Power Education Day

Thank you for attending CAEM's Power Education Day on Thursday, November 19th. We hope you found the event inspirational and that you are challenging yourself to rethink and transform your current and future events. Our three awe-inspiring keynotes left us with influential takeaways that we can all use. Our breakout sessions provided authentic advice and guidance from those experiencing and embracing the changes that have arisen.

To see photos from the event, please click here.

10:45 am - 10:50 am - Welcome to Power Education Day

Welcome remarks by the CAEM President, Bianca Kennedy, Event Co-Chairs, Kelly Antonaros, CEM and Mikey Singer, CEM and from Event Sponsor, Laura Purdy CEM, CMM, Exhibition Place.

10:50 am - 11:15 am - CAEM Industry Update with Crestview Strategy

A conversation with CAEM’s new public affairs firm, Crestview Strategy and CAEM’s President, Bianca Kennedy. This session will share insights on the public affairs landscape and context the industry is facing (specifically as it relates to CAEM’s objective of lobbying government for sector-specific funding), and how we propose to navigate this landscape in the coming months, in order to secure some relief and support for the exhibition sector.

Jason Clark, Senior Consultant, Crestview Strategy 

Jason has a specific background in campaign mobilization, advocacy and government relations. His experience provides clients with a full range of tools, from strategic planning to connecting with decision-makers to public communications, to advance policy objectives and achieve results. Since arriving in Ottawa he has worked work a wide range of Canadian Non-profit organizations on international development and trade issues. Previously, Jason managed one of the largest public engagement campaigns on climate change, energy and sustainability in Great Britain. Jason has also worked with female entrepreneurs and social enterprises in Lesotho, Africa.

Bianca Kennedy, CAEM President

Bianca has cemented her reputation as an experience-maker, community-builder and growth-engineer. Her profession – and her passion – is to develop, manage and transform event marketplaces into dynamic and profitable platforms, where companies and brands can connect, and sell their products and services, to their target audience.

As Show Manager of the Motorcycle Shows, she has infused these events with new energy and creative enthusiasm, introducing new features, social media programs, PR initiatives and more. By focusing on attracting and building new target audiences for these shows, she has successfully shifted audience demographics and boosted visitor attendance. Over her 20-year career, Bianca has run shows across the country, building an incredible network of suppliers and partners, across all facets of the industry. As the recipient of Member of the Year from the Canadian Association of Exposition Managers (CAEM), Bianca was recognized by her peers for her outstanding achievements as an industry ambassador and champion. Praised for her energy, creativity and drive, Bianca will be assuming the role of President of the Board of Directors in June 2020.

11:15 am - 12:00 pm - From Chaos to Composure

Introduction By: Lorenz Hassenstein, President & CEO, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

When chaos strikes, that’s when the real “pros” show up. We are in a moment of chaos, and now is our time to lead with purpose, and rethink and recalibrate our actions to meet the opportunities waiting for us post COVID-19. Drawing on his expertise, Ron Tite will share his leadership philosophy to help businesses successfully navigate chaos and come out the other side, stronger.

Ron Tite, Speaker, Author, CEO

Relevant, engaging, and interactive, Ron Tite exceeds expectations each and every time he takes the stage. Named one of the “Top 10 Creative Canadians” by Marketing Magazine, he’s been an award-winning advertising writer and creative director for some of the world’s most respected brands, including Air France, Evian, Hershey, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, Intel, Microsoft, and Volvo. Addressing a variety of topics surrounding branding, corporate strategy, creativity, content, and social media, Tite’s presentations are not only information-packed, they’re also infused with his unique humour–guaranteed to have you laughing while you learn.

Currently, Tite is the founder of Church+State, a content marketing agency based in Toronto. His work has been recognized by The London International Advertising Awards, The New York Festivals of Advertising, The Crystals, The Extras, The Canadian Marketing Association, and The Marketing Awards, to name just a few. Tite is also executive producer and host of the Canadian Comedy Award-winning show Monkey Toast, and publisher of the award-winning and bestselling humour book, This is That Travel Guide to Canada, with CBC Radio’s hit show, This is That.

12:00 pm - 12:15 pm - Sponsor & Networking Break

Connect and catch up with your industry colleagues.

12:15 pm - 1:00 pm - A Candid Conversation on the Digital Event Strategist Designation

Learn more about the Digital Event Strategist Designation and all it entails including key takeways, the value of the course and why it’s important to continue your education and invest in yourself.

Caitlin O’Malley, DES 

Moderator: Kseniya Dekker, CEM


Caitlin O’Malley, DES is passionate about digital events and creating meaningful education experiences. She has been with PCMA since 2015 in the education department, planning session content for both digital and face-to-face events. Caitlin produces PCMA webinars, courses, and the hybrid broadcast of PCMA’s major annual meetings, Convening Leaders and Education Conference. Prior to joining PCMA, Caitlin taught kindergarten after earning her education degree from DePaul University.

Kseniya Dekker, CEM is a passionate Event Professional with over 7 years’ experience in the events industry specializing in corporate, conference and tradeshows. She is in the process of obtaining her DES designation (Digital Event Strategist) to help more effectively plan and produce live stream and digital events. With her vibrant personality and “can do” attitude, Kseniya will always go the extra mile to ensure a memorable experience that exceeds expectations for all.

12:15 pm - 1:00 pm - Taking Your Event from Live to Virtual: A Pioneer's Insight On One of the World's Largest Tech Conferences - Collision

Mike and his team were on of the first to do it! Go on a journey of the process of transitioning the Collision conference from a live to virtual event.

Dr. Mike Sexton, Chief Marketing & Technical Officer, Web Summit

Dr. Mike Sexton is the Chief Marketing Technology Officer for Web Summit, where he first started as a data scientist back in 2014. Prior to his position as CMTO, he was the VP of Marketing and Analytics and before that was the Head of Insight, Strategy and Growth. Mike studied physics and computer simulation at Trinity College Dublin, with a semester spent abroad at Universität Potsdam in Germany. He also holds a PhD in Physics from Trinity College Dublin, specializing in complex fluid dynamics.

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm - Sponsorship: A People Business

What do sponsors want post-pandemic, and in the current climate? Sharing his resilience, and reinvention on Sponsorship and Partnerships, Mark will discuss the keys to a successful partnership in this unprecedented time. Be inspired to look within yourself, your events and company to reevaluate your value proposition to focus on new values, attitudes, and priorities to bring more value to your sponsors and audiences.

Mark Harrison, Founder, T1 Agency

Mark wants to change the world, for the better. And with over 30 years of experience-driven sponsorship and marketing expertise, he has learned how strategically thoughtful storytelling can engage, influence and motivate audiences in immeasurable ways.

Today, Mark is the Founder and CEO of The T1 Agency, a marketing agency that pride themselves on their thinking first approach. Founder of SponsorshipX, Mark connects the global sponsorship and marketing community through curated content, sessions, and immersive experiences. More recently, Mark has become an Advisor for Humanity, a creative marketing agency based in Toronto that aims to put behavioural and social sciences at the core of its integrated offerings.

Mark is also passionate about empowering the youth of today. This has led him to start the Black Talent Initiative, an organization that empowers black people to enter and succeed in the sponsorship and marketing industry. In 2020, Mark began Park Street, an innovative elementary school that offers affordable and experience-based education in a new virtual landscape. As an author, Mark has most recently written What Sponsors Want, a novel that offers a practical view of the future of Sponsorship..

1:45 pm - 2:00 pm - Sponsor & Networking Break

Connect and catch up with your industry colleagues.

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm - Brutally Honest Reviews of Virtual Events - Lessons Learned by Event Producers

Although this time has given suppliers a great opportunity to improve and upgrade their onsite services in anticipation of a safe return to in-person events, with solutions like more precise contact tracing and attendance monitoring, it is clear a more immediate solution is required to bridge this gap, and keep our industry working through the pandemic.

We all know that no two events are alike, and depending on where your dates fell on the annual schedule, it’s almost a guarantee that your conversations around moving to a virtual event solution took a few turns over the past couple of weeks and months.

Whether you had to jump right into a virtual solution to try and avoid major refunds and cancellations with committed event partners and exhibitors, or if you got your live event in right before everything closed and now find yourself with almost a full year to plan your virtual environment, event producers are eager to learn from each other on the best ways to accomplish a virtual event.

Janice Leung, Show Director, One of a Kind Show (Informa)
Amy Ruddell, Vice President, Business Unit, MacGregor Communications
Keri MacIvor, Virtual Sales & Event Specialist, Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association
Kandrix Foong, Founder, Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon Comic & Entertainment Expo
Judy Sharpe, Vice President Events & Member Engagement, Canadian Health Food Association
Moderator: Kyle Dugan, CEM, Senior Event Coordination, Conexsys Registration Ltd.

Janice Leung is an event professional with a passion to create innovative and transformative experiences. A lifelong student with interests in retail trends, consumer behaviours and everyday technologies.

Amy Ruddell oversees the North American portfolio of ProjectWorld, ProjectSummit, BusinessAnalystWorld conferences, along with the Administrative Professionals Conference of Canada. Continually developing deep relationships with a wide range of partners, clients and support staff, Amy also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of Project Times and Business Analyst Times, globally recognized educational portals for project professionals. Holding several significant portfolios for more than a decade, Amy balances intuition and strategy with interpersonal connections that earn trust, attract business and expand opportunities.

Keri MacIvor has over 17 years experience in major event planning including trade shows and galas, virtual event planning, graphic design, sales, marketing, volunteer management and fundraising. Keri started with the amazing Landscape Ontario team in March 2019 after moving back home from living on the east coast for 10 years., She jumped right in with the Show Team to start planning for the Congress 2020 Trade Show and Conference! What an incredible experience! Fast forward to March 2020, in the beginning of COVID, it was a time to pivot. Keri organized and hosted 28 webinars in 36 days and then jumped right in to start planning and learning all about virtual events in preparation for our first virtual Trade Show and Conference Snowposium in a matter of a month and a half. Since Covid put a halt on the live event, Keri and the Show team at Landscape Ontario have switched gears to plan and organize Congress Connect 2021 Virtual Experience!

Kandrix Fong is the Founder and Event Director of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. Kandrix understands the connection between innovation and technology. As the Calgary Expo attracted over 85,000 attendees annually, he expanded his reach to Edmonton and Saskatoon, establishing successful comin-con style events unique to each market. To better serve these events, Kandrix co-created Epic Photo Ops, a high-speed photography platform that now serves conventions around the world, including South Africa, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. His most recent endeavour, a Virtual Event Logistics (VEL), produces a 3D show floor that provides an immersive convention experience for online events. The technology debuted at Lightbox Expo, an event celebrating the very best in the animation and art industries. The event grew from 9,000 attendee to over 29,000 attendees in 2020. The platform has been featured in Forbes and The Hollywood Reporter.

Judy Sharpe has more than 30 years experience in the events industry. Judy has developed expertise in all aspects of conference and trade show development and production. A consummate professional, she has provided leadership for some of the preeminent trade shows in Canada through her expertise in marketing, sales and operations. In her newest role with CHFA, she is charged with developing the strategy for the Association’s events as well as ensuring strong member satisfaction and retention.

Kyle Dugan, CEM grew up around trade shows and events. With over 15 years of experience, working on events of all shapes and sizes and witnessing, first-hand, how technology has evolved to shape and influence our industry, Kyle finds motivation and inspiration in the ‘people’ of our business! While we have been forced to pause our in-person events for the foreseeable future, it’s promising to see the the industry is coming together and finding ways to keep their attendees, members and customers engaged and informed. As a senior event coordinator with CONEXSYS, Kyle works with event producers from start to finish on every aspect of their event registration.

CONEXSYS is North America’s most agile Registration and Lead Retrieval provider, and our programming team has been hard at work preparing our systems and services for a safe return to in-person events when the time comes. In the meantime, we have worked with our customers to take their 2020 and 2021 events virtual in a way that engages attendees and stakeholders without breaking the bank!

2:00 pm - 2:45 pm - Lead thru Uncertainty! 20 Ways to Inspire and Elevate Your Events Program

Change is happening- at light speed. Circumstances – with COVID, the economy, online engagement, live/hybrid gatherings – are ever changing and challenging. What to do then? Be agile, adapt, and think improv – taking what you know and responding with verve, inspiration and (when appropriate) humor! We will share trends, ideas, and peer-generated advice to keep you forging new paths.

David Saef, CTSM – SVP, Strategy, Freeman

David is a leader of Freeman’s strategy advisory practice to association executives, board members, event organizers and corporate marketers. David has directed engagements to support association and event strategies, audience/member research and acquisition, event experience design (live/online/hybrid), sponsorship strategy and activation, and growth strategies. Clients include Radiological Society of North America, California Dental Association, AVIXA, National Association of Broadcasters, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, & McDonalds.

2:45 pm - 3:00 pm - Sponsor & Networking Break

Connect and catch up with your industry colleagues.

3:00 pm - 3:45 pm - The Future Outlook of the Exposition Industry: An Economic & Tourism Perspective and How to Plan Effectively

No one can see into the future with certainty, but many questions what the future holds for the trade, consumer exposition industry. Our events act as the intersection between commerce and communication. The desire to connect in large groups is a universal human need. Modern society is built on the assumption that we will gather to meet at events, to collaborate, to learn, to celebrate, be entertained, socialize, protest, govern and worship. Today, more than ever, Canada’s exposition and events sector are facing new challenges. Active and collaborative participation from all aspects in the city’s economic ecosystem is crucial for the Canadian economy. Join the conversation to hear from four industry champions about their plan to mobilize a movement towards accelerating the economic and visitor recovery and transformation planning of our sector post-pandemic.

Opening Remarks: Scott Ventresca, Destination Toronto
Laura Purdy, CEM, CMM, General Manager, Exhibition Place
Sonia Moffat, CEM, General Manager, Freeman
Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist, CIBC World Markets
Andrew Weir, EVP Destination Development (Destination Toronto)
Moderator: Julie Pike, Director, Canadian Events, SME

Scott Ventresca has been with Destination Toronto now for over 14 years. His Role as Director of Canada and International Congress for the Bureau is to drive new business into the city from Canada and around the world. As a member of many National and International Organizations Scott has sat on the Board of Directors for MPI for 4 years and now sits on MPI’s EMEA Council (Europe, Middle East, Africa) since 2018. He is also an active member of PCMA, CSAE ICCA and IAPCO. Prior to his sales role with Destination Toronto Scott worked for Accor Hotel’s and began his career in the Operations side of the industry handling the execution of large scale events for Vintage Inns in Niagara-on-the-Lake and overseeing operations of Food and Beverage at Canadian Tire Arena (Ottawa Senators) in Ottawa. A College Graduate and avid public speaker and ambassador for the great city of Toronto Scott has received several accolades over the years including Top Sales North America for Accor Hotel’s, The President’s Award for Destination Toronto and Supplier of the Year for MPI.

Laura Purdy, CEM, CMM is the General Manager of Exhibition Place; where she began her career in the exhibition and convention industry by opening the Enercare Convention Centre over 23 years ago. A strategic thinker and problem solver; Laura’s expertise in marketing, communications, business development and event operations contributes to her customer-centric leadership style. Her enthusiasm and commitment to the industry of live Business Events has led to her participation on several national and international industry associations. She is a Board member of the Convention Centres of Canada, and a member of the Humber College HTOM Advisory Board. Laura is a proud Board member and Secretary of CAEM. She has been married for a really long time, is a proud mom to a 19-year old son and is known to travel with her yoga mat everywhere she goes.

Sonia Moffat, CEM is the General Manager, Freeman Canada whose passion is the world of face-to-face marketing. With more than 30 years of experience in the event industry Sonia is committed to work with customers, vendors and partners to connect people in meaningful ways. Sonia has been a member of CAEM since starting in the industry, has served on, and chaired numerous committees over the years. She is currently once again serving on the Board of Directors Sonia is a recipient of the CAEM Member of the Year, Associate and CAEM Hall of Fame Associate Award.

Benjamin Tal is responsible for analyzing economic developments and their implications for North American fixed income, equity, foreign exchange and commodities markets. Benjamin also acts in an advisory capacity to bank officers on issues related to wealth management, household/corporate credit and risk. Well-known for his ground-breaking published research on topics such as labour market dynamics, real estate, credit markets, international trade and business economic conditions, Benjamin not only contributes to the conversation, but frequently sets the agenda. Benjamin has close to 20 years’ experience in the private sector advising clients, industry leaders, corporate boards, trade associations, and governments on economic and financial issues. National and global media regularly seek him out for his insight and analysis on economic issues that impact financial markets, consumers, corporations and public policy.

Andrew Weir – In his 15 years with Destination (Tourism) Toronto, Andrew has held several executive roles including Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President. Currently he leads the organization’s work in Destination Development, forging stronger connections between the sector and government and the broader business community.

Julie Pike is director of Canadian Events for SME, the professional association committed to advancing manufacturing and developing a skilled workforce. She has been with SME in events management for over 13 years, first serving as event manager, then director of Canadian events. Before SME, Pike was a human resources manager for Reed Exhibitions Canada. She holds a bachelor’s degree with honours in psychology from the University of Guelph. In addition, Pike has served on several CAEM committees including the Board of Directors where she served in the role of President (2005/2006).

3:45 pm - 4:00 pm - Closing Remarks

Closing remarks by the CAEM President, Bianca Kennedy and from Event Sponsor, Laura Purdy CEM, CMM, Exhibition Place.

Did you know by participating in Power Education Day, you were eligible for up to 6.75 CEM re-certification credits? That means you could obtain more than one third of the re-certification credits in one day of top-notch education.

CAEM is pleased to announce that Power Education Day credits has been approved for .75 a session. For attending the “live” event, you have earned a maximum of 5.25 credits. To receive the remaining credits you must watch the concurrent sessions that you would have missed. Stay tuned for the recordings.

Didn’t get a chance to attend the 2019 event? See the CAEM Power Education Day 2019 recap video here.

If you have any questions, the office will be happy to assist you. Please contact Jennifer Allaby, CAEM Executive Director at 416-787-9377 or [email protected]

2019 Power Education Day

The 2019 Power Education Day was hosted on Thursday, October 3rd at the Beanfield Centre and was CAEM’s first live streamed event! We hope you were inspired by our outstanding program and were able to spark some creativity and shift your perspective so you can elevate and transform your future events! View the photo gallery from the 2019 Power Education Day here.

Didn’t get a chance to attend the 2019 event? See the CAEM Power Education Day 2019 recap video here.

2020 CAEM Power Education Day Sponsors