Collegian of the Year
Kenzie Carlson has always had a knack for event planning. As a child growing up in Brentwood, Tennessee, she created elaborate plans for imaginary parties, complete with invitations. In high school, she put her skills into practice, planning parties for friends and even organizing prom. As she fine-tuned her logistical skills, she discovered that she really loves coordinating events. Entering the accounting program at the Haslam College of Business, she set her sights on the behemoth of the event planning world: weddings. “They’re such big events with so many details,” Carlson says. “I loved the challenge and was all in.”
While earning her accounting degree, she continued to pursue her interest in event planning through an internship with a Knoxville-based wedding planner. She also got involved with Delta Sigma Pi (DSP) Professional Business Fraternity, using her organizational skills to dramatically improve Haslam’s chapter. This year, Carlson was selected as DSP’s 2020 Mid-South Regional Collegian of Year, one of the highest honors the fraternity bestows on a collegiate member.
Last year, Carlson launched her own wedding planning business, aptly titled I Do… Weddings. “I started by offering free services to a few brides, just to get my feet wet,” she says. “Then I did a little advertising, launched my website, and got a couple of inquiries.” Since then, Carlson’s business has grown along with her conviction that wedding planning is her passion. “Long term, this is definitely what I want to do.”
Carlson’s study of accounting dovetails well with her event planning work. Originally, she saw it as a skill she could apply to event planning, but she’s grown to love it for its own sake. “I’m definitely interested in public accounting and the experience I can gain from it,” she says. “That’s why I decided to do the Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program.”
This summer, Carlson plans to do a remote summer intern-ship with RSM US, LLP in Chicago before entering the MAcc program at Haslam. She envisions working in public accounting after graduation while continuing to operate her wedding business. “My dream is to divide my time between accounting and wedding planning,” she says. “And I’d like to be in Knoxville because I love the city and the wedding industry here.”