Industry Profile: Bettyanne Sherrer


Events bring people together to exchange ideas, share strategies and most importantly, to make connections. For Ontario event planner Bettyanne Sherrer, the most successful events are ones that change behaviours or open new doors.

“It always amazes me to watch someone make a new connection that will lead them in a new direction, or build their business, or to watch someone change their mind because of something they learned or were challenged with. That is the magic of events for me and the pride of knowing that I helped build the platform or created the forum for that change to happen,” says Sherrer, vice president and managing partner of CanPlan Event & Conference Services.

Sherrer has provided full service strategic design, logistical delivery and event management to the corporate, association and non-profit/charitable sectors for more than three decades. Her dedication to the industry and advocacy have earned her multiple awards over the years.

“I was challenged a few years ago with developing a new approach to supplier/planner engagement, resulting in the creation of the V.I.Plane project, which earned my second induction in the Meetings Industry Hall of Fame, something I am very humbled by,” says Sherrer, who was inducted in 2013 and 2019 by Canadian Meetings + Events Expo.

Creating unique and memorable experiences requires staying on top of current demands and issues. When it comes to trends, she cites AI, sustainability and DEI as all important evolving topics.

“Events are often where people experience new technologies for the first time and so we must always be willing to test and push the needle. As planners, we have the responsibility of a major spending influence within the industry and suppliers will respond to our requests for sustainable practices. We are content creators, and our clients will listen to our encouragement to include diverse voices as subject matter experts. The importance of accessibility at events is a subject very important to me and one of the biggest trends I am seeing. These long-overdue conversations are happening and will be impacting how we plan, communicate, and deliver events,” she says.

1.Tell us how you got started in the industry.
My career began in advertising, and I had the opportunity to work for some of the largest agencies in Toronto, working on major brands. I really thought that would be my path. When my first daughter was born with special needs, everything changed, and I realized I needed to become an entrepreneur to own my time and serve the unique needs of my family.  So, I interviewed a number of C-Level executives to try to discover what needs were not being met that might align with my skill set. What I discovered was a need for project management centred around a strategic approach to event design. I sought out a mentor, volunteered and joined industry associations to learn from the leaders in the industry, and the rest as they say, is history.

2.What are some of your biggest achievements?

I recently produced the 18th Deafblind International World Conference, a highly complex event that brought a very diverse audience with a wide spectrum of access accommodation requirements. I have also had the pleasure of producing many events for industry including Canada Rocks, the opening event for what was then, Incentiveworks. As the planner of record for the MPI Global Foundation portfolio, I have produced events at WEC and IMEX for many years. My biggest achievements have been watching newer planners that I have had the opportunity to work with, flourish and build success.

3.What advice/tips would you offer others entering the industry?
My advice is simple: do your best work every single time. Whether you are serving a client’s event or are fulfilling a volunteer commitment, show up and be consistent in what you do. This is a relatively small industry, and opportunities can come from many directions. Build your reputation while you build your skills.




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