Jaime Len Cooke
Creating Event Experiences that Leave an Impression
By Meredith Kay
Photography by Brittany Paul
For highly organized and logistics-minded individuals, multi-tasking and prioritizing are second nature. Some may refer to us as “control freaks,” but it is in our DNA to handle situations, and really, just everyday life, by tackling each item on the list in a methodical and ordered manner that achieves the end goal as seamlessly as possible, and one dynamic local businesswoman has this practice down to a science.
Jaime Len Cooke is a magnetic force to be reckoned with. When she walks into a room, she commands the space with a vibrant and outgoing energy that gets attention. Beautiful and stylish, Jaime lights up when she discusses her events planning company, how she built it, and how much she appreciates and leans on the support of her family.
She began her career as a corporate events planner for Rack Space in 2004. For 12 years, Jaime traveled the world, setting up and hosting internal company events for employee engagement and retention programs, as well as conference and hospitality endeavors with clients and partners. This experience brought out a natural talent in Jaime, allowing her to create a plan that would achieve the goals of an event by successfully executing complicated logistics while working with teams to produce unforgettable and interactive experiences.
In 2008, Jaime found herself in demand outside of Rack Space, and with the blessing of the company, she started Cordially Invited, a small events planning company specializing in private, non-profit, and corporate events. Her reputation grew quickly, and she started to take on larger events, hiring staff and creating relationships with vendors around San Antonio. When her son Deacon (now 6) was born, Jaime did some soul searching and decided that it was time to transition professionally and focus on her own company, which would also allow her to set her own schedule and stay home more to be there for her family.
Jaime was born in California and went to high school in Houston before moving to San Antonio to attend UTSA, where she earned her B.A. in Communications, with a minor in Crisis Management. She is married to Jack Cooke, a project manager for R.C. Page Construction. They met at Stonewerks, and for Jaime, it was love at first sight. They have been together for ten years now and married for five, and Jaime has an older son, Aden (13). The family is very busy with sports and activities, but Jaime says for her it is always, “Family first.”
Her events planning company, JLen Events, was launched in 2016. The company organizes and executes local and international events for clients like Geekdom, Toyota, and Ferrari. Her team also organized 16 separate events during the 2018 Men’s Final Four here in San Antonio. JLen Events specializes in corporate and non-profit events but is also proud of its work with high-profile events like the World Affairs Council.
Jaime states that, “It is imperative to stay engaged with event attendees, both during the event, whether it is a live event or a virtual event, and after the event with follow up communication, and ongoing options to stay connected to the company or the cause. The pandemic changed the landscape of what social and business events look like. As we navigate these uncertain times, we are looking at a more hybrid approach to event planning. We need to provide both in-person, when applicable, and virtual elements that work in tandem to make an event successful in today’s climate.”
All of the business brought into JLen Events is referral or relationship-based. Jaime cultivates her professional relationships and maintains a strong roster of loyal clients who recognize the work her team puts into an event. Jaime feels strongly that her success has come from a consistent recipe of grit and grace. She highlights the need to educate her clients in order to manage expectations in a field where unexpected situations can cause planners to pivot without notice.
She says, “Events are crucial to our social lives, and engaging with others is essential for business growth. I thrive on creating experiences for event attendees. I love it when an event can positively impact and educate someone to become passionate about something they weren’t previously aware of.”
In a normal year, JLen Events can host 4 to 7 events per week, but the pandemic has obviously changed things. Events planning is often seasonal. Corporate and non-profit events tend to slow down near the holidays, but they ramp up quickly beginning in January, as companies and organizations kick off the new year. Events planning is a fast-paced industry, but it suits Jaime’s energy level perfectly and brings joy to the clients that she values, filling her bucket and inspiring her to create perfectly executed and unique events as her company continues to grow.
Learn more about JLen Events and Jaime Len Cooke at www.jlenevents.com.