Atlanta transplant brings her own spin to event planning

Gabrielle Jones
Gabrielle Jones

First of all, a lot of people aren’t quite sure what an event planner does. Among those who think they do, there is a mistaken tendency to associate ‘events’ with ‘parties’ which, by guilty association, suggests that all an event planner really does is put on some really good parties. That’s if the event planner is any good. If the planner isn’t so hot, then the result is a sorry excuse for a party that’s talked about in far less than complimentary terms for days, weeks, and maybe even months after the failed event.
And of course that’s too bad, because nobody likes to go to a messed up party. But if there’s one thing that Detroit newcomer (six months and counting) Gabrielle Jones wants Detroiters to know about what she does for a living, it’s that event planners do much, much more than just put parties together. Not that there’s anything wrong with a party, but there are certainly other events going on in Detroit that require a specific type and amount of planning.
Which is where Rielle Events comes in. Founded by Jones over a year ago in her hometown of Atlanta, she has since moved to Detroit and is looking to expand her services to the Motor City. Specifically, Jones says her focus is on the non-profit community and social causes. Even more specifically, Jones says she likes bringing groups of people together in a perfect setting that she herself has created, designed to inspire them to interact and discuss critical issues. Which makes sense when you consider that she graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in International Relations and Sociology.
“We’re known for Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright, a lot of political people. And that’s why I went to Wellesley. I knew I wanted to be a diplomat. Hopefully one day that’s in my future,” she said.
What changed, and why she put the diplomat path on hold, was when she realized she could make a career out of bringing people together.
“I love events, I love people coming together, sharing stories,” she said. “I like to create the right setting for people to have those breakthroughs, to make way for the future. You have to have that meeting space. …It’s a multibillion dollar industry.
Which is something she’s not sure many people are aware of in Detroit. And they should be.
“Here you don’t see a lot of black women doing these kinds of events.”
An odd twist to that phenomenon is the reception Jones gets from potential customers once they realize she’s not from Detroit. It’s a response that both intrigues and troubles her at the same time, because it sheds a light on lingering perceptions among some that if it’s made in Detroit then it must be somehow defective. An obviously twisted perception, but one that remains nevertheless.
“I go to venues all the time because I am new, so I spend most of my days looking at different sites. I get a very different response when I go in there and I say, ‘I’m an event planner’. They think I’m from Detroit. When I say ‘I’m from Atlanta and I’m expanding my services here’, I’m received very differently. Better. They give me the time. They show me the faces.”
Jones said her route to Detroit began with a relationship that had her going back and forth between here and Atlanta. At first she was somewhat skeptical of the city, but over time she came to love Detroit to the point where she now describes herself as a walking, talking billboard promoting the city’s virtues to her friends back in Atlanta and elsewhere, most of whom have no idea what Detroit is all about, or what it offers.
“I’m not coming to Detroit to save Detroit, or anything like that. I’m coming here to create settings to talk about whatever y’all want to talk about. Create the perfect setting, the perfect backdrop to that.”
For more information on Rielle Events, and the woman who founded the company, go to

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