Planning Our First Event in Canada

Young and Restless

Young and Restless

 

How did we plan our first event in Canada?

On November 18th, 2023, the Young Eye Initiative proudly introduced Young and Restless to the world—a unique arm of the initiative that, truthfully, was never intended to evolve into an independent organization. Yet, the narrative of brainstorming, developing the idea,  planning, and ultimately executing the event is one for which I will be forever grateful. In the spirit of sharing how we put it all together, I thought I would do a recap of this event.

In mid-September, I recall having a conversation with Samantha Kremer, brainstorming ideas to raise funds for the Young Eye Foundation‘s work in Uganda. We considered sports events, fundraisers, and donation campaigns. However, I remember telling Sam that, despite seeking financial support, it would be different if we provide value to the people that are willing to donate. This is why we said a certain percentage of every ticket sale will go to the work of the foundation. In essence the Young Eye Foundation gave life to Young and Restless – it gave it meaning.

I shared a recent conversation I had with my mentors – Sherry Joy Hugh and Michael Prosserman, about sharing my personal story to my peers and using that to inspire them. Whilst I felt like this would have worked, I wanted to create a space where other young entrepreneurs and changemakers can share their wisdom and unique breadth of knowledge.

Naming the Idea

 

At first, we were considering naming it the Young Eye Networking event. Reflecting on that, I suggested to Sam that while that could be the name, we should also have a theme for the event. I proposed two theme names that I thought would align with the event’s purpose: “Youth Entrepreneurship” or “Young and Restless.” Of course, “Young and Restless” had a better ring to it. This choice evolved into the event’s theme and eventually became the name of the organization as it developed.

Young and Restless Logo

Planning the Event

 

Organizing an event of this scale in Canada for the first time had its challenges in bringing all the pieces together. Our initial step involved selecting a potential date, considering both the 18th and 25th of November. After discovering a clash with an open house on the 25th, we settled on the 18th as the chosen date.

We created a rough rundown of the event, outlining potential speakers we would be honored to have. Emphasizing a youth-driven approach, we focused on inviting young entrepreneurs, curating a panel discussion centered around the challenges of balancing education and entrepreneurship for restless young individuals. While reaching out to several potential speakers, we encountered scheduling conflicts with many due to their busy agendas. Nonetheless, the commitment of the speakers we got truly made the event worthwhile.

Every successful event requires support, and we were fortunate to secure partnerships with GreenHouse, LiftOff by CCAWR, and the Conrad School of Business and Entrepreneurship, who played a pivotal role in marketing and promoting the event. Additionally, my mentor, Mr. Michael Prosserman, generously gave us with 10 copies of his book, “Building Unity: Leading a Non-Profit from Spark to Succession,” to give away.

A significant boost came from the University of Waterloo’s Office of Research, which showed their tremendous support by purchasing 50 event tickets. This not only allowed a diverse audience to attend but contributed to the achievement of the organization’s goal.

Lessons I learned from the story of Unity Charity – What I learned from the story of Unity Charity.

The budgeting for the event presented some challenges as we had a clear vision of what we wanted, but the items on our list varied. In addition to securing a venue through the SLC student booking and covering logistical expenses, we allocated funds for essential elements such as food and beverages.

Acknowledging the importance of our speakers, we gave them gifts for them as tokens of appreciation – each speaker received a personalized gift. To everyone that attended we gave a tailored thank-you cards not just a gesture of gratitude but also a way to extend the sense of connection and appreciation beyond the event itself.

Day of the Event

 

November 18th was finally here, our 6 weeks of planning was coming into effect, walking into the abyss we just hoped and prayed that all went according to plan. Inspirational talks were shared by seasoned social entrepreneurs – Tania Del Matto, executive director of GreenHouse and Ajoa Mintah, CEO and founder of Four All Ice Cream. This was complimented by a keynote from Miraal Kabir one of the co-founders of Safi, a non-profit organization bringing safe milk to East Africa using a milk pasteurization device.

I gave a keynote on the journey of The Young Eye Initiative and its growth, development and numerous change over the years. The key thing I shared was that we should learn to adopt the  “Genius of AND and not the tyranny of OR”.

The event proved to be a success as attendees had opportunities to network, exchange insights, and learn from each other. The impactful talks delivered by our esteemed speakers left a lasting impression, and the majority of participants left not only inspired but enriched with valuable takeaways.

Witnessing the tangible impact of the event on individuals, where connections were created, knowledge shared, and inspiration ignited, validated the work we put into this. Inspire today and Inform tomorrow is what we are here to do.

Event Aftermath

 

For a first event, I was pleased with how well-executed and conducted it went from start to finish. We had two goals and we reached both goals. We set out to achieve two things with this inaugural event, create a space where young people can grow and learn from each other through networking, and to generate funding for the Young Eye Foundation bursary for 2024 that facilitate children’s education in Uganda.

Many people left the room inspired, empowered, some with jobs, others with business opportunities and value added to their lives!
We generated a net of $580 from ticket sales, and with donations and pledges at a total of $500. This totals up to $1,080! All proceeds going towards the work the Young Eye Foundation is doing with early childhood care and education and marginalized youth.

This was the start of something new that I think will bring together many young people that are passionate about different things. From entrepreneurship, to social change, sports, climate change, education, human rights and much more! It excites me to see where this could all go, there’s beauty in the struggle.

Follow Young and Restless! We have exciting things coming your way next year! My LinkedIn post recapping the entire event. And more about the Young Eye Initiative.

Young and Restless Event

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