Alicia Jenelle Events is a full-service corporate and social event planning firm based in Toronto, Canada. We are known for executing best in class brand experiences, social and corporate events, event management, and staffing solutions for PR agencies and brands worldwide. From upscale galas and executive dinners to national product launches and webcasts, our team is a true extension of our clients and partners.
Alicia Jenelle is the Creative Director and Lead Event Producer for Alicia Jenelle Events. With almost 10 years of experience, Alicia’s fun and collaborative approach to planning corporate events, social galas, weddings, and other notable experiences have brought her much media attention. Her work has been featured in The Globe & Mail, Canadian Meetings & Events Expo, Meetings & Conventions, Bizbash, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global, Wedluxe, Elegant Wedding Magazine, Wedding Chicks, Event Source, Narcity’s Top 18 Event Planners in Toronto, among many other media outlets.
Motivated by her love for people, art, and life, she started Alicia Jenelle Events! Alicia and her team are truly committed to creating a dynamic experience that enhances your brand story and reduces the pressures and stress associated with planning an event.
How long has your company been producing events? What is your main focus?
Our female-led and run team has produced events for 8+ years. We specialize in Logistics and Event Management for Corporate and Social Events, and typically function as an extension of Brands, Marketing, and PR agencies. Our main focus is on purpose. So every space and experience we create is with intention.
What do you enjoy most about your role in corporate event planning?
I love the creative development process. Collaborating with clients to create a visual and emotional representation of their purpose is so fun for me. The clients we work with typically allow us to have a large portion of creative control, so we often have day-long brainstorming sessions going through the large and small details of what will make our client’s event unique to them – with a deep focus on purpose. This part of the planning process reminds me of my youth and brings a nostalgic feeling for me because there is a strong sense of freedom when you have the ability to create something special – especially when your clients entrust you to do that. It’s for that reason, that I love the creative development portion of corporate event planning.
How do you keep up with the constant change in the industry?
I stay connected with industry partners, friends, and current and past clients. There is always something new to learn. We live in the age of information, so we are privileged to access resources that are mostly now available at our fingertips. I truly enjoy this age, because it allows me to build relationships with colleagues and clients from around the world.
One of the positive things that have come up as part of the pandemic, is the increased sharing of information – and free information at that. I can’t tell you how many webinars, virtual meetings, chat sessions, etc. that my team has taken part in since the pandemic. It’s been a great learning curve, that I hope continues to grow in the future.
Do you have any advice for a company having a hard time choosing a theme? Is a theme necessary?
I wholeheartedly believe that a theme is a necessary element of a successful event. A theme does not need to be a tacky concept that most people may imagine. In my eyes, a theme is really how you represent the events’ purpose. For example, if the purpose of the event is to network, then networking can be your theme. Build your event elements around the five senses of what they see, smell, taste, touch, and hear, and connect each of them with networking.
A couple of examples of this could be, having the food created in a never-seen-before way or making it interactive, that way it sparks a conversation between attendees. Name badges could categorize the attendees into different groups that they have to search for and connect with throughout the day. There are so many ways you can bring a theme to fruition, without it looking too “theme-y”.
What are some ways to personalize a corporate event?
There are a number of ways you can personalize a corporate event. Two key ways we leverage are through the attendee’s schedule and stationary. During event registration, we like to provide attendees with multiple options for activities and workshops that they can partake in. Where possible, we encourage our clients to provide mandatory and optional content, that way the attendee can curate the experience they actually want. This provides enhanced networking and learning opportunities because the attendees are able to select what they are genuinely interested in.
We also leverage stationary to create event personalization. Through mediums such as custom name badges, place cards, swag, and mailed invitations, our clients can speak directly to each individual guest, allowing for a personalized experience.
What do you see as the corporate event industry’s greatest challenge, currently?
During an event, people want to have genuine in-person connections. With the pandemic, it has brought so many limitations that just does not allow that. As a result, the corporate events industry is forced to shift to the online space to find genuine ways to connect people while maintaining the level of purpose experienced in an in-person event. It’s difficult. There’s no way you can emulate the 5 senses guests experience at an in-person event, in an online platform.
As such, the corporate event industry is going to have to get even more creative to find solutions that will help businesses, and people stay connected organically. This is a big challenge, but We’ll figure it out! It will take time and a lot of trial and error, though as we continue to share our learning with each other, we’ll get to the other side – whatever that may look like.
What is your favorite city for events and why?
I love hosting events in Toronto. The beauty of that city is that there are so many different experiences you can have. If you want a city feeling for your event, you can book a space that has city views. If you’re looking for more of a country feel, there are some hidden gems that can provide that experience, even right off the lake. The city is diverse in culture, weather, experiences, and people, so all of the vendors you hire will also be a reflection of that. All in all, it’s a wonderful city, and definitely one of my top cities to manage events in.
How do you measure the success of an event?
At the beginning of our collaborative planning process with our brands or industry partners, we develop KPI’s (key performance indicators). A KPI is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company – or in this case – an event is achieving key event objectives. Our team then takes this away and brainstorms activities and elements we can bring to fruition that we believe will help achieve our clients’ objectives.
Once agreed upon with our clients, we then decide on tools that will be used to determine the success. Sometimes the tool is something objective, like sales, and a post-event survey, and sometimes it can include or can be solely objective, like the smiles on guests’ faces, high level of interactivity from guests, etc. It truly depends on the purpose of the event.