Ignite

Sept/Oct 2014

A fresh resource for people who plan and manage meetings, events, business travel, promotions and incentive programs. Providing you with inspiration, guidance and great ideas.

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30 | Ignitemag.ca | September | October 2014 When crises struck, here's how some quick-thinking planners helped save the day—and the event by Michele Sponagle When crises struck, here's how some When crises struck, here's how some quick-thinking planners helped save quick-thinking planners helped save the day—and the event the day—and the event by Michele Sponagle by Michele Sponagle Normally, Nicole Langille, president of Free People Communications + Events in Halifax, doesn't obsessively listen to weather reports; but in March 2014, she did. In just a few days, she expected more than 450 guests, chefs from across Canada and senior UNICEF staff to fly in for the annual Chefs for UNICEF Water for Life Gala. She had spent nearly a year lining up top culinary talent and nailing down every detail. Mother Nature had different plans. A major snowstorm, predicted to be one of the biggest in decades, was headed for the city. "Two days before the event, the planning committee sat down to discuss our options," recalls Langille. "We looked at how much money would be lost if we pushed ahead. We looked at the weather reports again. We looked at many scenarios, but what really mattered was Storm Trooper ensuring that people remain safe. This storm was going to be bad, so we made the difficult decision to postpone the event." Then, every ticket holder had to be notified and planning began anew. Fortunately, the venue allowed a switch to a new date without any additional fees. With the new date, an additional 40 people attended and more than $304,000 was raised. LESSONS LEARNED: "It was important that everyone was treated as part of the team. My personal relationships with suppliers and a strong, experienced event committee really helped us get through the crisis. I kept calm and trusted my team. We were all in this together," says Langille. Masters of disaster

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