Tailored towards connecting tenacious women in business, this energetic one-dayevent is the business conference re-imagined and re-energized; immersing attendees into an atmosphere of inspirational, like-minded women who all have the same root goals at heart: to learn, connect and grow. Co-founded by friends and entrepreneur/business women Angela (Urquhart) Osborne and Taryn Herritt, the multi-faceted workshop was created with the goal to connect career women and ambitious entrepreneurs, like themselves, in search of the inspiration and comradery needed to grow their individual businesses. “We really felt like there was a gap in the market in terms of some type of professional experience / conference type event where you can go and network and learn from amazing speakers,” says Chief Growth Officer Herritt. “Something that can get you excited and inspired but that is done in a very beautiful way.”Hosted this June 18th, the second annual event will once again celebrate the best in the business and host industry leaders sharing their inspiring stories, valuable advice and tangible strategies. Growing exponentially from their inaugural event in 2018, this year plans to be bigger than ever; expanding to a larger, Insta-worthy venue and hosting more panelists – including 2019’s Keynote Speaker, famed Canadian entrepreneur, TV Host and designer Jillian Harris.
Following a decade of progressively building a strong career in the corporate world, Herritt took the plunge into entrepreneurship; working as a business broker and M&A expert. Herritt said she attended conferences looking for inspiration and consistently found the same event hosted over and over.“The speakers and topics were always the same … hosted in Conference Room A with white linen table cloths, water on the table … it was all very generic,” said Herritt. “There was just something missing.”
The Atelier was curated entirely with the guest experience in mind. Passionate about designing and executing memorable events, published author, entrepreneur and Chief Experience Officer Angela Osborne says they created the Atelier [which translates to workshop] with the main point of mission to remove attendees from the backdrop of traditional conferences and into an environment which fosters the creative commentary and energy of its panelists. “The day isn’t just a work event, it is so much more,” said Osborne. “You are working on yourself, you are working on personal and professional development and you are working on creating relationships. In order to do so, you have to feel inspired.”From a coffee bar set in an air stream trailer, a headshot studio and wine reception in the vineyard, the venue of the inaugural event, Ravine Vineyard, provided a beautiful outdoor backdrop for the over 300 women in attendance.
“We wanted to take people somewhere they could feel inspired,” said Osborne. “There is an energy that is created when you are outdoors or in a beautiful space. It is very important to us that we have that high vibe energy.”With a wait list of hundreds of people clambering for a spot in 2018, it was clear that the event had surpassed the cozy vineyard venue. In a move to expand, the Atelier is relocating and doubling its size for this June. The 2019 event will host over 700 women and be held in Toronto at the green-designed and community-based heritage site Evergreen Brickworks. Designed as a social enterprise that inspires action to enable flourishing cities, the vibrant indoor/ outdoor footprint is a unique labyrinth of green and sustainable space far away from the typical boardroom. Osborne said this incredible space will feature similar engaging popups as the previous year but will allow for everything to be amplified and bigger. Along with the addition of Jillian Harris, founder and Creative Director of Jillian Harris Design Inc. and co-host of HGTV ’s Love It or List It Vancouver, this year’s panelists promise to be just as unique and just as inspiring. Each panel will host a small number of speakers at a time to allow each panelist the opportunity to speak and engage with the audience and cover a variety of topics. Herritt said the core components and themes of the panels will remain loosely the same year to year but feature fresh content and adjust with the trends.
Past key panel themes include: Grit is the New Hustle, Wellness and Personal Development, Confidence, Evolving Technology, Leveraging Media into Money and Creating and Connecting and Converting; The Value of Your Brand Story. “Something that was an overarching theme for our conference was Grit is the New Hustle,” said Herritt. “A lot of the time you hear buzz words around hustle, like working insane hours – so a mix of what we wanted to get across was no, it’s not just about the hard work and not just about the hustle, but it’s about the tenacity that it takes to build a career, build a brand, build a business.” Past panelists have included the members of Jillian Harris’ Core “Team Jilly”: Shay Merritt, Tori Wesszer, Mindy Crawford and Mackenzie Dempsey, the co-owners of the Insta-famous June Motel [located in Prince Edward County] Sarah Sklash and April Brown, writer Lauren McPhillips, Founder and CEO of Hughes and Co. Allie Hughes and the Director of Communications for ASICS Canada Karen Menez – to name only a few. Osborne said a second Keynote Speaker will be announced in early spring ahead of ticket release. “What we always come back to with every element of the Atelier is this whole concept of women supporting women,” said Herritt. “I know that [women supporting women] sometimes gets thrown out a lot as almost a sort of buzz word but for us, it is the most important thing; to allow people to climb up to the next level you have to give them the opportunity to network with each other and have learning opportunities and be able to share messages of other women who are doing something that is innovative and taking a risk.
We want to be able to spread these messages so that is our core within everything we have done.” Tickets will go on sale in the early spring and will offer two price point options; one for general admission [which will include access to all panels, interactive experiences, happy hour and a swag bag] and new this year is an amplified VIP Experience ticket which will include all general admission items as well as a meet and greet with Jillian Harris, an elevated swag bag and preferred seating. Ticket prices can be found on The Atelier’s website.Looking forward, Osborne and Herritt said though their signature will remain at their core, the pair is looking to expand and host more events. “We are hoping to do one or two a year – spread them out across Canada and beyond the border,” said Herritt. Herritt said they are also looking at creating a tailored workshop series that will be smaller in terms of numbers but offer a very similar experience for a more intimate atmosphere – similar to a “business boot camp”. TM