21 Jul Celebrating 15 Years with Jocelyn Flanagan
15 Years Later …
July 21 2001 – Now
As I sit here reminiscing on the past 15 years of “e”, I do so with a big smile on my face and am filled with a lot of pride. It feels as though these 15 years have passed in a blink of an eye. However, as I think through the years and look back at the many great events we have produced, friends we have made and milestones we have achieved it is hard to imagine that it has been only 15 years!
What started as a mere idea at 2:00pm on a Wednesday afternoon, turned into incorporation papers signed 2 days later on that fateful Friday July 21, 2001. We rushed to find an office that afternoon, spent the weekend painting it and were ready for business on Monday for our very first client (thank you Karen Sherbut and the Street of Dreams Foundation for your trust!).
The first several months of business were undeniably crazy, eye opening and full of wonderful surprises. From building a giant game of monopoly in the Hyatt ballroom, to recreating Harry Potter’s Hogwart’s Castle in the Coca Cola parking lot, taking a group of Americans dog sledding and curling, producing a large stage show with the best choreographers, stylists, designers and drag queens in the city, to being on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to the launch of Canada’s largest independent oil & gas companies while simulcasting the bell ringing to 4,500 employees back home.
We were onto something for certain! And that “something” has taken us on a memorable journey full of twists and turns and unexpected opportunities to get us to where we are today.
These opportunities range from working with some of the world’s best musicians, actors, Olympians, philanthropists, business leaders and life changers. We have seen the inner workings of venues, hotels, stadiums and homes across the country. We have had the fortune of meeting so many leaders in the non-profit sector and had a hand in raising funds to help countless incredible causes.
We have made friends with all of our industry partners, as well as the police, the firefighters, city inspectors, liquor control boards, engineers, electricians, and all of those who look at us with a puzzled scepticism when we put forth our crazy ideas – yet who all work together with us to come up with innovative solutions that continue to set new boundaries in our industry.
There are so many stories to share ~ yet impossible to share them all. Instead of sharing theses countless stories, I will share some of the interesting lessons we have learned along this amazing journey:
We Have Learned…
Space is cool
We worked with NASA & University of Calgary to produce an event on the International Space Station to award astronaut Robert Thirsk in his honorary degree from UofC.
Permits are king (and queen)
Obtained the multiple necessary permits for an event on the shores of Lake Ontario – for which you are tug-boating to get to your event venue, that happens to be a barge which normally holds a submarine, and has been converted into a “Bond-style” casino.
Raising money is fun!
Raised $3 million dollars in net revenue for prostate cancer while throwing a 50th Birthday party for 12 community minded men, the party just would not stop!
It really does sometimes “Rain men”
Choreographed part of a stage show to the tune “It’s Raining Men” – and had 10 half naked men suprise the audience and rappel from the ceiling on the stage to land amidst the 30 female dancers and their umbrellas.
Obtained accurate “minute-by-minute” meteorological patterns for any and all outdoor Stampede events ~ because we have seen it all during stampede and need to prepared for the sun, the rain, the tornado winds and yes – the snow in July.
Received the highest certification for Health & Safety (COR – Certificate of Record) and created standards for Health & Safety in the event industry. We continue to be audited year over year, over year, to ensure we are following our own protocols and taking charge in the event industry globally on HS&E practices.
Surprised an international audience during a 70th Birthday party weekend celebration with the appearance of Tony Bennett.
oh, the things you can insure!
Explained to our very first insurance company in 2002 that we did not just “throw birthday parties for kids” – but that we did require additional insurance so that we could fly in a helium balloon from France, suspend cirque performers on the helium balloon in the middle of a crowd of 4,500 people before and after the largest indoor pyrotechnics display that Calgary had seen to date!
Throwing a man out of a helicopter is a good way to start dinner
We learned how to appropriately communicate on radio with helicopter pilots – as they are circling your event waiting for the exact moment to cue the stuntmen to jump in to the water to indicate it is dinner time.
Necessary math skills
Determined the exact number of ping pong balls required to fill a 12m outdoor pool to use a projection surface (answer: 39,764).
Stupid party tricks
Determined interesting things to do in our office parties with the leftover ping pong balls balls!
Musicians aren’t scared of heights –
Discovered while curating a custom orchestra for an event and placing them in scaffolding bays – that they often fight for who gets to be on the highest bay.
There is no I in team
Our team is made up passionate, amazing and incredible people.
Out of all of these learnings – the most important of all is to surround yourself with extraordinary people. After 15 years, I will say that it is the team members that make me the most proud. I have surrounded myself with incredible people throughout the years ~ people passionate about the industry, about creating memorable experiences.
I am so grateful to each and every person who has been a part of my journey and the incredible journey of e=mc² events.
There is so much more to come, so hang on tight and get ready for the continued adventure …. I personally am looking forward to our SWEET SIXTEEN!