If there’s one thing Aaren (Williamson) Muex knows how to do, it’s coordinate large-scale projects and events.
She coordinated computer networks for her first corporate jobs after college, and now coordinates weddings and special events through her own business, Divine Events.
And alumni may see some of her special touch at Homecoming this year: She’s helping coordinate Missouri State’s annual celebration.
She is the chairwoman of Homecoming, part of her role as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors.
She’s also secretary of the Black Alumni Council.
“We’re going to make Homecoming as fun as possible!”
Learning life lessons as a member of Pride Band
Muex has always liked to entertain others. At Missouri State, she played the clarinet in the Pride Marching Band for two years. She remembers traveling with the band to play all across the state.
One of her favorite moments was performing in Kansas City at a Chiefs game.
“It was electrifying, just being out there doing our show in front of all these screaming people,” Muex said. “It was pretty awesome.”
Pride Band, and its former director Jerry Hoover, taught her life skills.
“Band builds character,” Muex said. “One of the things I learned that I still use today is about being on time. You’re late if you arrive on time. You’re on time if you’re 15 minutes early. … That’s stuck with me. And now I’m teaching my children.”
That wasn’t all Muex learned at MSU. Juan Meraz, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, also worked with the Pride Band.
“He taught me discipline. … He pushed us for excellence.”
Charlotte Hardin, who is now staff emeritus and worked in multicultural student services at the time, was another mentor.
“She taught me poise. She taught how to carry myself when I was younger. … There’s so many people who I look up to, and I think are amazing, who have helped me whether they know it or not.”
Moving from corporate life to owning her own business
Muex took her Missouri State lessons with her after graduating with a bachelor’s in computer information systems in 2002.
She went back to her hometown of St. Louis. There, she worked in logistics coordination for Sara Lee Breads.
“We coordinated delivery routes for the bakeries. If they needed something, they would contact the transportation department, and then we would coordinate routes for getting their raw materials to the plants.”
She did that for a year, then moved to the information technology department at Edward Jones financial services firm.
There, she coordinated installation of computers, satellites, T1/T5 lines and more at different branches.
“I ended up being responsible for Canada, which was amazing. I actually got to travel to Canada with Edward Jones to make sure everyone was doing the processes right.”
But, being a self-described “life-long learner,” Muex decided to try something new. “I really wanted to do more programming.”
She got a promotion to become a database administrator. Next, she became a senior business analyst for problem management. She was working full-time, but enjoyed party planning so much that she had started Divine Events on the side.
“I had my second child by then, and I wanted to do something different, something fun. So, in my free time, I was learning to be a wedding planner. My husband said, ‘If you are gonna help all your friends do these weddings, you might as well get paid for it!’ And that’s how we started the business.”
Divine Events was founded in 2006. In 2013, Muex left the corporate world to focus full-time on her business.
Now, it has three divisions: Weddings; corporate and nonprofit galas and fundraisers; and lighting/décor.
“The reward is when we’re able to bring the vision of the client to life, and they’re able to enjoy it,” Muex said. “Our goal is to make sure that it runs smoothly and they don’t have any issues from the event. We want them to arrive like a guest, and leave like a guest.”
Giving back to MSU; mentoring black students
Just like when she was in the corporate world, her job isn’t the only thing keeping Muex busy.
She and husband Earnest have three children, ages 11, 5 and 4.
“And they love Missouri State, I tell you,” she said. “They will be Bears.”
Earnest may soon be a Bear as well: He’s applying to start an online business degree with MSU.
Muex is giving back by serving on MSU’s Alumni Association Board and the Black Alumni Council. She got involved with the council because when she was at Missouri State, she realized how important it was to see someone who looked like her in leadership roles.
She and a friend, Erica Johnson, a 2002 alumna, had been in the Association of Black Collegians together in school.
“Aaren was a good time, family-oriented and professional,” Johnson said. In fact, Muex planned Johnson’s wedding. “She is really great.”
Now, as a Black Alumni Council member, Muex has reinforced the value in networking and mentoring for African-American students.
“I want to make sure the current students know there are black alumni all over the United States doing amazing things after leaving Missouri State. Being that resource for them is very important to me.”
When she’s not working or helping MSU, Muex spends time with her family, travels and hopes to one day write a book — maybe on the topic of a day in the life of a wedding planner, or inspirational words for busy wives.
“As an entrepreneur, business owner, family person and mom I want to give back and encourage others to be inspired,” Muex said. “Do what you love, keep inspiring people and be inspired yourself.”