Event Spotlight: PMINAC Conference 2015

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"Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History" - Eleanor Roosevelt

The Spark Team

You Run Your Business, Let Us Run Your Event

How Can We Help?

Events connect people. Events breed innovation.
Events build communities. Events spark change.

Any event management company can help you choose linens, organize catering or find a hotel for your event. It takes a real partner to get to know your business, understand your objectives, and design and deliver an event that will help you achieve your goals.

At Spark Event Management, we believe that each event is unique, with its own objectives and challenges. We also know that in order to deliver a successful event, you need an event management partner that understands this.

We believe events are so much more than parties and conferences. Events connect people, breed innovation, build communities, and spark change.

Corporate Events

The Spark team can assist you in developing a business case for your event and delivering an event that exceeds expectations.

Whether you need to generate sales leads, build client loyalty or celebrate an important milestone, the Spark team possesses the event management expertise and business background to ensure your event is a success. Learn more

Association Events

Spark has worked with numerous associations to implement strategic changes to their events in order to address many of the issues associations deal with on a daily basis.

Managing an association is complicated, so let us focus on your event so you can focus on your association and members. Learn more

Not-for-Profit Events

At Spark, we have very strong ties to the community we work and live in and being able to work with a not for profit organization is incredibly rewarding for us.

Because we understand your funding, staffing and volunteer challenges, we are able to be flexible and adapt to your circumstances. Learn more

Profile

About Spark

Spark is a full service event management firm based in Calgary, Alberta that was created by pairing together our passion for business and events.

We bring a fresh, unique approach to the event management industry. We are not party planners. We are strategic event management partners. We understand that a properly executed event can be leveraged to support an organization’s strategic vision, incorporated into a company’s marketing plan, or used to build networks and client loyalty.

We approach every project with meticulous attention to detail and obsessive precision. Regardless of size and scope, we treat your event like a business with clear strategic goals, defined milestones, and a comprehensive plan to ensure that your event is delivered on time and on budget. At Spark, we put your organization first. We learn about your business, we focus on your challenges, and we plan events to support your goals.

Laser sharp focus, unparalleled professionalism and exceptional service means clients can trust that their event is in capable hands.

Clients

Our clients include not for profit organizations, corporate clients, regulating bodies and member associations. Each of these organizations has a unique set of business goals and challenges, and has chosen Spark because we understand the business of running events.

Testimonials

  • Anh always does a great job managing events of any size and scope. She approaches every project with professionalism and passion and is a true pleasure to work with.
       
  • As a sponsor, I appreciated the expertise and guidance that Anh provided. Her knowledge of the client, professionalism and impeccable eye for detail made sponsoring the event a pleasurable experience and played a large part in our decision to renew the following year.
       
  • Having worked extensively with Anh and her team at Spark Events, we see the value they bring to their clients as a truly professional, business-oriented event management firm, and how much they truly enjoy being a part of their clients’ success.
       
  • I truly appreciate Anh’s friendly, professional approach to keep things organized. I always experienced an exceptional level of customer service and was always provided with the support I needed to make my speaking engagement a success!
       
  • Anh always ensured our events were executed with professionalism and were first rate. She took ownership of the event and always put the clients’ needs first to ensure the event was a success.
        
  • Anh is a highly skilled and detail focused Event Manager. Every I is dotted and T is crossed when working with Anh. You only ever have to ask once for her to make sure it both completed and followed up on
        
  • Anh is the consummate professional. Her corporate background experience ensures her clients’ expectations are exceeded. Anh is creative and intelligent, and her ongoing professional development ensures her clients receive the best in the industry.
       

  

Our Team

Anh Nguyen, B.Comm, CMP

Founder + Principal

“Imperfection is beauty. Madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

– Marilyn Monroe

Read full bio

Anh Nguyen, B.Comm, CMP

Founder + Principal

Anh possesses over 11 years of event production and management experience, having found her passion and enthusiasm for the industry early on while she was completing her Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Alberta.

Anh also completed her event management certificate from Mount Royal University where she earned the E=MC2 Scholarship for achieving the highest grade in her class and obtained her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2011.

She is currently the Immediate Past President of the Meetings Professional International – Greater Calgary Chapter (MPI GCC) and has been involved with MPI for over 5 years. Anh is the recipient of the 2010-2011 MPI Rising Star Award and was recently named one of Collaborate Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40, which recognizes emerging leaders in the event management industry.

Kimberly Mercader, BCMM

Marketing Manager

“The power of imagination makes us infinite.”

– John Muir

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Kimberly Mercader, BCMM

Marketing Manager

Kimberly is a marketing and communications professional, bringing both business and educational experience to the Spark Event Management team. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Communications with a major in Public Relations, taking pride in her creative writing and editing abilities.

Kimberly’s educational experience from Mount Royal University’s rigorous Public Relations program, combined with her communications background working in corporate, not-for-profit and start-up organizations, has given her the quick skills to adapt to a variety of work settings and understand diverse audiences.

Kimberly is able to create, collaborate and innovate through strategic planning and implementation. She enjoys being creative and seeing those ideas come to life. Her passion for writing and communications, coupled with her experience in marketing and brand management has given her a creative eye for social media administration, design, web development and community engagement.

Andrea Zurawicz

Event Manager

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

– Fred Devito

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Andrea Zurawicz

Event Manager

Andrea’s academic experience lies in elementary education and art history. Discovering a fervent interest in event planning, she was hired as office & event manager for a conference management company in Edmonton. Since that time, she has worked as an event manager and events consultant refining her project management and communication skills.

She has gained experience in all aspects of event planning, including registration, marketing, speaker and sponsor fulfillment, and logistical details, for various types of events.

To fulfill her profound interest in art history, Andrea completed her Bachelor of Arts Honors degree (with distinction) in 2012. She has been able to meld her passions for art history and event planning through prior employment with The Art Gallery of Calgary and continues to stay involved within the Calgary arts scene.

Maureen Walsh, B.Comm

Marketing Director

“Far and away, the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

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Maureen Walsh, B.Comm

Marketing Director

Maureen brings a strong and varied background in branding, marketing, communications and facilitation to the Spark Event Management team. Her professional experience includes crafting a retail marketing strategy for a large oil and gas producer, developing national and international advertising strategies, building a communication platform for one of Canada’s most widely-respected non-profit organizations, and working in an agency environment for several notable Canadian brands.

Maureen has worked with clients across multiple industries and brings particular strengths in brand development, marketing strategy and visual communications. Relying on fundamental principles of marketing and communications and inspiration from best practices, Maureen creates meaningful, impactful marketing programs suited to her clients and their stakeholders. She brings a strong understanding of new and emerging trends, reliance on strategic methodologies and blossoming career experience to every project.

Kendal Dyer, BA

Creative Director

“You can’t use up creativity –  the more you use, the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou

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Kendal Dyer, BA

Creative Director

Kendal brings a broad scope of creative solutions and marketing expertise to any project she takes on. As a creative specialist, her experience in an agency setting ranges from corporate identity to the conceptualization and implementation of national advertising campaigns.

With over 6 years of experience in the field of visual communications, she can take your ideas, sketches and thoughts and bring them to life across many applications. As a graduate from the University of Alberta, her design training coupled with her experience as a project manager and freelance photographer give her very well rounded approach to every project.

Alexandra Rachey

Event Manager

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

– Vincent Van Gogh

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Alexandra Rachey

Event Manager

Alexandra has a diverse background in marketing, communications and event management. With over four years of experience working for an in-house marketing department, Alexandra’s strong understanding of the fundamentals of marketing combined with her event and project management experience make her a great addition to the Spark Event Management team.

Alexandra moved to Calgary from Winnipeg, Manitoba where she worked for Sunova Credit Union, a large financial institution as their marketing and event manager. In addition to developing and implementing a variety of marketing and communications initiatives for Sunova, Alexandra has experience delivering a variety of corporate events as well as managing community investment and sponsorship programs.

Erinn Johns

Creative Lead

“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”

– Dorothy Parker

Read full bio

Erinn Johns

Creative Lead

Erinn’s bio coming soon!

Ciara Leibel

Event & Administrative Assistant

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

– Vince Lambardi

Read full bio

Ciara Leibel

Event & Administrative Assistant

Ciara’s bio coming soon!

Services

Our Services

Spark specializes in event management for corporate, association and not for profit clients.If your event needs to be properly conceived and executed to deliver tangible business results, Spark is your answer. The Spark team is able to provide a full-service event management experience that includes:
  • Project administration and management
  • Budget, cash flow, and financial management
  • Program development and speaker management
  • Speaker contracting & fulfillment
  • Sponsorship sales, support and fulfillment
  • Registration management and support
  • Event branding and marketing
  • Event communications and promotion
  • Print production and management
  • Volunteer management
  • Social event planning
  • Event production and AV coordination
  • Facility and hotel management
  • Logistics & operations management
  • Post-event evaluation

Our Approach

At Spark, we know that a truly successful event starts way before the linens, flowers and lighting. These components are important parts of the event, but they do not define the event. Understanding your organization and the business reasons for putting on an event lays the foundation that ensures your event is providing a return on investment.Our approach is unlike our competitors because we focus on your business first and your event is the result.

1. LEARN: We want to get to know you.

What is your business about? What are your challenges? What are the issues that your members or clients are dealing with? By thoroughly understanding your company’s leadership culture, how your organization operates and your long term strategic plans, we become a part of your team. Our model works best when we can become more than the “hired help” and can become strategic event management partners, so the first step for us is about getting to know you and your business.

2. BUILD: Let us do the heavy lifting.

Because we have taken the time to learn about your business and the goals of your event, you can rest assured that the event will be on target and in line with your objectives. Leave the planning and management to us. Let us look after the details and the heavy lifting that comes with planning a professional event. From our network of preferred vendors, industry connections and years of experience, we can deliver a full service event management experience. The Spark team is well equipped to deliver a world class event, each and every time. Your job is to run your business; our job is to run your event.

3. DELIVER: Sit back. Relax.

Finally, this is where our event management expertise comes into play. At our core, we love events. We love the on-site details, production plans, schedules, deadlines and to do lists that come along with managing an event. From meticulous management of facility details to AV, catering and on-site coordination, we ensure every detail is looked after. Managing your event using a strategic overall plan and a methodical management approach allows you to rest easy. Knowing that every last detail is looked after will allow you to focus on your attendees and stakeholders at the event. Let us look after the rest.
 

Dialogue

Blog

 

Bringing on a new client often has its challenges. It takes time to develop a strong relationship to the point where you both trust and understand one another. I consider myself very lucky to work with a number of amazing clients, many of which I even consider to be friends. With that being said, in September, I started planning an event for a new client that is rarely ever satisfied or happy, despite my best efforts.

Below is list of some of the biggest hurdles I’ve had to face with this client, and this event, and some of the lessons learned along the way. Hopefully they help you avoid some of the challenges I’ve encountered so far.    

1. It’s All About The Budget


To say this client is budget conscience is an understatement. When it comes to the budget for this event, their motto is “it better be cheap like borscht”. Don’t get me wrong, I understand where they are coming from – they are paying for the entire event themselves and want to manage costs. But if you ask me, demanding (and expecting) free liquor from the venue is a bit ridiculous. 

I’ve learned the best way to deal with tight purse strings is to set clear expectations at the beginning and get approval before moving forward. Once the budget is approved, you can still shift things around as needed if you want to spend a bit more in one area, but at least this way you have an overall price and can make cash-conscious decisions.

2. Blurred Vision


This client could benefit from some corrective lenses, or maybe they’ve had one too many complimentary cocktails, I’m not sure.

I am constantly dealing with conflicting opinions on basically everything. From flowers to food, it’s different opinions abound – as long as it’s the best for the least amount of money. It’s unclear who has the final decision and we have spent months going back and forth on something so simple as the venue. Even once a decision is made, the client questions everything, and has trouble moving forward without input from different stakeholders. Basically, there are too many cooks in the kitchen all trying to make a gourmet meal at a fast food price.

As with the budget, establishing key stakeholders at the start of the project is critical to success. Figure out who has final say and if needed, make sure to get decisions in writing. This can help you avoid going back and forth reworking aspects of the event you thought had been finalized.

3. The Type-A Personality and the Perfectionist


Everyone wants their event to be perfect, and I get it, so do I. Each event is a representation of me, so I’m going to give it my all and try my best for you. Even so, working with someone who has a Type-A personality and demands nothing but perfection can be challenging on many levels. It’s easy for them to get caught up in the details and fixate on certain aspects of the event.

Help your client see the big picture by taking care of the small details for them – ultimately that’s why they hired you. Provide them with set options to choose from and their corresponding budgets. This allows them to weigh the pros and cons of each and make a decision easily.

4. The End is (not so) Near


This event is still a year away. Really. Even so, it seems like everything has to be done and finalized immediately or the world is going to end. You might think I’m being dramatic, but getting the save the dates sent out has been nothing short of an apocalyptic event. Between the design of the email blast and finalizing the guest list, the client continues to have a bird over milestones that are still quite far out.

Breaking the event down into smaller tasks can help make project milestones seem more achievable. Instead of focusing on sending out the save the date, make the first goal to complete an initial draft of the guest list. From there you can start narrowing down (or in this case adding) guests based on stakeholder feedback. Set goals and deadlines for each milestone and stick to them. This will help eliminate some of the pressure and stress associated with critical project deliverables.

5. Little Know It All


Every so often you come across a client who thinks they know everything and refuses to listen to your suggestions. The only thing you can do in this case is just give in and do exactly what they want. This is something I would normally never say, but sometimes all the sacrifices are worth it, be it for the money, the prestige or the profile of the event and the doors it can open for you down the road.

Or, you could just tell the client to take a hike get out of your office and never return. Normally I would never dream of doing such a thing, but a girl can only take so much, so that’s exactly what I did with this particular client.

As good as it felt, trust me, there’s a downside: If anyone knows an event planner specializing in destination weddings where the budget is tight, the client is a Type-A perfectionist with no clear vision that still insists she knows best and the save-the-dates still haven’t gone out… please let me know… my event manager just told me she quit.

View our full blog

What People Are Saying

“Anh did a great job of managing our 30th Anniversary reception. She quickly familiarized herself with our firm, the event objectives and desired outcome to ensure that we were on target with this event from the beginning. Everything from the venue, entertainment and logistics were managed meticulously with our end goal in mind.  Thanks to Anh’s thorough understanding of our business and her vast event experience, we were able  to pull off a great party while ensuring it aligned with our overall corporate objectives.”

"Anh took the time to learn about our business and she fully understood our objectives in order to provide us the most comprehensive services. Anh assisted us every step of the way and I was always impressed by her meticulous attention to detail. She consistently provides a high level of knowledge and professionalism no matter what is thrown her way. Anh’s experience in sponsorship management ensured the planning and execution of our sponsorship always exceeded our expectations."

"Anh and her team have taken our annual event to a whole new level. Her keen understanding of the unique nature of our business, our specialized organizational needs, and our need to raise the "professional bar" has resulted in double the number of attendees in just one year.  She developed a detailed plan and comprehensive program to keep us on target and on budget. She has added the polish to our event we have been searching for!!"

Contact

Office + Courier
Unit #A205
1600 90 Avenue SW Calgary, AB
T2V 5A8
 
Mail
Unit #72148
1600 90 Avenue SW
Calgary, AB
T2V 5H9
o.  (587) 880-2672
tf. 1-800-281-0697
f.  1-800-281-0697
info@eventsbyspark.com