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Overall Excellence Chapter Award



Unveiling the Magic Behind the Scenes of the 2023 MPI Prix Prestige Awards

By: Jenny Dao-D'Angelo | Feb 29, 2024

Every year the MPI Ottawa Prix Prestige Awards sets the stage to celebrate excellence and highlight industry leaders in our community. The glamour and success of the event is the result of the meticulous planning and dedication of countless volunteers who work tirelessly behind the scenes. They go above and beyond their regular jobs to make it all seamlessly come together. Let’s explore the significant efforts that go into its creation:


 1. Vision and Strategy 
Finding volunteers is always cumbersome so we needed to be strategic at the planning stages to ensure we had a full committee to carry the workload equally. Months before the event (January 2023), Brent Beatty, Committee Director, Rebecca Narr, Committee Co-Chair and I met to brainstorm our wish list of dedicated volunteers. As a result, we personally invited individual MPI Ottawa members to be a part of the team. We put the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Working with the framework from the 2022 Awards, the Co-chairs and Director set a vision, defined goals, and outlined the strategic steps needed to achieve a memorable and impactful evening. Each of the co-chairs took responsibility for half of the subcommittees and never crossed their lanes. We trusted each other.

Beatty took the role of ensuring that deadlines were met and was the liaison between our committee and the board. At our first committee meeting, we defined each other's roles and set the ground rules on how we would communicate. Basecamp was established as the tool we would use to house all our documents and “To-Do’s”, eliminating micromanagement.

We hosted an all-team meeting every week to check in and share updates. The co-chairs then took the information from Basecamp and updated tasks in their respective subcommittees as needed. The Directors and Co-chairs met every 2-3 weeks, or as necessary, to assess the project's status and re-adjust as necessary.

2. Theme and Design
The committee defined the theme for the Prix Prestige Awards as an “Awards celebration” and set the color tones of Red, Black, and Gold. All subcommittees then kept this in mind when creating assets or making overall visuals for the awards.

The theme truly set the tone, guiding the aesthetics for décor, lighting, attire, marketing, designs, and overall ambiance for the evening. In terms of color psychology, red and gold symbolize good fortune and prosperity, resonating with the event’s purpose—celebrating excellence.

3. Selection of the Masters of Ceremonies (MC)
Diversity and Equity – It was incredibly important to the committee that the event’s MCs, Bruce Landry and Marye Ménard-Bos, CMP, CMM, DES) were representative of our local community.

Language – The script for the evening was presented in both official languages, English and French, to be more inclusive.

Rapport - We made sure our MC selections would have chemistry together and they knew our members so they would include and talk with the audience, not just talk at them.

Community – We knew that having representation of both a Past President and an Incoming President would engage and inspire members from within the community. 

4. Venue Selection & Challenges
Choosing the right venue was critical. After deciding on a venue, we working on finalizing the actual costs of outside catering and the expenses that came with it, we decided to pull the plug. After two months of hard work, we backtracked on plans and set out to find the “correct” venue for our event. Factors such as budget, capacity, accessibility, and atmosphere were all re-considered and we selected The Westin Ottawa as the venue. Next came logistics — planning the layout, stage design, seating arrangements, and ensuring all technical requirements were met for a flawless event execution.

5. New Award Categories
Both Co-chairs and the Director of the Awards Committee wanted to shake things up this year. After several brainstorming meetings they developed the criteria for 3 new award categories they proposed to be introduced this year. These were presented to the board and met with a vote of confidence, reflecting the openness and innovation of the MPI Ottawa Board of Directors to keep things fresh:

2023 Award Categories:

  • NEW - New Member of the year
  • NEW - Emerging Leader of the Year
  • NEW - Innovation Award
  • Volunteer of the Year
  • Mentor of the Year
  • Supplier of the Year
  • Planner of the Year

Awards Recipients:

6. Sponsors & Partnerships
We’d like to thank our sponsors. Your generous support helps bring our visions to life, and we are so grateful.

Securing sponsors and partnerships was crucial for the success of the event. The sponsorship subcommittee worked tirelessly alongside the Director of Partnerships to connect with potential sponsors, outlining the benefits of supporting the 2023 Prix Prestige Awards. The committee leveraged its connections to secure financial and in-kind support to enhance the event experience for all attendees.

As a Chapter, we rely on the revenue generated from our signature events to keep the Chapter afloat and cover our annual expenses. The sponsorships secured for this event helped to elevate the Chapter in a positive fiscal state financially for the first year since Covid!  

7. Marketing & Promotions
It was extremely beneficial to have three members of the MPI Ottawa Chapter Social Media Committee on our Prix Prestige Awards Marketing Committee. They were familiar with the landscape, process, and workflow and guided us to ensure we had proper lead time to build the content, and have it approved and posted online in a timely fashion. To improve the 2023 event experience we also incorporated past feedback from membership touchpoint calls into our planning.

2023 MPI Gala Planning Committee
They say it takes a village, and boy, did we ever have THE village! Our committee members each had a distinct skill that didn’t overlap with others. Like a puzzle coming together seamlessly. Every committee member came to the table, leveraged their networks, and showcased their skills. They made this event larger than life.

Brent Beatty, CASE – Director
Jenny Dao - Co-Chair
Rebecca Narr - Co-Chair

Allyson Tonelli
Annick Hector
Disa Cameron
Emily McKay
Erin Bellwood
Greg Plazek
Heather Lockwood, CMP
Julie Clement
Michel Kafrouny, CAE
Nick Litt
Sarah Landry, CMP
Steven Lacelle

In Conclusion
The Prix Prestige Awards are a culmination of months of hard work, collaboration, and passion. The behind-the-scenes efforts are a true reflection of the event industry's dedication to creating memorable and remarkable experiences. As attendees enjoy the glitz and glamour of the evening, it's important to recognize and appreciate the incredible work that goes into planning and executing an event of this magnitude.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of you, our MPI Ottawa Chapter membership. Your presence at this momentous event and your continued support for our chapter is what keeps us going. We hope to see all of you again later this year in 2024.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Cynthia Headshot  Article edited by Cynthia Beaudin, Canada Foundation for Innovation



Jenny D. headshot
Jenny Dao-D'Angelo
Business Development Manager at Tourism Saskatoon

Jenny Dao-D’Angelo | LinkedIn at Tourism Saskatoon: Overview | LinkedIn


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