Getting to Know…Our Planner Member
Event Assistant – Registration, Membership and Administration
Golden Planners Inc.
Joined MPI in 2017
I was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario (Toronto area). I went to the University of Waterloo for history and communications, and after graduation I did a two-year journalism diploma at Humber College in Toronto. I was looking for a summer job through college and found one with the City of Ottawa doing marketing for the local museums. I returned to college in the Fall, finished my diploma, and then came back to Ottawa and have been here for the past nine years. I have a wonderful husband of six years, a delightful daughter who is almost four, a great group of friends and a fulfilling career.
I have taken a circuitous route to event planning! After moving to Ottawa years ago, I worked at the Heritage Canada Foundation (now known as the National Trust for Canada) as a communications, web and social media coordinator. The Foundation held an annual conference and slowly but surely, I took on pieces of the conference—registration, the program, graphics, logistics, etc. During last year there, in 2013, I started a diploma in conventions and meetings management at Algonquin College, after promising myself to not pursue more schooling long ago. And, to top it off I gave birth to my daughter (early!) four days before the conference. I was able to finish my diploma while on maternity leave and returned to work only to find I was not as interested in my job anymore. So, when the opportunity to be the Events Coordinator at the Ottawa Carleton Ultimate Association arose, with blessings from my husband, I left a cushy situation for a toe-dip into event planning and a job that was fun and out of the ordinary. After about a year and a half there I got a chance phone call asking me if I wanted to work for Golden Planners Inc. planning conferences. Heck yes I did! The stars aligned and here I am doing exactly what I wanted to do after getting my diploma from Algonquin. I am one year in and still loving it. Did you stay with me through that long story?
What is the best industry blog or Ted Talk you’d recommend to fellow members?
I just came across a Ted Talk recently that I have yet to implement but found fascinating as an event planner – “Paolo Cardini: Forget Multitasking, try Monotasking.” I am forever guilty of trying to do 1,000 things at once (but more literally five-six things) and then in the end, taking more time on all of them when I could have spent my time focusing on one at a time. I am doing it right now – and this profile has taken all afternoon.
What are you currently reading or would recommend reading?
The best book that I have read this year is hands down Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are”. Go read it now!
What is your hidden talent?
I have this ability to remember names and faces. Although it may not sound like much—it is in extraordinary quantities. I am planning the second conference for one of our clients and I can go through the list and remember 75% of the people and picture their faces. Or better yet—I used to comb through my sister’s yearbooks when I was in elementary school, memorize the names and faces and basically knew the entire school when I arrived there in grade nine. It’s a super helpful skill as a registration coordinator!
What is the advice you would give to your younger self?
The main things I would tell my younger self are—travel as much as you can, keep trying different things until you find the thing that sticks, don’t do anything because someone else wants you to and don’t care about what other people think. I hope to teach these things to my daughter as she navigates life.
What’s your favourite ‘icebreaker question’ at a networking event/best conversation starter?
Someone asked me once at a networking event—are you a hunter or gatherer. At first I thought it was a strange pick up line and then he explained his reasoning. He said, he had been asked that in an interview and was curious to see other people’s answers. I said that I am a planner so I tell the hunter and gatherer what I need and get them to execute it based on their talents. He laughed and said “you’re hired!”
Article Written By Alison Peverley, The Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club
Article Edited By Cynthia Beaudin, Canada Foundation for Innovation