Can you tell us why you love Edmonton and getting to build your business in this city?
Edmonton has afforded me and my family so many opportunities, I know that the path I am on is so strongly rooted in the remarkable people, businesses, events, and undertakings this city has to offer. I’ll be honest, the first few years here were challenging, in large part due to climate and the fact that I was far away from my family and network I had in the Okanagan. I have absolutely grown to love this city, the people, the community, the culture and experiences, and opportunity for anyone willing to seize it!
I think the entrepreneurial spirit and support in Edmonton is what inspired and encouraged me in building my business. When you can connect with so many unreal people that are out conquering their goals and truly supporting one another along the way, how can you not be inspired to go for your own?! Endless support, encouragement, and building community have been such important parts of my journey so far and I know will be integral in my success moving forward.
What made you go into the event planning business?
If I had to sum it up in one word it would be love. I love everything about event planning, the details, all the moving pieces, the creativity, the pressure, the ability to build and curate an experience, the love of connecting the brand to the event to elevate it to the next level; honestly every part of it! It is something I have loved for so many years, something I wanted to do over a decade ago, but to be honest, chickened out at trying. I wasn’t about to let another 10 years pass and always wonder what if I had tried. I used to think that getting lost in your work, finding that state of flow, was a made up feeling. This is the first time in my life I am excited to wake up and work every day, this is how I know I’m doing what I’m meant to do.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process and what inspires you with your business?
My creative process all starts with connection: connection with the client, connection with their business and vision, and what is at the core of their existence. From this point of connection I am able to create an event experience that completely elevates my clients brand with their market. My client relationships always start off with an in depth meeting where we can really talk and connect and I can get an understanding of who they are and why they do what they do. From here I put together an event concept as a starting point for the client to review, incorporating brand elements throughout the entire event experience. I do this to build a picture in their mind so they know what they can expect from the event. From here, I incorporate any changes the client wants to see and then I am off and running. Their brand and vision is at the core of all of the decisions and elements of the event, everything has a purpose to curate an unforgettable event.
Did you always love event planning, or was there a certain moment that made you decide to pursue it as your career?
I have loved it really for as long as I can remember. Looking back I was always planning things, my family may say I was bossing people around, but I like to think of it as being organized and bringing everything together! Like I mentioned above I had wanted to start my own event planning business over a decade ago, but I never took the plunge. It kept coming back to me and it has always been something that fired me up and made my heart skip a beat when I even saw the words. I didn’t want to live with regret of wondering "what if", so I had to go for it. We have so many working years in our lives, we should be doing something that makes us happy and leaves us feeling fulfilled.
When you think of someone full of passion for what they do, who comes to mind and why?
Oh gosh, I am honestly so fortunate to know so many people who are full of passion for what they do, I think being surrounded by this is what continued to fuel my courage to take my own leap. To name a few: Nicole Bird of RSVP Design, Andrea Beca of Andrea Beca Work and That’s so Maven, and Lorna Mutegyeki of Msichana. These women pour their heart and soul into what they do and live their values both personally and professionally. I have so much admiration for them.
If someone came up to you and asked you for advice on where to start with chasing their dreams, what would you tell them?
My first piece of advice would be to believe in yourself and know that you are enough. Trust that your love and passion for your dream has meaning and you should listen to it. Start it on the side if you can, get a feel for what this dream feels like as a career and see if you are still fueled by it; you could even volunteer your services to test it out! Once you make the decision start putting yourself out there, attend events and be confident! You will be humbled by the amount of support and genuine care and willingness to help that exists in our incredible city!
How would you describe your style?
Is it allowed for me to say I have two styles? At home and in daily life I would say casual, but professionally I strive for sophisticated elegance.
If you could have anyone's closet, who would it be?
Meghan Markle hands down!
If you could only wear one single outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Keeping in line with Meghan Markle, think Rachel in Suits, a high waisted skirt with tucked in blouse and high heels. Although this outfit doesn’t scream comfort, it is something I feel very confident in and I want to carry that confidence all the time!
What's your favourite DUVAL bag?
I’ve had my eye on the Meraki Cross Body in blush pink; but that Meraki Shoulder Bag 2.0 in blush pink is gorgeous!!
Where can we find you? Social media, website etc.
You can find me on Instagram and Facebook @thevirtualeffect
My website is www.thevirtualeffect.com
Do you have any events coming up we should know about?
Elevate: A Pursuit of Fair Fashion
Open to everyone!
I also host a women’s networking event each month for which there is no cost to attend, I only ask for a donation for my community partner WIN House. The events are always posted on my website and registration is available through Eventbrite (search up The Virtual Effect presents: Elevate).
Images by Lady Luck Studios