Getting to Know…Our Supplier Member
I was born and raised in Ottawa, but since I swore I would move away, I picked the furthest university I could attend and spent a year in Burnaby at Simon Fraser University on a modern dance scholarship. I ended up back in Toronto the following year, and an injury ended my career the next year. I returned to Ottawa and finished school at Carleton University.
My aunt had a friend who was looking for a summer student conference assistant with Junior Achievement of Canada. I applied and got the job. I had no formal event training but I was computer literate and organized, and I was able to figure out the big picture and break it down. I worked with that organization for eight years, gradually taking on larger roles. From there, I went to work with an American production company where I learned about large-scale fundraising events and helped produce some of the biggest Canadian outdoor fundraising events in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa. I also got to spend some time working for The Ottawa Hospital organizing internal staff engagement events. During this same period, my husband and I started our own small business and somehow that has now turned into a full time business. Mastermind provides event and party rentals from linens, décor and lighting to tables, chairs and even dishware. I consider myself to be a sup-planner (mix of supplier and planner—the best of both worlds!)
When I attend an event, I’m usually a big fan of the conference app. If it is done right, it can be great for engagement and allow easy access to conference materials.
I recently finished reading Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight. It is a remarkable story about the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s amazing to see how hard work pays off and how close one can be to failure before succeeding.
When I was a competitive dancer in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, etc., I complained to my dad that one of my team mates got a solo performance that I really wanted. Instead of sympathizing with me, he said, “Maybe they deserved it more because they worked harder than you”. I had no reply but stunned silence. I remember stopping in my tracks and looking at it from that perspective. Maybe they had worked harder—I never let myself get out-worked again.
Advice to Your Younger Self
Don’t be so afraid to put yourself out there. It’s amazing what happens when you do things that scare you.
I find networking incredibly difficult, as I can have trouble getting out of my shell. I’m quiet and fairly shy, so if anyone comes up to me and asks anything, even directions to the bathroom, I am grateful for the chance to start a conversation and get to know them.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Article compiled by Nancy Bradshaw, CMP, Tourism Saskatoon
Article edited by Melanie Hudson, National Association of Federal Retirees