Award Winning Ottawa Event Planning

FEO Conference – Part 3

FEO Conference – Part 3

Friday was the start of the official conference. So to start the day off they had all of the opening addresses and formal stuff including a keynote speaker. Their keynote speaker was Michael Kerr, President and Hall of Fame Motivational Speaker – Humour at Work.

I have to tell you he is one of my favourite all time speakers. Not only did he make me laugh but he made so much sense. He made me believe that I what I want out of my company is not so crazy after all. I have only ever met one other speaker who made me feel this way, the only difference was she wasn’t so funny. 
Michael starts off his presentation by showing everyone the universal sign for fun – this crazy little dance he does. You can’t help but smile every time he does it – and it does it throughout his talk so you are smiling from start to finish.
He talked about so many amazing, yet so simple, things. He teaches about creating the culture you want in your workplace. And about going to work every day with the attitude you want. He talks about how work does not, and should not, be painful. If we have to spend so much time at work we should be loving it. Getting the work done but having fun while we do it. 
He has worked with so many incredible companies to create exactly that type of environment in their workplaces. I will share some stories with you that he shared with us.
  • There is a company who advertises new job posting using the wording ” We’re 100% jerk free”. He said that the owner of the company told him that people screen themselves out of jobs because of that statement.
  • He told us about a plane ride he took. He said it was the worst flight he has ever been on. The turbulence was so bad that people were throwing up. When the turbulence was finally over the stewardess came out and started to clean up the vomit. The mood on the plane wasn’t so great as you can imagine. He said the stewardess jumped up and yelled “I love my job!” Everyone on the plane started to laugh and it completely changed the environment on the plane for the rest of the trip.
  • He arrived at an office and was greeted by the receptionist whose title was ” Director of First Impressions”
  • He has heard of a companies who have high five days, third person Thursdays and a bank that has a most obnoxious customer program for their staff.
  • One office had a sign on the wall that said “When policy fails try thinking” – that is a personal favourite of mine
  • On a West Jet flight he was on the staff had the guests have a toilet paper passing contest. They gave each row (front to back) a roll of toilet paper and told them to pass it over their heads, unrolling it as it went, and the row that got it to the back first wins and gets to get off the plane first.
  • At the Ritz Carleton, a teddy bear was forgotten by a little girl. The family called and yes the hotel had the bear. Instead of just sending it back they took it around the hotel and took pictures of it getting a massage at the spa, hanging out in the restaurant, etc and then had a scrapbook made and sent to the little girl with the bear. When he told this story he made such a great point. He said it certainly made the client happy but can you imagine how happy it made the staff to do something fun and above the call of duty for a client.
  • He called Shutterfly (my favourite scrapbooking company) and one of their voice mail options is “Hear this message in pirate, press 3” – so of course he pressed 3
  • in one of his workplaces they created a ritual in meetings, everyone had to wear a headlamp and when they wanted to speak they had to turn on the head lamp. this became so “serious” that they started turning out the lights in the boardroom and had meetings in the dark just to fully enjoy their head lamps
A few other things he told us…


  • be intentional
  • stay out of the rat race
  • it does matter
  • fun drives success
  • fun = lower absenteeism and less turnover
  • look for the unintentionally funny
  • don’t be afraid to add personality to your business cards
  • Deja Moo – we’ve heard this bull before
  • create rituals in the workplace
  • celebrate crazy holidays
  • 10 times to 1 people will notice the bad before noticing the good
  • people get their best ideas in the shower, driving, while exercising, in bed and in the bathroom while sitting on the toilet – NEVER AT WORK
  • we are in the service industry, we just happen to plan events
  • always exceed expectations
  • recognize employees who go the extra mile
As his talk was coming to a close I was thinking, I have to give this guy a standing ovation. It appears I was not the only one who thought so. Everyone in the room stood up the second he finished. 
What i loved so much about this speaker was that it reassured me that I am not crazy for wanting to have a workplace that is different than anywhere else I have ever worked. As my company continues to grow and once we have an actual office with several staff that are there full time, my goal is to have a workplace that people are lining up to work in. And this type of stuff is exactly what I want.  
I want a workplace where people work hard and create products and services that are second to none but while doing that they have the best days of their lives. They laugh, they help each other, they can walk around in sock feet…
I have always thought that when working with adults you should treat them like adults in order to get the best results. 
I left that session with tears in my eyes, some from laughter, but mostly from feeling so relieved that my vision is not as crazy as I thought. 
Oh and I bought both his books. Can’t wait to start reading them.
Julia O’Grady has big vision, fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. She and her team work hard to exceed client expectations and push ITM Events to achieve greater heights. A driven entrepreneur, Julia also manages the business side of ITM Events including human resources, finances, marketing and writing grant and sales proposals. In taking a high level approach to event management, Julia is able to visualize a project from inception to successful execution. She attracts valuable sponsors by offering meaningful opportunities to engage with participants. Julia uses her keen analytical mind to create incredible events that maximize the available budget. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.


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