Eighteen years as a foremost event planner has earned Funke Bucknor-Obruthe a place amongst Nigeria’s industry leaders. She is the founder and current C.E.O. of the Zapphaire Events Group (comprising Zapphaire Events Limited, The Zapphaire Training Academy and Decor by Furtullah) a pioneer events planning company in Africa that has for many years continued to set the trend for event architecture and design in Nigeria.

Funke’s passion for innovation and excellence has built a leading Wedding and Events brand that has delivered well over 1,500 successful events across the globe and has still remained relevant.

Her passion for walking brides through the wedding process led her to publish The Essential Bridal Handbook – a first-of-its-kind wedding resource for the African market. For this reason, she also set up Funke Says – a YouTube series for brides which guides them through their Wedding planning process.

This avid entrepreneur is also obsessed with sharing industry knowledge and giving others room to bloom. This resulted to the creation of the Zapphaire Training Academy in 2009 which has birthed over 500 events professionals.
More avenues to share knowledge was the recently organized Zapphaire Connect Series which brought together past interns and staff of Zapphaire Events and alumni of the Zapphaire Training Academy to collaborate, network and help them forge ahead in their businesses and careers in the Events Industry, Also she went ahead to organize THE EVENT XPERIENCE AFRICA (TEXA) which is an annual conference geared towards equipping an ever growing audience of event entrepreneurs with the right tools needed to thrive in the industry. The conference is targeted at seasoned event professionals and beginners alike empowering them to be more and do more at the same time providing them the opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn. The maiden edition was in January 2019 and had over 600 participants from different parts of Africa.

As a highly regarded influencer and speaker who seeks to impact lives, she has spoken at various seminars, workshops and conferences within Africa and globally. Little wonder why she is regarded as one of the top 3 wedding planners in Africa and was recently appointed a member of the Advisory Board for The Destination Wedding Planner’s Congress (DWPC). In 2016, she was also hosted by the King of Dubai for being one of the Top 10 event planners on the African Continent.

Being recognized within and outside Africa for her countless contributions to the Nigerian Events Industry, Funke was included in the BBC 100 most inspirational women in the world 2016 (and this had only two women from Nigeria) and has also been featured in several local and international media platforms such as Forbes Woman Africa, CNN inside Africa, among others.

Funke holds an LLB Degree in Law from the University of Lagos and a BL from the Abuja Law School with which she practised briefly. An Alumi of the Pan-Atlantic University (OM, She reads as much as she loves to write.

In this interview with Oyinlola Sale, Funke Bucknor – Obruthe, CEO of Zapphire Events tell us what inspired her journey into the events industry.

Now, tell us about your journey into event the planning Industry?

It was just God’s divine plan for me, I always wanted to be the life of the party. However, I studied law in University of Lagos because of my parents, so when I was in Nigerian Law School I used to organize parties for my friends and that was when I realized I had a passion for event planning.

Can you elaborate on the growth of event management in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, we have always organized parties, but it wasn’t done in a structured way. But now its now more professional and it has evolved.

Now, with the pandemic, event planners have become innovative, so in what ways has it made you creative?

The Pandemic came and just disrupted but made us creative and the Pandemic transformed the way we organize events , like Virtual events.

Funke has bagged several Entrepreneurship Awards, Merit Awards, awards for outstanding contributions to the Events Industry, and awards for wedding planner of the year.
Funke is a founding member of APPOEMN (Association of Professional Party Organizers and Events Managers of Nigeria), an Associate member of WIMBIZ (Women in Management and Business), A member of ILEA (International Live Events Association)an Alumnus of Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan African University.

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