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Insider Events – The Illuminate Project Podcast (TIPP)

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By: Elodie Lortal, CMP, DES | Nov 29, 2021

Insider Events – The Illuminate Project Podcast (TIPP)

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Basic details of the podcast
Title: The Illuminate Project Podcast
Start Date: The idea of a putting out a podcast goes back to mid-2019, fresh off the heels of our main stage Community Keynote at MPI’s World Education Congress (WEC) in Toronto. Marie-France Watson, Tim Whalen, and I are the Co-Founders of MPI’s Rise Award winning - the EVENT which kicked off in 2018. After 2 successful years of the EVENT, we wanted to continue our creative pursuits and in February 2020, we recorded our first episode. During the pandemic, we have released 30 episodes. Our two seasons were actually planned pre-pandemic, released during and then like many things, adapted to the trying times our industry has been through.

TIPP logo

Where to find it (audio)? Apple Podcast, Google, Spotify, Amazon 
Where to find it (video)? YouTube at The Illuminate Project Podcast - YouTube 
Website: The Illuminate Project Podcast for Event Professionals (


Podcast Team:

  • Ryan Young, Director of Sales & Marketing at Ottawa Marriott, & Past-President of MPI Ottawa Chapter
  • Marie France Watson, Manager, Academic & International Conferences at Concordia University & Past President of MPI Montreal/Quebec Chapter
  • Tim Whalen, Executive Meeting Manager at Fallsview Casino Resort, & Past President of MPI Toronto Chapter

Specific Event Questions:

Who was the target audience? 
The target audience is generally meeting & event professionals, but we do have some followers outside the industry that enjoy conversations on innovation and creativity.

What was the main objective of the TIPP podcast? 
The podcast was created to initiate conversation around creativity and innovation within the meetings and events industry and inspire our audience to look at things from different angles, all while providing some laughs and insight into the creative minds of our industry.

What was different about TIPP podcast compared to others industry podcast? 
The intent was always not to give tips and tricks and trends in the industry, but rather to give a behind the scenes look at our guests. We always liked the dynamic of our differing perspectives, coming from 3 major Canadian cities and career backgrounds. Our mission is to try to identify what makes events professional think the way they do and what makes them tick. We want to uncover their true passion and motivation and get to know our guests on a more intimate level.

What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome? 
I would say that starting a podcast: the title, the theme song, the logo, etc… from scratch was a big challenge. Everything was and still is done in-house. We had to learn all about the editing process and become full on audio producers. We maintain full creative control, which is both exciting and daunting at times. We kept each other in-check and even have a long-standing group chat where we constantly debated concepts, ideas and scheduling.

The podcast was initially planned to be consumed during people’s commutes and travelling to and from live events but we had to quickly shift our conversation and be sensitive to an audience that in large part was not even working. We keep the podcast light, fun and an overall positive vibe.
David Usher

What was your biggest success? 
We like to shoot for the stars and were excited to land a guest who the three of us are superfans of - David Usher. We all loved his music growing up (and still do), and now his work in the creative space and AI. We reached out to him on a whim and he agreed to come on the show. It was definitely one of our top highlights, but we really do enjoy all of our guests, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it.

Did you do anything new or innovative? If so, how did it go? 
Initially, during season one, we launched an audio podcast but for season two, we’ve now added a video component. Not everyone was commuting or travelling anymore and consuming more content at home. In season two people can now tune into YouTube for video versions. We never wanted to sound like other podcasts and steered away from traditional interview format, so we also created a number of fun segments to keep things light and engaging while also trying to get a different side of our guests. They include our “Crazy 8’s”, “Food on the Floor, 5 Second Rule”, “Temporary or Transformational”, and “Buzzword Bingo”, all of which have their own little musical interlude.

What challenges did you have to put the features together? 
The entire podcast: developing, editing, recording was done virtually from three different cities. We were never in the same room, having conversations and collaborating. Sometimes it was hard to keep going and to stay motivated over virtual calls when, as we know, events professionals thrive from face-to-face interactions.

Communication with each another during the podcast was also a challenge. Most podcast have one co-host but, in ours we have three. We developed strategies around that and patiently try not to interrupt each other. This included Zoom chat functionality and full episode pre-plans, where we all took the lead on different aspects. Yet we made sure we didn’t script out full episodes, we wanted the content to be authentic and somewhat raw.

TIPP Talks

What is coming up for 2022? 
Our plans are to grow our TIPP Talks product, which is a fully customizable podcast – in audio and video format - where we work with our clients to enhance their events, including interviews with key stakeholders such as company executives, keynote speakers, and sponsors. We lead the behind-the-scenes type conversations and take care of all of the production elements. It is also a neat way to integrate mixed media and drive post-pandemic revenue through new potential sponsorships, especially those looking for a unique exposure opportunity.

Last Words
The TIPP trio will continue to evolve, we don’t settle for the status quo. We have some exciting initiatives in the works for 2022, many of which revolve around the return of live events and our industry’s bounce back. More to come…

Elodie Lortal Article compiled by Elodie Lortal, National Arts Centre | Centre national des Arts: My Company | LinkedIn

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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