Finding a creative solution to your meeting or event problem

creative solution

When faced with planning a meeting or event, get out – look for creative ideas and solutions everywhere. I actually found Jim Carrey in a Toronto comedy club and hired him for a corporate event for a few thousand dollars. I often wonder if the participants remember who entertained them after dinner!

Do not necessarily take no for an answer. My client was a sponsor at a convention and she needed a great evening hospitality event for two nights. It was very competitive and she really had to top all the other sponsors. Unfortunately, all the great meeting space in the hotel was taken and she only had two adjoining hospitality suites. The space was long and rectangular with a low ceiling – definitely not ideal for a fabulous program!

She came to me to provide some creative solutions to make this event shine.

The specifications

  • The theme had to be mostly for men, interactive and Canadian.
  • At the time, popular themes were Canada Coast to Coast, Streets of Toronto, the changing seasons of Canada – none of these were the right answer.

I struggled for days to come up with the perfect program and, once again, turned to word association.

The theme

  • Well, Toronto is a sports town. What about renting the Stanley Cup?! As luck had it, the original Hockey Hall of Fame at Exhibition Place was closed and the new Hockey Hall of Fame was not open so the cup was in storage. I called and naturally they thought I had lost my mind! Bottom line, I kept at it and finally got an okay. They agreed to let me rent the cup for one night and I responded with thanks but I need it for two nights. The actual cost was minimal because it is priceless. All I had to pay for was the security person to deliver the cup.
  • The room was decorated with ‘snow’ on trees and other winter décor, plus hockey table games.
  • Being from Toronto and a huge hockey fan, I had to hire Johnny Bowers and Ron Ellis, who stood on either side of the cup.
  • A photographer took individual photos of guests by the cup (just on a stand) and the two hockey players. The photos were printed on site and given to the guests as a keepsake.


  • It was like a religious experience for those who actually kissed and touched the Stanley Cup!
  • The suite was the busiest of all the suites and my client’s boss was so thrilled my client got a promotion!

By the way, do not bother the Hockey Hall of Fame as this can no longer be done. Timing is everything – keep that in mind for your own events!

About the author:

Roni Feldman has been involved in the meeting and special event industry since 1979. She is President of Roni Feldman & Associates Inc. which provides a wide variety of services to the hospitality industry including conference and special event management, marketing, training and education programs. Roni Feldman holds the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation, the Destination Management Certified Professions (DMCP) designation and the Certified Incentive Specialist (CIS) designation. These certification programs are only available to senior industry professionals who qualify and they were developed to define a high standard of proficiency in meeting management. In addition, Roni Feldman is the only planner in Canada who holds these certifications as well as a professional degree and experience in the areas of theatre and film production. This knowledge and experience provides a unique perspective on all aspects of meeting and event management. Roni continues to be in demand nationally and internationally as an instructor and workshop leader. She has been involved in the CMP study groups and has been a guest speaker at two of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Professional Education Conferences, MPI’s first Canadian Educational Institute I & II as well as several of the Toronto Chapter monthly MPI and Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) meetings; the Canadian Society of Association Executives; and the Life Insurance Management Research Association's Annual Conference. Roni spoke at the 16th International Meetings & Incentives Conference in Greece on Partnerships and was asked to address a group of DMC’s in Lisbon on selling and servicing the North American Market. Roni was asked in 1994 to serve as a member of the task force set up by the Ontario Tourism Education Council to establish and validate Standards for the Special Events Industry across Canada. Roni was also chosen to be included in the Nationwide Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Business in recognition of achieving a level of recognizable success in their respective field. In 2012, Roni was inducted into the M+IT (Meetings and Incentive Travel) Hall of Fame with the Industry Veteran Award. THE INDUSTRY VETERAN AWARD recognizes a planner or supplier who has, during a long career, distinguished themselves by demonstrating leadership and innovation in all facets of their own job and the industry as a whole.

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