What drew us to Jannike and inspired us to reach out to her was this – not only is she an event management super star, she’s talented, gifted, a mother, wife and passionate about performing arts and our Pacific youth. Following in the footsteps of her parents while being motivated by her husband and two sons to chase her dream, she’s sacrificed a lot to be where she is today. She shows us that through hard work and determination you really can have it all, regardless of what your ‘all’ might mean.
Tell us a bit about yourself, the work that you do, and how you came to follow that career path?
I am 28yrs old and of Maori and Samoan heritage. Born in Whangarei, New Zealand, I moved to Sydney’s South West at a young age and graduated at Sarah Redfern High school in the Minto area which is where my love for performing arts really grew.
K&D Management is the business that I run and Event Management is the field that I work within. I manage events, trips and entertainers.
Growing up I always had a passion for performing arts. I enjoyed being on stage, singing and dancing. I wouldn’t have known that organising performances and little events during my high school years would lead me to the career path I’m on now.
After giving birth to my first born I injured my back which restricted me from dancing. That’s when I really thought about focusing on my other passion which was events.
What have been the biggest challenges in your line of work?
A challenge that I faced when I first started was having lots of experience yet no qualifications. I then decided to go and study and completed my Cert III in Meetings and Events and my Diploma in Event Management. It was rewarding to finally receive the qualifications I needed. At the time I was working 2 jobs and studying all while my first child was at a young age. Being away from my son for most parts of the day was probably the most challenging experience when I was trying to get set up on this career path.
When I finished school I started 2 annual events in our community:
- Super 7 which was a dance competition where local dance crews could come and compete with celebrity guest judges every year
- Pacific Runway is a fashion show that I created for local designers, makeup artists and hair stylists to showcase their talent
Growing up I watched my parents work hard in the community as community educators. I never fully understood their roles and sometimes felt that we didn’t get to see them often because of their jobs – but their love for youth was more than just a job for them. Most of these young people became like our siblings.
Once I finished school I learnt of this love that my parents had for youth, and wanted to set up different events that young Pacific people could attend and be involved with. I loved seeing the smiles on their faces and seeing how much fun they would have in attending. This motivated me to put on more events for our Pacific community.
When my children were born it really pushed me to follow this dream. Hence the reason of my business name – K&D Management. My children come to all my events and see me work from home. From being around the event scene, I can see that they love performing arts as well.
My husband Mona Seiuli definitely pushes and challenges me to work towards my passion within event management. He’s the only person who see’s the hard work that happens behind the scenes. I’m so grateful to have him supporting me throughout this journey.
What advice do you have for young Pacific people who might be thinking of doing the same thing?
I hope that our next generation of young Pacific people have that desire within them to work hard to achieve their goals. My advice for them would be: do not doubt yourself. Sometimes I would question myself as I went for an event position and be the only brown face in the interview, or the only mother in a classroom full of young people striving to get a Diploma. There will always be obstacles but nothing is impossible. I know it sounds cliché but all my ideas I’ve brought to life always come from a dream .If I dream about it then I’ll action it.