Yvette Rusuku: Burundi, Rwanda, Canada, US... the network. Doing what you are suppose to be doing!12:28 PM
How I met Marion Marshall
It is often said that life begins where fear ends and I did not completely appreciate nor fully understand the real meaning behind these powerful words until very recently. As I sit here reflecting on the thrilling experiences of the past few days, I cannot help but feel overwhelmingly joyful not to mention grateful that I have been afforded an extraordinary chance to live my dream. This is not only a confirmation of the old adage that dreams do indeed come true but that every now and again, very special people are put on our path as constant reminders of it lest we forget.
For me that special being was none other than Marion Marshall, an incredibly gifted woman filled with such inspirational brilliance that no choice of words are adequate enough to express how tremendously indebted I am to the breath of her magnificence and astounding generosity.
As I was being driven to the Dallas Fort Worth airport by Marion after having spent a flawless week-ended with her, she asked me what my thoughts were regarding the awesome experience I had working alongside her and her amazing team of rather very talented associates. Needless to say that I was neither able to articulate my thoughts properly nor was I able to express any of the jaw-dropping emotions I was feeling at the time.
What an astonishingly adventurous journey it had been? Though I had lived it, I still could not believe that it had actually happened. All of it just seemed so surreal in that particular moment and so the only thing I could say was that I would surely ponder over it and write her an email as soon as my mind was composed.
Where shall I begin? Some time in April of 2012 while researching specific information on the internet on the subject of event planners, floral designers and decorators from various countries such as the UK, Burundi and Rwanda as well as some Canadian cities such as Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal--I stumbled upon an article featuring an upcoming and promising young talent in the field by the name of “Chantal Mazimpaka” who was also an active participant in the 2011 IEEW initiative (The Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women).
As I curiously read on different editorial pieces from a wide range of sources, I came across a sidebar in which a certain influential contributor named Marion Marshall had written a few lines of encouragement directly to Chantal Mazimpaka. Somehow, I was intrigued by her supportive comments, her willingness to share her knowledge and her open invitation for guided assistance if need be. This lead me to research further about this seemingly philanthropic individual; I wanted to know more about Marion’s work, her vision and the essence of her person.
Luckily, it did not take me too long for my research to yield the expected results. My quest was partially over when I finally discovered her website: www.absolutelyblooming.com. I was immediately won over and totally enamored by the charming displays of utter perfection. Such incredibly beautiful floral and illustrious decor! Browsing through different sections on the site, I could not help but notice the exquisiteness with which every minute detail radiated with refined precision. My heart beamed at every single snapshot that I instantly felt the urge to connect with this woman.
Shortly thereafter, I corresponded with her and eventually I ended up contacting her on the phone. I briefly introduced myself and informed her that I absolutely loved her artistic creations. She was surprisingly taken aback and quipped “OMG! How did you find me?” I myself was surprised at her bewilderment considering that her name is a household in her line of work not to mention that she has appeared in dozens if not hundreds of magazine articles. After the initial baffles, we smoothly continued our conversation where I spoke to her about my passion.
In turn, she inquired about what I wanted to do with it and suggested that I write to her elaborately about my expectations. Given her panoptic expertise and all-encompassing knowledge in the field, I asked her a multitude of questions about different programs and internship opportunities that were available in Canada in order to gauge the beneficial advantages as I have always been interested in pursuing a professional career in the decorative/creative planning arena. Her valuable insight and continued feedback in this regard was terrifically instructive.
After months of informative exchanges and communication, Marion recommended a developmental apprenticeship under her tutelage. I was so excited that I accepted her generous offer right away. Initially, I was supposed to leave Ottawa and head to Texas in September, however I had an impediment.
Marion was kind and understanding enough to postpone my learning start until December, during the auspicious wedding occasion of Samantha Baize, the founder of La Mode Media, LLC/Editor-in-Chief of La Mode Dallas Magazine and the very accomplished musician and Dovetail lead singer, Philip Creamer. How could I miss this opportunity of a lifetime? Not only was I chasing after my dream but I was equally determined and excited to finally meet with Marion Marshall--a phenomenal woman with a zest for life; a passionate artist with a genuine heart of gold; a meticulously industrious professional; a savvy entrepreneur; an altruistic educator with an incredible of sense of humor and overall, an enlightened connoisseur with purposeful direction whose relentless faith in others is as remarkably poignant as it is motivating.
One weekend of inner metamorphosis and personal growth at the behest of my persuasively effective mentor is what it took to realize the importance of having the courage to dare and achieve the impossible. Yet, I could not have imagined it possible to learn so much in such a short time and still manage to have great fun while working. And what a tour de force of a team I had the pleasure to work with, among them: Stacey, Jasmine, Marcus, Keith, Kiya and Dexter; what a truly formidable bunch! I am very thankful to each one of them for their dynamic enthusiasm and spirited hard work.
I am still reeling and giddy with euphoric contentment just recalling all the wonderful visits we made to all kinds of marvelous stores (floral supply stores, party and special events supply establishments). What a thrill it was to observe Marion do what she does best; I could not think of a better high than to see her in action executing herself with such contagious verve and gusto. I was absorbing everything she taught me like a sponge, the do’s and don’ts of the trade. I learned so much about her values and principles; her past experiences, her qualities but that should be reserved for another article. It was such a magnificent sight to see how the space of the basement art gallery where the wedding was held transformed before my eyes in two days as the wedding preludes when on and about without a hitch. To know that I was there not just as a witness to the creative process but that I was allowed to be part of it all was mostly satisfying and naturally rewarding for me in spite of the long labor hours.
Marion believed in her pupils and each one of her staff members, she was respectful and appreciative of our collective efforts and hard work. It should be noted that the secret of her success, among other things, lies in her commitment to giving 100 percent of herself in her various endeavors and in whatever she sets out to accomplish. In my eyes, she is undoubtedly the emblematic example of excellence and I will definitely cherish every lesson she taught me. Ultimately, I am indebted with gratitude to Marion for an unforgettable experience and for giving me the direction I needed.
Special thanks goes to my fiancé, Christian Sirikali and my brother Yves-Patrick Rusuku for their love and unwavering confidence in me. I owe you one!