Conference Manager, Jennifier Stewart
Meet Jennifier Stewart, Conference Manager for the Western Arts Alliance (WAA), headquartered in Portland, Oregon. Its annual conferences are well attended, and regional host cities vie for the opportunity to host. For the past eight years, Jennifier has been at the helm of managing the logistics of site selection and event management. Here are some reasons why she chose Calgary.
1. Financial Assistance
After a site visit, a strong case was made to the WAA Board for selecting Calgary to host their 2022 conference. “There were many reasons why I believed Calgary was the right decision, even though it was the underdog to Seattle, a city well-known to our membership,” says Jennifier, “but what swayed our board was the monetary incentive offered by the City’s destination marketing fund, which handsomely offset our conference costs.”
2. Compact Footprint
Another deal maker was a viable conference footprint. The proximity of the conference centre to hotel accommodation, amenities, services, and offsite opportunities meant everything was within walking distance, no other means of transportation required. “Being right downtown on the lovely [Stephen Ave] was so convenient for delegates,” says Jennifier.
3. Unique Activities and Experiences
“We’re a membership that does lots of business after conference sessions and it was the perfect scenario, says Jennifier. “Working with local partners, we put together small group activities that got attendees out and about in a casual, non-traditional manner – field trips like walking tours of the area to see all the public art, and nature walks that helped us get out of the B2B mindset.”
4. Local Support
One partner in particular stood out: Arts Commons. “They really got the ball rolling, helping us put together an ice cream social in Olympic Plaza, which was timed to coincide with live, outdoor entertainment offered to Calgarians that our delegates could enjoy. We had a connection with the US Consul General in Calgary who came out to participate,” she added. “It was a perfect sunny summer day and wonderful to have everyone outdoors enjoying themselves.”
5. A Winning Combination
If you are thinking of Calgary as a host city, Jennifier offers the following advice: “Use local connections to provide resources. Everyone involved was proud to show off their city. Once you do a site visit, you’ll be sold – the infrastructure is all in place for a successful event. Oh, and I have to add that we loved that Chinatown was so close. The food was excellent! All in all, the membership was surprised and delighted with what the city had to offer. Post-conference, 75 per cent rated their experience as excellent or very good. Top marks!
Learn more about the billion reasons to choose Calgary by contacting us today.