How the Canadian Leadership Congress leveraged a Presentation Stage™ to overcome the unexpected

When it comes to planning events in 2020, readiness to adapt your event type has become the new norm. Government regulations, safety best-practices and COVID case counts seem to be ever-changing. To respond, organizations must be ready to carry out business activities in the safest ways possible, even if it means pivoting their meeting type.

In late September, one organization needed to be ready to adapt their event type within hours of their meeting, after a city ordinance prohibited in-person gatherings at traditional meeting and event spaces. Here’s how they did it.

Challenge of Change

The Canadian Leadership Congress [CLC] is an association for leaders in Canada’s investment and financial services space. Their experiences stimulate discussion and open dialogue on critical issues facing today’s Canadian leaders.

CLC’s Challenge of Change Forum is an annual invitation-only event. Each year, it facilitates opportunities for Canadian pension CEOs, CIOs, thought leaders, and their global pension fund counterparts to collaborate on international best practices. Key topics include innovation in investments, infrastructure, private equity, real estate, governance, and more. This exclusive gathering sparks intimate and sophisticated conversations addressing key challenges and possible paths forward that pension investors can use to act.

This year, CLC booked event space for their annual Challenge of Change Forum for both a group of in-person attendees and a more extensive live virtual audience. The day before the event, their host city of Montreal moved to Level 4–Maximum Alert in response to a rise in COVID-19 infections, which meant that their meeting, in the format as originally planned, would not be able to proceed.

With their event scheduled at The Ritz-Carlton Montreal, they could no longer gather their in-person attendees who had already traveled to the venue. Joanne Boccia, the Canadian Leadership Congress Co-Founder, reached out to FMAV to ask about hybrid event options. Challenge accepted! Through a combination of trusted partners and readiness to adapt their event type, CLC was able to pivot their meeting in a way that allowed the show to go on.

Setting (and Changing) the Stage

Partnering with our Digital Services team and her FMAV contact at The Ritz-Carlton Montreal, they had originally planned to host their 20 in-person attendees at the hotel and use a webinar platform to connect with their virtual attendees through multiple streams. After being forced to cancel the meeting due to the Level 4–Maximum Alert restrictions, the hotel and FMAV team presented the CLC with a solution: the Montreal, Quebec Presentation Stage™.


The Montreal Presentation Stages environment based out of our Montreal Production Centre, allowed CLC to deliver a live in-studio experience broadcasted to their minimal in-person guests and broader virtual viewers. Because of its high-production value, the professional setting created by FMAV provided the perfect “newsroom” environment CLC was aspiring to create for their attendees. The newsroom look-and-feel included leveraging TV monitors to create a custom branded background and adding name keys and logo effects.

By making the choice to adapt their event type and host the Challenge of Change Forum at the Montreal Presentation Stage™, the Canadian Leadership Congress provided a professional and engaging experience to their delegates without having to cancel. Also, The Ritz-Carlton Montreal was still able to host delegates at their venue, allowing CLC to fulfill their room-block obligations.

Joanne and the CLC team felt comfortable in the clean, safe setting provided by the Presentation Stage™. The FMAV MeetSAFE concierge ensured that both team members and guests followed all MeetSAFE guidelines, including temperature checks, hand sanitization, mandatory PPE face masks, and keeping the number of people in each room low. FMAV staff converted individual translation booths into personalized green rooms, and the control room and crew were housed in another part of the building. Furthermore, all equipment was cleaned thoroughly before and after the event.

Adapt your Event Type and Exceed Expectations

At the end of the event, Joanne and her team were thrilled, stating this was one of the best virtual events they had hosted to date. Not only was the team able to deliver the Challenge of Change Forum flawlessly, but FMAV’s willingness and ability to change locations and provide a professional environment to host their event with short notice demonstrated their passion, preparedness, and expertise.

For information on Presentation Stages™ and to start planning your hybrid event, click here.

Madeleine Bart


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