Monthly Archives: November 2014

Gotta Love Them Galas

On Friday I hosted my first event for my new job; a gala to show our appreciation to the school’s board of governors for all of their hard work, and to inspire partnerships within the community. I was both excited and nervous to plan and execute this event. Excited because with this new job comes with more freedom to have creative control of the events I coordinate. Nervous because I talked a big game during my interview, and I knew I was going to have to deliver. In the past this annual gala hasn’t generated as big a turnout as expected, and didn’t always go off without a hitch. That also made me nervous.

With living in a new town comes the task of getting to know new vendors, and determining how their varied services can work into your plans. In Winnipeg I was used to working (for the most part) with the same linen company, the same lighting guy, and the same florist. I knew what they offered and how they delivered, and it always set my mind at ease knowing they would take good care of me. Not having this, added to the nerves.

But like I said, I was also very excited. Planning events has always been an interest of mine and although I don’t have years of professional experience, my passion for it is what allows me to excel. And who doesn’t like to excel at things?

Leading up to the event I ensured I had every detail planned out as far in advance as possible. Doing this is what allows me to stay calm throughout the process; knowing that everything, or at least most things, has been accounted for. It also allows room for error. No matter how much you plan, there’s always going to be a hiccup. The size of the hiccup can depend on a number of things, but how quick and efficient you are at taking care of it, goes back to those “things” you accounted for beforehand.

Throughout the event I received a lot of compliments from the guests. “I’ve been to this gala every year for the last three years, and this is the best one I’ve been to so far,” “Everything in here so beautiful. I feel like I’m at a wedding,” “I’ve lived in this town for a long time and I’ve never once been to an event so beautiful.”

Hearing such kind words helps to reinforce that event planning isn’t just a hobby or a passion of mine. It’s a skill I’ve worked hard to acquire, and a skill I will continue to develop throughout my career. There’s still a lot to be learned, new ideas to put into action, and creativity to be developed. This is going to be fun!

Event Photos (okay…it’s mostly photos of dessert)

 image[3]image[4]image[5]image[1] image[2]   Tiramisu

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Charmaine Moves to Lac La Biche

Seven weeks ago today, I moved to the small town of Lac La Biche. Never heard of it? Neither did I until a friend of mine moved out here to work at a college. It’s a small town in Alberta, about 2.5 hours north of Edmonton. South? I’m sure you can Google it.

I always knew I wanted to move out of Winnipeg, but I pictured myself moving to a bigger city like Toronto, New York, or L.A. I never once considered moving to a small town, yet here I am. The friend who moved out here a few months ago emailed me a job posting for an event planner position that just opened up at the college. She knew there was at least a slight chance that I’d be interested because I was already working at Events by Emma as one of two Planning & Event Design Coordinators. Although I enjoyed the work I was doing and the clients I had the chance to collaborate with, I felt it was time for me to work somewhere where I had more opportunities to take creative control of my events, and more room to take initiative.

For weeks I thought about all the pros and cons of packing up and leaving my life in Winnipeg to try something new. But in the back of my mind, I knew that although small town living was not part of my master plan, this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.

So far the job’s going fine, but one test of how well I’m doing will take place during my first event with the college that’s happening next Friday night. I’d invite you but chances are that if you’re reading this, you don’t live in Lac La Biche. My apologies; you’re welcome to attend in spirit.

Anyway, the job wasn’t something I was hesitant about. It was the idea of living in the middle (okay maybe not quite the middle) of nowhere that threw my mind for a loop. And after seven weeks, I haven’t found too many perks. Actually, I’ve come up with a list of things I don’t like about this whole small town living thing, and I’d like to share them with you.

Snowy road sign.1. Transportation

They don’t have public transit here. Like, there are no buses. Which is tough considering I don’t have a car. Town’s folk keep talking about how close and easy everything is to get to, but I bet you they’re not walking to get there. They have a few taxi services around, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll pick you up. I called for one once when I wanted to go grocery shopping, but the woman who answered said they didn’t have any available. What does that even mean? Do you get it? Can you explain it to me?

  1. Groceries

Speaking of grocery shopping, there are only two, yes TWO groceries stores available; Sobeys, and a store called Independent which is basically like Superstore. I don’t mind shopping at Sobeys, but I’ve been to Independent once and they have a lot more grocery options to choose from. Unfortunately for me, it isn’t even close to walking distance from my house, and like I mentioned before, taking a cab isn’t always an option. Sobeys it is.

  1. Mail

Who knew receiving mail could be so difficult? Living in Lac La Biche means that I can’t get mail delivered directly to my house, which means I need to get a “box” at the post office (which is only open during while I’m at work, so I can’t pickup my mail anyway). I recently moved into the basement suite of a house. There’s a man who lives upstairs who already has a “box” for this house, which means I either have to share with him, or have my mail sent to “general delivery.” Either way, I have to cough up $170 for it. $170. To get a “box” for the mail I can’t even go and pickup.

  1. Internet

I went to Telus yesterday (that’s the only internet provider in town) to get Internet services at my house. I haven’t had Internet for the last two weeks and I’m going a tad crazy without Netflix. It took about an hour to get through the whole process which included the sales rep trying to figure out why her computer kept saying “unable to determine if internet is available in your area” when she typed in my address, and them keeping me waiting while they do…wait for it….a credit check. Can you believe that? By the end of it all, I was told that the earliest someone who come by to install was NEXT Thursday. Really? A week? A few minutes after I left, they left me a voicemail saying that it could a bit longer than that, but they would keep me informed. Another fun aspect is that they don’t give you a time frame for when they are going to show up. In Winnipeg Shaw always gave me a two hour window, but things don’t work like that here. Basically the rep said they would call when they’re on their way, which means I’ll likely have to leave work in the middle of the day. If I’m lucky, they’ll show up in the evening. They did say they would come between 8:00 am – 8:00 p.m., so I guess they did give me a window…of TWELVE HOURS!

Now I know it seems like I hate it here, and to be honest, there have been many nights where I questioned whether or not this move was the right decision for me. Believe it or not, I am trying to keep an open mind, and I do think I will eventually get a handle on the backwards ways of this town. Whether I leave this place feeling like it was the right move, or that it was the biggest mistake of my life, it’s an experience that will help me grow professionally and as an individual.