Corporate Event Ideas to Deliver Expensive Contracts
Whatever a company’s ultimate intentions be—appreciation, courtship, networking—a well planned, memorable corporate event will go a long way to delivering future results.
Contemporary corporate hospitality is all about leaving a lasting impression. Today’s business climate is uber-competitive. Every edge is essential. Doesn’t it make sense to outperform competitors in every manner? Annual corporate events are no exception.
Here are three exciting and unique corporate event ideas that are sure to tip the scales in your company’s favor…
Bridgestone Racing Academy
The Bridgestone Racing Academy offers individual, half-day, one-day and two-day corporate events and is ideally located just outside Toronto. With a clean 25-year-long safety track record, Bridgestone Racing Academy doesn’t require previous racing experience. Expert staff preps first time and repeat drivers on the Mosport Driver Development Center’s 24 courses and the Van Diemen race cars.
Bridgestone Racing Academy caters to corporate events and addresses most liability concerns to encourage companies to book. Participants are not held liable for damage and full safety equipment is ensured. The procedures were enough for notable companies like Acura, Andres Wines, Appliance Canada, Atlantis Transportation, Bank of America, Brinks Canada, Chevron Texaco, CIBC World Markets, Coca Cola and Ernst and Young to partake.
“Here’s a very safe environment where people can push themselves to the limit without great risk. From a business perspective, we sell our products to consumers and sometimes through bars and restaurants. We are always looking for an opportunity for owners to get to know us better, and the racetrack is a great way to break down walls,” says John Sleeman, Chairman of Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
“This is a great way to reward people and let them have fun. So often, a pen for your pocket or a clock for your wall is the reward. That’s not something people remember. Take them out on the race course, show them fun all day and have them meet interesting people, that’s a great way to build business relationships.”
For a more sophisticated event, Mariposa Cruises operates a fleet of six vessels that can accommodate groups ranging from 20 to 575 people, which is perfect for intimate executive events or informal, company-wide appreciation outings. Mariposa Cruises is especially fitting for Canadian companies hosting out-of-town partners, clients or customers as the cruises navigate the stunning harbourfront at the foot of the Toronto skyline.
Mariposa Cruises hosts corporate events to facilitate conferences, product launches, sales meeting, seminars or workshops aboard the Captain Matthew Flinders, Northern Spirit and Mariposa Belle. All three vessels are three decks and offer spacious facilities.
Mariposa Cruises offers a range of amenities, including, but not limited to, fully licensed bars, chefs, in-house catering, DJs and other function essentials. As passengers take in the lights of Toronto, the crew, which consists of professional event coordinators, will be working diligently to provide a memorable event.
“I really recommend Mariposa. They are a very professional company,” says Larry Cox, President, Polaris Transportation Group. “They tailor the evening to your needs, from customers to the high-end, like owners and decision makers. Any chance to show off Toronto helps our business. This is top end-stuff and improves guests’ view of Canadians.”
Executive Oasis International
If racing around at 225 kmp isn’t memorable enough for your clients and a classy evening cruise doesn’t strike your customers' fancy, try the opulent services of luxury corporate events specialists Executive Oasis International. Executive Oasis International offers travel packages and first-class excursions.
Executive Oasis International has served Canadian giants EMD Serono, Xerox Canada, ExxonMobil Canada, Mister Safety Shoes, Dial Corporation and Thomson Reuters Dubai through various excursion packages.
Some of the teambuilding packages Executive Oasis International currently offers include BMW Driver Training events at multiple worldwide locations, a Luxury Desert Safari in Dubia, an Iron Chef-inspired Villa Cook-off in Jamaica and a dog sledding getaway accessible by helicopter.
Executive Oasis International also features team building simulations modeled after the CBS show Amazing Race. A Wilderness and Arctic Survival simulation is offered in Canada. A Desert Survival simulation is offered in the United Arab Emirates, and an Island Survival simulation is offered in Jamaica.
All executive retreats and team building simulation are commenced with a presentation by the CEO. The CEO’s words are followed by an explanation connecting the value between the imminent experience and the business’ goals.
Corporate Hospitality is big business. The days of the dunk tank and old-fashioned summer BBQs have been replaced with adrenaline-fueled excitement and extravagance-laden international soirees.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.