BSB x The Citizen: The Power of Networking
Photography by Renata Kaveh
There are certain things that business school just can’t teach you. Sure, understanding core principles and theories are important, but more often than not, the things that will give you a leg up on the competition are learned by working in the field — like networking. In collaboration with The Citizen, our series takes a look at Canada’s innovators, thought-provokers and business leaders to ask the ultimate question: how has networking helped you?
Meet Candice and Alison, the dynamic duo behind Toronto’s most prestigious event production company.
Describe the ethos behind CANDICE&ALISON
Alison: CANDICE&ALISON Events Group offers complete design, production and management services to create truly unforgettable event experiences. With over 20 years of combined event and design experience, we manage precise details to meet every aspect of any event with utter style and professionalism. Our signature style is a design-based aesthetic with a creative flare and is applied to all of our events across a broad range of industries.
What ingredients make for the perfect event?
Good lighting, good sound, good food and beverage, and good people.
Location, location, location.
Eye-catching elements that provide the perfect backdrop for social sharing.
How important is quality of service to you?
Alison: Quality of service is everything. Our event design is not only one aspect; the pre-planning, onsite logistics and execution are equally, if not more important. Despite being known for the “look” of our productions, our main focus is on delivering a luxury product, not necessarily by brand or budget, but by level of detail and service.
How far have you gone to accommodate a client's request?
Alison: We can go as far as possible (within reason). We have gone above and beyond to meet extreme requests. For example, we have uprooted a tree that was hundreds of years old because a bride didn’t like how it, "blocked her view”. We re-painted and re-dressed an entire hotel lobby every night for a week to change the look and feel of the space so that guests would be impressed everyday. We like to make things happen and are always willing to accept a challenge.
What have been some highlights of your career so far?
Candice: The private party for Oprah Winfrey was one highlight, another was flying Kanye West out for a destination wedding in Thailand, and most recently hosting all of the top NHL players from around the world for a private event in Toronto. The pressure is really turned on when there are high-profile VVIPs involved. The stakes become much higher. But when it’s pulled off flawlessly, it’s all the more rewarding.
This series is about the power and influence of networking. How has it been vital to the success of your business?
Candice: An event is not only about drinks, entertainment and beautiful décor, but about the guests, our personal relationships with them and making sure they feel taken care of. Every guest is a potential referrer because they are experiencing our product firsthand, so their experience is vital to the success of our business.
What is the best advice on networking that you can give?
Candice: Networking can be intimidating for some, but we believe that networking is a lot easier when you’re there with the mindset to make friends. Forget about the business goals and sales pitches. If you end up in a conversation about business, then let that happen organically. No one likes to be sold to, so instead take a genuine interest in the person you’re speaking to. As long as you’re always pleasant, professional and genuine in your connections, it will go a long way.