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Episode 02 | October 13, 2020

Gail Palmer

Listen in as we talk to Gail Palmer of Palmer Event Solutions and she tells us about the nos that have helped define her company's mission.


Welcome to “That’s a Hard No” – the podcast about saying no and setting boundaries so you can become the authentic and empowered you that this world needs.

Quick disclosure: While Sarah is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, this podcast is in no way replacement for one-on-one therapy with a mental health professionalIf you are struggling with mental health issues, we welcome you on this journey, but also invite you to seek out professional help.

Looking for a therapist? Here’s a good place to start:

gail palmer | palmer event solutions | that's a hard no podcast
Introducing Gail Palmer

Gail Palmer is the CEO (that’s Chief Event Organizer) of Palmer Event Solutions – a Cleveland, Ohio based event strategy company that specializes in producing events with non-profit organizations. Gail is also a Certified Special Events Professional and the Immediate Past President of ILEA, the International Live Events Association, Cleveland Chapter.

With nearly 20 years of experience, Gail has done it all: designing, planning, implementing, and ‘fixing’ events for non-profit, corporate, and private clients from New York to Alaska. (Yes, Alaska! She worked for the state’s largest event planning company and helped plan Alaska’s 50th Anniversary of Statehood). She’s worked in hotel and hospitality management, travel and tour management, destination planning, and has a background in theater design.

We asked Gail to join us as our first guest for a couple of reasons, the first of which is that she formed her company around a couple of significant nos. But there are also a lot of other nos sprinkled into the conversation that we think you’ll find as fascinating as we did.

Facebook: @palmereventsolutions
Instagram: @palmereventsolutions

Key Takeaways
  • On how she built her own business (learned from a webinar she attended): “Don’t create work and then hope to create a life from that work. Create a life you want, and then figure out how to create work that makes that life possible.”
  • In the beginning, she wanted to do it for herself, but over time, she wanted to create the kind of company that others would feel passionate about working for, because it would honor the kind of lives they wanted to build for themselves. So, she’s worked on structuring her business in a way that allows for that.
  • A couple of big nos that have helped define her company’s mission:
    • She didn’t want to have a company of “stuff,” so that she could be agnostic about the solutions she recommends. She doesn’t have a vested interest in what solution a client chooses, which allows her to focus on her mission: helping good people plan great events.
    • She doesn’t do weddings or corporate parties. She focuses on helping nonprofits – good people – develop events that support their
  • On saying no to weddings and corporate events: “You can’t be all things to all people” and if you want to be “the best” at something, “then you better laser focus on it.” So, she focuses on the nonprofit sector and stays in that mindset to understand exactly what her clients need.
  • It’s not about the money. If you focus on what really matters to you or what you’re most passionate about, the money will follow, because you’ll be the best at what you do and people will want to hire you.
  • Don’t “should on yourself.” When you first say no, you may doubt yourself, feel scared and be uncomfortable. That’s okay. It’s sometimes important to let ourselves live in the moment of discomfort so that we grow.
  • Often the anxiety we feel when saying no is more about our fear or expectation of others’ reactions, and not a reflection of what they really think.
  • Nos don’t have to be negative. Nos lead to yesses. Nos give us space so we can say yes to things that are the right fit. They lead to the best choices and things that make your heart sing.
  • “Check your no.” Once you say no to something, it’s okay to pivot or change your mind. It just depends on the situation and if saying yes will still serve your “why.”
  • “Check your yes.” Make sure that if you say yes to something new, you’re not saying no to something you’ve already committed to. Also, is it serving you (or your organization)?
  • Don’t make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions. Give yourself time to decide if it’s right for you.
  • Gail’s form of a “parking lot” – drawing a “line in the sand” when no new ideas are accepted. Instead, they’re saved for an event in the future.
  • Another of Gail’s big nos – NO MEETING MONDAY (now Friday, in the era of COVID-19) which gives her and her team space, allowing for focus on big projects or tasks that help build her business. (We LOVE this idea!)
  • Gail’s final words of wisdom: “Nos are not negative. Nos make room for positive results.”
Credits and Thanks