for?
“This is tough! I won’t say an exact favorite, but in noting my time at the St. Paul Area of Commerce (now the St. Paul Area Chamber), one of my favorite events was the Equity Summit.” From 2018 to 2020, Faith worked at the St. Paul Area Chamber (SPAC) as an Events Manager, and for this Equity Summit event, “I was able to work with Channon Lemon, the VP of Economic Development, to strategize, visualize, and execute on that Summit. That was a really fun experience and a very proud moment… It showed how equity and diversity and inclusion are so important to the partners in the Twin Cities.” Over 250 people attended the day-long Summit event, the first of its kind at SPAC, and from that event even came a smaller Equity ‘Series.’ Faith knew the importance of making known the disparities and issues in the Twin Cities and nationally, and the importance of doing the work to address these issues. “Being a part of that was amazing.”
If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
“I would live in Paris… There’s multiple reasons to pick Paris, I mean c’mon; it’s the City of Love… the Eiffel Tower… the food is amazing. The biggest reason is the Louvre museum… I just love museums, and I love art.” Faith explained how a past visit to the Louvre was inspirational and helped her think of the bigger picture. “What lasting impacts I can make, and the ripple effect of what can happen when you are in your zone of genius and have the ability to create.”
Do you have a favorite quote?
A year from now, you will wish you had started today. – Karen Lamb.
“This is important to me because it deals with impact and knowing the importance of starting now and seeing where you could possibly be in a year from now, or a decade from now.” Forgetting fear, moving forward, and not procrastinating!
Favorite binge T.V. show or other pandemic past time?
“Netflix. ‘Stranger Things’ is my jam. Seeing the character’s growth over the years… I just think child actors are amazing. It’s a coming-of-age show. I love the nods to that era and decade. It reminds me of growing up.” She can’t wait for the next season of Stranger Things!