Overall Excellence Chapter Award

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Overall Excellence Chapter Award



Insider Events – Festive Dinner Up to Snow Good

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By: Elodie Lortal, CMP, DES | Jan 13, 2022

Title: Up to Snow Good 
Date: Thursday, December 3, 2021
City, Country: Ottawa, Canada
Host Venue: Head Office Ottawa
Organizing Team: (

- Gabrielle Whittaker, Director Member Events

Rebecca Headshot
Rebecca Trafford, Co-Chair

Carolyn Headshot

Carolyn Leslie, Co-Chair
- Carla de Koning
- Chris Dingley
- Liv Sylvester



  • Championship Partner: Business Events Montréal
  • Silver Partner – Bat Cave: Centre Shaw Centre
  • Silver Partner – Catalina Wine Mixer: Québec City
  • Registration Partner: D.E. Systems
  • Annual Media Partner: Ignite

Specific Event Questions:


Who was the target audience?
MPI members, non-members, event suppliers, students and valued sponsors.

What was the main objective of your event?
The main objective of our event was for our guests to network with one another and to reconnect with their peers IN PERSON after many, many months apart.

What was unique/different about this event for you/your organization?
First in-person event in 21 months for our Chapter!


What was the biggest obstacle your committee had to overcome?

  • Creating a safe, comfortable atmosphere for our attendees
  • Understanding what that safe comfortable environment looks like in our ever changing world.

What was your biggest success? 
We delivered a safe event for our attendees in a unique space that allowed ample space for networking. We selected a large open concept space for our venue which offered plenty of room for guests to socially distance, move about and feel comfortable in their surroundings.


Did you do anything new or innovative? If so, how did it go? 
Coloured ribbons: With the pandemic still looming, we implemented coloured ribbons which were applied to attendee badges which allowed our guests to choose their own level of comfort. Green, yellow and red. Green meant that you consented or gave a green light to hug and handshake, guests selecting yellow meant that they were still weary of their personal space and hugs were off limits. We actually had no red ribbons selected by attendees as we feel that those still very hesitant would have opted to stay home altogether. The breakdown was 85% green and 15% yellow. The coloured ribbons were a quick and easy way to identify the varying comfort levels and for guests to be respectful of them.

Festive Attire: Another new & innovative component was our dress code. Our committee came up with a very creative concept for guests’ attire which was well suited for the holiday season and also a funny nod to the unique times that has been our reality for the last almost 2 years. “Festive Zoom” - holiday and dressed up on top and zoom comfortable from the waist down. Many attendees were dressed in pajama pants and slippers, it was a HUGE hit and it was so nice to see attendees truly embracing the theme.

What challenges did you have putting the features together? 
Our main challenge was that we knew that our guests likely had different comfort levels and we wanted to be accommodating to everyone in attendance. Another challenge was what to serve with regards to food. We opted to avoid passed food as well as large food platters where guests helped themselves & instead we opted for Chef manned stations where food was prepared and plated by a Chef and then served in individual portions. Items were displayed in a grab & go format as we wanted to limit the amount of food handling, cross contamination and really wanted to avoid any food being left sitting out.


What were some things that you improved on this year over last year? 
Last year the event was virtual and it was a huge success. Being virtual compared to in person, the structure and programming was inevitably very different. The main improvement from this year to last, was the fact that guests were able to be together in person and reconnect with one another. In saying that, networking was a huge focus for us for the event. We included very minimal programming allowing attendees ample time to maneuver throughout the room to chat with their peers. The open programming concept also allowed for guests to depart on their own time vs. needing to stay for an extended period of time i.e. plated dinner.

Planning Team

Last words 
Our committee is so proud of the event that we were able to bring to life. The post survey results confirmed that 100% of attendees felt comfortable and that we did all that we could possibly do to ensure their safety. We managed to achieve this, while including some fun elements throughout and a grand time was had by all :)

Article edited by Darlene Kelly-Stewart, Stonehouse Sales & Marketing Services



EL Headshot
Elodie Lortal, CMP, DES
Catering Coordinator at National Arts Centre

📢 I am a bilingual meetings and events coordinator who helps clients and organizations to plan their events in one of our five unique meeting spaces. The National Arts Centre is an ideal Ottawa venue for virtual, hybrid, or in-person events.


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