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Daily Inspiration: Meet Michelle Custer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Custer.

Hi Michelle, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
We all have a story, a moment, a memory, that significant circumstance that absolutely changed everything we thought we knew about life. We all are important, we all matter, my story is no more important than yours, it is what you do with that story that is the difference. Do you take that situation and let it shatter your life? Or do you take that pain, the searing depth of that something that could have completely destroyed you and create something beautiful from it realizing it was part of your journey?

My moment was March 12, 2015 when my best friend, Leisa, who was like a mother to me, died unexpectedly. She was the first person who saw me for who I truly was and the potential within me. She loved me as if I was her own and she didn’t have to. She was there every moment that mattered and I knew I could count on her for absolutely anything.

Leisa was the true definition of elegance, beauty and class. She was and is my inspiration, my mentor, my hero, my fashion guru, my best friend, my protector, my greatest love and blessing in life. Everything I am and who I have become is because of her. She touched so many lives and had a positive and profound effect on each one. Leisa had a way of always speaking the truth, even if you didn’t want to hear it. She was an incredible leader, the Queen, the sparkle, the shine, her extraordinary spirit, her smile beyond beautiful, her stunning glow, her true generosity, her love of life every day, and protective beyond comprehension. Wherever we went people were drawn to her. But you see, the moment you met Leisa, your life was impacted forever, no matter who you were.

After being in my darkest hours for a very long time, I began to find peace again after losing Leisa. I moved to West Columbia, SC to work at Claflin University as a Catering Director. I needed a new start away from the consistent heartbreak of being in Kansas City. I would drive to the ocean every weekend and write about Leisa, all the memories and moments we shared. I knew I wanted to tell others about the incredible journey we had while she was still here on earth. I knew I wanted to do something to honor Leisa’s memory because that is something I promised her I would do. I wasn’t sure what that was until one day a friend said to me, “Leisa was your Northern Star, that is incredible, I have never had someone like that in my life!” That was the day Northern Star Event Planning came to life. I thought it would be a genuine tribute to my friend who is still my Northern Star and Guiding Light to this day.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
My passion is Event Planning and I didn’t get a chance to get it off the ground before covid had the world shut down. I admit I gave up on the idea of live events because people weren’t allowed to gather. I let my dream die.

Since covid, I have had to pivot and figure out how I can help others in the “new normal” while businesses are gradually returning to their offices. Many businesses had full-time staff for catering and events on location but unfortunately had to release them due to covid. My focus is to help businesses on an as needed cadence which is more cost-effective for them. I believe right now is an opportunity to help people celebrate reconnecting in person. I am also looking forward to working with non-profits to create events to raise money for our local community needs. You must always seek the blessings in the things that seem like obstacles. I know my purpose is to give back to this world in a remarkable way while celebrating my beloved friend, Leisa.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Event Planning is my first love. There is nothing better than live, in person events. I appreciate the attention to details, the elegance, the celebration, the chaos, the confusion and bringing it all together. There is nothing more fulfilling than watching an event unfold before your eyes and everyone is enjoying themselves. Not everyone appreciates the stress of planning an event, I thrive on it because I know that the outcome will be amazing and it will impact lives in a positive way, just like Leisa always did. I love that each event is different and uniquely designed for that client. I love taking the stress from my clients and handling all the vendors, the venue, the decorations, the catering, every intricate piece that goes into their event. I am open to consulting, full or partial service, even educating what goes into to planning an event. I also believe it is imperative to build relationships with the clients and all the vendors. I want to be the one they always call when they need something planned because they know I will put my heart into it. I truly enjoy getting to know people and their stories.

Most of my event planning has been corporate and restaurants. I accidentally discovered it was my life purpose to plan events. I took a job as the first Catering Director at a company in downtown Kansas City. I created the entire catering department from scratch by trial and error. It was amazing to realize how much I loved the meticulous details that went into each event. I often had multiple events going on simultaneously. I built relationships with wonderful business professionals and loved my career even on the most difficult days. I am the most proud of the time I spent at this company because it helped educate me by creating the opportunity to build something spectacular. I also had the privilege of running the catering events at their location in Denver, CO.

What sets me apart from others is my genuine passion for what I do and the inspiration behind why I am doing it. To have a business that is built on a foundation of honoring the most Remarkable Woman of my life is everything to me. It is about making a positive, profound impact on lives, bringing joy to as many people as possible and giving back to the world with genuine love. I am me, simply, wonderfully, uniquely me. There is only one me but I am not above or below anyone else, we all count, we all are SOMEBODY, somebody with a story to share.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
Never give up. If God puts it on your heart there is a reason. If there is a nagging feeling that you can’t shake, it is there on purpose. The most beautiful lesson is that I can take the devastation of losing the most important person in my life and create a business that represents everything amazing that Leisa was. There is nothing more fulfilling than following your soul’s purpose, especially when it is to share your love and light with the world while being grateful for every moment, good or bad. You should always find the beauty in the darkest moments, it is possible. There is no such thing as a failure, they are all lessons to guide you to a purposeful destination.

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