Reflecting back on the past year, it was a tough year. Many of us had not planned an event for two years and naively expected things to be the same when we returned in the spring of 2022. We all received a rude awakening! Things were definitely not as they were in 2019, pre-pandemic. They were harder…much harder.
It started with the resurgence of events and the lack of well-experienced event personnel to support these events. Many highly qualified event folks had moved on, and gotten out of the industry. Retrained and repurposed their skills. I don’t blame them, but honestly, I didn’t realize how this labour shortage would directly affect our business.
- It showed up in caterers turning down our booking because they didn’t have staff to support their service.
- It showed up in venues not allowing us to have early access to event space because they had no staff to flip the room.
- It showed up in devastating supply chain issues, where we just accepted whatever our event partner offered and didn’t quibble that we didn’t get exactly what we wanted.
Here are some of our highlights in 2022:
January: We made the decision to move forward with opening our sister company, SharonBonnerConsulting Business and started working on the business plan. We also decorated clients’ offices and showrooms for the upcoming Chinese New Year.
February: Figma was our best friend, as we started building the event consulting website. This program really helped us lay out the site and decide which pages were important for us to include.
March: They say it rains when it pours and they are so right! In March we were contracted as an Event Consultant for Tourism Richmond and our consulting website wasn’t even finished. This event was extremely complicated to plan and our consulting services were greatly appreciated.
April: Sustainability is very important to us when planning our events, so on April 22, 2022, we attended the TSEF Earth Day Sustainability Workshop. It was so wonderful to be surrounded by like-minded event planners who care about the planet. If you haven’t attended one of these events, you really should do so.
May: Grande Prairie Regional College was rebranding and asked us to help with their upcoming events. We were hired to offer our event consulting services for two locations in Alberta, as the educational institution was renamed Northwestern Polytechnic. Also in May, our founder, Sharon Bonner, was invited to be a judge for the CSE (Canadian Special Events Awards). She was thrilled to offer her support to an industry she loves.
June: This was a big month for us as we were nominated for 3 ILEA Vancouver Awards and a CSE Award. We are always excited to be nominated, as it confirms that our work is valued as one of the best in the event category.
July: We acquired our second Event Consulting job and this one is really exciting. A large outdoor event for 2,000 guests wanted to spruce up the event and plan for the next 3 – 5 years. We meet monthly and love offering our event strategy. This gives us a chance to sharpen our skills for long-term event planning involving multiple years.
August: This month we were blown away to be both nominated and then win another ILEA Esprit International Award for our creative event solution during the pandemic. It’s no secret that planning events in the middle of a pandemic were extremely challenging. We were so proud to win this award. Read all about it here. We also wrote a Case Study, where we dive deep into this amazingly complicated event.
September: CanSPEP held its annual conference in Regina Saskatchewan and it was our first industry event since the pandemic. It felt so good to be networking, seeing industry friends and learning what is new in the event world. The icing on the cake was when our founder, Sharon Bonner, won a full conference pass to the next annual conference in St. Johns Newfoundland. Now we know that she is going to attend for sure!
October: Finally, we officially launched our sister event consulting company, SharonBonnerConsulting (also known as SBC) to the world. There was an overwhelmingly positive response welcoming the much-needed event support in these unpredictable times. We also dusted off our shelf for another event award for a virtual event we produced in June 2020, smack dab in the middle of the pandemic. We were recognized by CSE (Canadian Special Event Awards) for our Tropical Virtual Corporate Retreat. It included tons of creativity paired with the ability to engage 60 guests for 5 hours online. This was an amazing feat!
November: We love giving back when we can and this time, we donated some of our planning services to assist the Cystic Fibrosis Gala in their first live event since the pandemic. The theme was black and white and there is nothing black and white about CF. Check out their website to learn more. Such a wonderful organization.
December: We were smokin’ busy! Here are a few of our December events. On December 07 we produced A Not So Silent Night Fundraising Gala for Richmond Cares Richmond Gives. We raised well over $100,000 for families in Richmond, BC. Next, we went to Paris with a Parisian-inspired Staff Christmas Party held at the Rocky Mountaineer Train Station. The event was so magical and the icing on the cake was that we were featured on the front page of the Vancouver Sun. This was a first for us! By the end of the year, we produced 12 events over a period of 2 days for a new USA client. Their business is open 24 hours a day, so we offered festivities to a new shift every 8 hours in 2 locations. This was a first for us!
We learnt a lot about ourselves in 2022 and our prediction for 2023 is that we are not done learning yet.
Things are definitely NOT back to normal, and the need for an experienced event professional. As we will help guide clients through this “new normal” event planning environment is higher than ever.
Our wish to each and every one of you reading this is that you find peace and love to fuel your fire to be amazing!
Happy New Year!