Our Peeps

The Boss

Nicole R. Matthews, CSEP, is Chief Experience Officer of Experience Recess, a concierge firm specializing in event, travel and lifestyle experiences. Experience Recess is a division of The Henley Company, LLC. With the belief that life should be experienced in a big way, Nicole set out to create a company focused on helping clients to live the life they want and to produce the experiences they want to remember! With over 12 years of event management experience, she has produced a long list of distinguished events for notable organizations both nationally and in the United Kingdom. Nicole not only works with clients to create unique experiences, significant celebrations and memory-making events, but she is also recognized as a leader in self-producing events and strategic partnerships. Nicole has self-produced numerous high-profile events, which are original concepts promoted to targeted demographics. Her “Sex and the City: The Movie” premier became a landmark event and established her reputation as an expert in self-producing events. The event was so successful she franchised the concept to event planners in other markets so they could self-produce events around the opening of Sex and the City 2. Nicole now coaches planners about the benefits of self-producing events and the value of strategic partnership.

Nicole founded The Henley Company in 2007 after a long career as a corporate event planner. Active in her industry, Nicole is the Past-President for the San Diego Chapter of the International Special Events Society (ISES) and is one of 250 professionals in the world to hold the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation. She has earned a Certificate in Event Management from the University of San Diego / George Washington University EventManagement Program, a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Davis and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from the University of San Diego. Nicole is also an adjunct professor at Mesa College in San Diego and an Instructor in the University of San Diego’s Certificate in Event Management Program, where she teaches the next generation of event professionals.

Nicole’s noteworthy professional achievements include:

  • 2007 Nominee, ISES Esprit Award, an award granted to the best and brightest in the special events industry
  • 2007 Nominee, Women Who Mean Business Award
  • 2008 Recipient of the TWIN Award, granted by the YWCA of San Diego
  • 2009 40 Under 40 Award Recipient, awarded by San Diego Metropolitan Magazine
  • Tour Coordinator for Brides Against Breast Cancer, where she has raised over $100,000 to grant wishes for women with stage-4 breast cancer
  • 2011 Nominee, Women Who Move the City Presented by San Diego Magazine

When she is not in the office, Nicole can be found planning a trip to somewhere that requires a passport, kicking a soccer ball, scanning her social media sites or belly laughing with her family.

Her favorite recent experiences include: Trapeze School, swimming with the manatees in Florida, zip lining backwards in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and seeing her beloved Royals, Wills & Kate, in Los Angeles.


The Team…

We are lucky to have access to some of the most talented event producers and personal concierge on the planet. Depending on the project, we handpick the right team member to lead the effort. Our boss, Nicole, still oversees and manages the overall project but she relies on her team to help execute all of the details. The Experience Recess team is like having your own tribe of super heroes in your pocket. We can blend in when clients just need a little support or we can throw on our capes and produce the whole experience when the client has other priorities – like enjoying their own recess!

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