Yoadan Tilahun: The Flawless Entrepreneur


From a party planner to CEO...A brave endeavor.

Meet Yoadan Tilahun, founder and CEO of Flawless Events, a leading event-organizing company focusing on corporate events. In this article, we delve into Yoadan's entrepreneurial journey, exploring her early life, the inception of Flawless Events, her valuable insights on entrepreneurship, and her vision for the company's future.

Early Life

Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Yoadan's path to entrepreneurship was unexpected. Having completed her primary and secondary education at Lycee Gebremariam School, she ventured to the United States, where she obtained an MBA in International Business. Yoadan says she lacked a concrete vision for her future in her youth. Even her field of study was chosen by her mother, and she went along with it because it sounded appealing. Speaking of her life in America, she says that she “always felt like a visitor”. Despite staying in the US for a long time and starting a family there, she always knew she’d return to Ethiopia. That happened fourteen years ago when she dared to return to Ethiopia and founded Flawless Events. 

Flawless Events

Before starting Flawless, Yoadan says that she never intended to start a business. The idea of starting a business came to her merely because she needed extra income. When she was in the United States, she and three of her friends began to organize small parties and events. However, the reality of the event organization soon revealed its challenges. And that led two of her friends to abandon the pursuit. But she and her other friend persevered. She remembers that it was her husband's suggestion to do it full-time. Initially, she hesitated, but later she conceded to the idea as she moved back to Ethiopia.  Feeling at home soon after her return, Yoadan seized an opportunity to organize an event, realizing she needed a license and subsequently an office, unexpectedly finding herself with a business in hand.

Though she was drawn to the idea of event organizing through weddings and parties at first, she, later found out it was a mismatch with her personality. However, she found her niche in corporate events, where professionalism shines at its finest, as opposed to the flexible and informal nature of family events. 

A Big Break

In the early years, Yoadan focused on networking, setting high standards for herself, and working tirelessly to exceed them. Her dedication and unwavering commitment to quality garnered recognition, leading to increased popularity in Flawless Events.

Flawless Events reached a defining moment when they successfully organized their largest event to date: the 2011 International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA), which drew over 7,000 attendees. Yoadan's pregnancy at that time added an extra layer of difficulty to the inherent challenges of such an undertaking. Nevertheless, this experience became a catalyst for growth and development for Flawless Events, solidifying its position in the industry.

Honesty as the Bedrock of Trust

Yoadan's brutal honesty has become her trademark, deeply rooted in her upbringing. By setting the right expectations and offering transparent communication with clients, she has built a reputation of trustworthiness in an industry where dishonest practices are used to appear more marketable. Yoadan cautions against sacrificing integrity for short-term gains, advocating for genuine connections and long-lasting client relationships.

Advice for Entrepreneurs

Yoadan advises entrepreneurs to “really figure out who they are.” Yoadan believes that people should take their time and learn work ethic and gain valuable experience through working, “How can you be a good employer when you don’t know what it looks like to be a good employee?” she adds. She believes the romanticization of entrepreneurship among the youth has filled them up with unrealistic expectations, hindering their ability to appreciate the valuable skills and personal growth that can be gained through being an employee.

Beyond Yoadan: The Future of Flawless Events

While Yoadan acknowledges the limitless potential of Flawless Events, she envisions a future where the company thrives even in her absence. Yoadan aspires to find a successor who shares her passion and understands the company's immense potential. “Wouldn’t it be fantastic to create something that outlives you?” she says. “You even have to let go of your kids at some point, let alone your business,” she adds. Yoadan is now working to ensure that Flawless will continue to thrive without her. 

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