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Interview with Julia McDevitt, Owner and Principal Planner, Elm City Events

  • Can you tell me a bit about how your business began?

Elm City Events was founded in 2021, although the idea for the business was conceptualized a couple of years prior. It was born out of my love for event planning and working with clients to create memorable experiences through events.

I was working as the Senior Director of UNB’s Conference Services department during the COVID-19 pandemic, a very difficult period for the meetings, conventions, and events industry, when I saw professionals in our industry rally together to support one another and overcome extraordinary challenges. That put into perspective, for me, my desire to challenge myself and create something special in our city, to move the events industry forward, past the hardships of the pandemic. With a couple of clients on board, I branched out on my own, starting Elm City Events in my basement.

With incredible support from the business community, particularly some of our venue partners, Elm City Events quickly signed multiple client contracts and within the first two months in operation, I had to hire a full-time staff member to support our growing project list.

Now, just a year-in, Elm City Events is an incorporated business, with three full-time staff members, two part-time staff and a roster of regional, provincial, and national clients with events across the country!

  • Tell me about your business?  What does your business do?  What products and/or services do you offer?

Elm City Events is a full-service event management company, crafting memorable experiences with every event. We work with regional, provincial and national clients to plan events. Our clients are municipalities, national associations, private businesses, crown corporations, government departments and not for profits organizations. We support our clients with managing the logistics and details of their conferences, tradeshows and special events, event registration, transportation logistics, accommodations management and more. Our expertise lies in the full event, conference, and meeting life cycle, from event conceptualization to on-site management.

We are also developers of creative and innovative local experiences. Our team believes strongly in building homegrown events and experiences and work with our regional industry and partners to bring the local experiences to life. We will always be proud to live and work in Fredericton and being able to provide experiential moments in our city for those from here or away is a great pride point for us as an event management company.

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  •  Tell me a bit about your clientele, who are the people who use, buy or take advantage of your products and services?

We cater to a diverse clientele encompassing national associations, corporate enterprises, and non-profit organizations. While the mission and work of our clients varies significantly, they share a unifying goal: the aspiration to craft unforgettable experiences for participants attending their events, meetings, or conferences. Recognizing the pivotal role of collaboration with a seasoned and reliable event partner, our clients entrust us to bring their event visions to life.

  • Is your business involved in any community activities or organizations?

Community involvement is so important to us as a business. In all the work we do, we make our best efforts to support other local Fredericton businesses.

As a team, we sit on multiple committees with the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce, providing our voice to important member initiatives and priorities. Other community work we have engaged in includes in 2023 when we were excited to volunteer with the Harvest hospitality and transportation team to help manage the transportation logistics for the event. Volunteering with important community events such as Harvest is something we hope to do a lot more of in the future.

We are fortunate to work closely with the City of Fredericton to develop and execute numerous community events including the Mayor’s Ice Cream Social, the Fredericton 175+ celebrations, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting, Downtown Spectacular and FROSTival events.  We are excited to continue this and plan more amazing community events in the future.

As a young business in the Frederiction community, we are always looking for new ways to get involved, volunteer and share our skills with others!

  • What are you most proud of in your business?

My greatest pride stems from the profound impact our work has on our clients and their events, and the incredible team of people I get to do the work with.

As a team, we take pride in our ability to consistently exceed expectations and deliver exceptional service to our clients. Witnessing the positive impact of our events on our clients’ goals and the satisfaction of their attendees is what drives us to continually raise the bar and push the boundaries of what’s possible in event management.

There is nothing better than getting to do what you love, in the place you call home, with a team of creative, inspiring, and kind people.

  • What is next for your business?

We are so excited for all that is on the horizon for Elm City Events! We are working on some very fun projects with some great clients, that will take us across the country and create unique experiences for people in the Fredericton community.

We will soon be launching a suite of local experience offerings, tailored to the meetings and conventions industry that highlight the distinct culture, traditions, and welcoming nature of Fredericton. Our team believes strongly in building homegrown events and experiences and will work with our local industry and partners to bring these local experiences to life.

As a business owner, I am also looking ahead, for ways to continue to grow and scale the business. I hope to take advantage of the incredible network of entrepreneurs and professionals in the city of Fredericton for guidance and advice and to find new, unique ways to create mutually beneficial partnerships in the community. While our clients are so important to us and are the heartbeat of our business, our partners are the ones who drive us forward.

  •  What is the best advice you ever received as a business owner?

Surround yourself with good people and do what you love.  I feel so honoured to work with the best team of professional, creative and kind people. The team at Elm City Events is core to what we do and knowing I get to work with them day in and out on these amazing projects is priceless.  I can also whole-heartedly say that I LOVE what I do, and I don’t take that for granted. Fredericton is an amazing community and from the second I opened the doors of Elm City Events we have been welcomed so genuinely by the community and for that I would just say thank you!

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