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ETHOS Event Collective’s Unique Approach Delivers Return on Investment for Companies and Communities

ETHOS Event Collective's Unique Approach Delivers Return on Investment for Companies and Communities

ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A multi-billion dollar industry, meetings and events represent important revenue and jobs for communities throughout Florida. This impact was demonstrated when COVID shut down in-person activities resulting in widespread job loss and business closures. Amid this industry devastation, ETHOS Event Collective, a new destination and event management company, is taking its unique, results-oriented approach to the events industry. Through purposeful planning and precise execution, ETHOS creates engaging, memorable experiences that result in meaningful, lasting results for companies and local communities.

“The pandemic clearly showed how meetings and events generate important jobs and revenue that support the well-being of the communities where we work,” said Meryl Hill, VP, Creative + Design, ETHOS Event Collective. “It was this realization that started ETHOS and our purpose to create a sustainable way to ensure we supported the people and places that help us create experiences for our clients.”

Delivering on this purpose began by reinventing their creative process. “Planners select destinations because of their unique experiences and offerings,” said Julie Addelman, Director of Experience + Design, ETHOS Event Collective. “We developed a methodology that would build on destination experiences to create a deeper connection with the community – one that would be remembered long after the meeting or event ended.”

Inspired by the creative process used by marketing and advertising firms, ETHOS has invested in training their Experience and Design team to go beyond meeting and event objectives to align with broader company goals, mission, values, and brand to make a meaningful connection between the attendees to the destination. Recently the Orlando team helped an automotive company plan a dealer incentive that was equal parts giving and receiving. A Concours D’Elegance style gala combined the attendees’ love of classic cars with the company’s desire to support their annual giving by incorporating a silent auction to support Feeding America.

According to Hill, “Building connections is the easiest and fastest way to create a return on event investment. When content and programming are purposeful, it creates bonds with brands, locations and information. Learning opportunities can be created that feel native to your corporate culture and appropriate for your venue. Incorporate ways to create interactive memories, with follow-up that reinforces main ideas and connects the experience to the content. Offer hands-on experiences with exclusive options they couldn’t do on their own. This creates connections with people and companies, grows brand loyalty, improves employee retention and builds solid foundations.”

She adds, “A bonus by-product is that you’ll be equipping communities and destinations with the power to grow. When we partner with an organization like Feeding America, we are creating connections that help people thrive.” 

ETHOS believes this type of purposeful planning produces more meaningful connections, experiences and results that have a greater impact on things like employee retention, sales, and brand loyalty. The ETHOS creative methodology also incorporates Simon Sinek’s seminal concept of “Start with Why”. Hill attributes this idea to having a big influence on the team’s creative process. She concludes, “Getting a deeper understanding of WHY companies want to create these meetings and events enables us to create a truly unique experience that has a long-lasting impact.”

To learn more about their creative methodology and how it has already begun to make an impact in local communities, contact ETHOS VP, Creative + Design, Meryl Hill at or Director of Experience + Design, Julie Addelman at

About ETHOS Event Collective

ETHOS Event Collective is a Destination and Event Management Company that helps meeting and event planners stay ahead of increasing demands while supporting the people and places that make the experiences we create possible. We call it Purposeful Planning and it’s how we ensure results for both company and community long after a meeting or event has ended. To learn more visit

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Lexi Matias
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New approach to Canada Day at The Forks provides space for celebration, reflection: attendees | CBC News

New approach to Canada Day at The Forks provides space for celebration, reflection: attendees | CBC News

People who attended a new kind of Canada Day celebration at The Forks in Winnipeg on Friday say the event gave them a chance to celebrate their country while reflecting on its past.

Mike Edwards came to the event with his family, all clad in orange shirts — the colour associated with honouring survivors and the families of Indigenous people forced to attend residential schools.

He said he liked the new direction the national historic site took to include more elements of Indigenous culture in its July 1 celebrations this year.

“While Canada is the place where I live, I think there are things that need to be recognized about the history of Canada. And I think that it’s important to recognize the history of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people,” he said. 

Edwards, who is not Indigenous, said he thinks there’s a way to balance Canada Day celebrations with reflections about the country’s history.

“But I think that after so many years of celebrating traditional Canada Day … it’s important to tip the scale the other way,” he said.

The national historic site — where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet, and which has been an important gathering spot for thousands of years — announced two weeks ago that after months of Indigenous-led discussions with community members, newcomers and youth, it decided to reshape what its usual July 1 events would look like.

The discussions followed last year’s discoveries of what are believed to be hundreds of unmarked graves at residential school sites across the country. 

Those findings led many to opt out of celebrating Canada Day in 2021 and instead spend the day honouring the thousands of children forced to attend the institutions.

Clare MacKay, executive director of The Forks, said the site wanted to offer people a variety of experiences this year, ranging from quiet spots for contemplation to places for gatherings and celebrations, as it looked to reimagine its July 1 events.

A woman smiles slightly as people gather in a space behind her.
Clare MacKay, the executive director of The Forks, says the site will offer its annual feedback survey at the end of the month, and will specifically ask people what they thought of the reimagined Canada Day celebrations. (Travis Golby/CBC)

“Canada Day is Canada Day. And we wanted to ensure that we could indicate that we were doing things differently, that we had consulted with our communities, with Indigenous people in particular, newcomers and youth,” MacKay said.

“That really is our intention for this entire day, is to bring everybody from our city here to learn from each other, to gather together, to move forward together.”

Newcomer excited to mark 1st Canada Day

MacKay said she hopes The Forks can build on this year’s work to create an even stronger program for July 1 next year. 

That may include fireworks, which were scrapped this year largely because of timing issues: programming ends at 6 p.m. and a fireworks show wouldn’t happen until 11 p.m.

But the site will also consider environmental and other impacts of the loud displays before offering fireworks again, she said.

The Forks will offer its annual feedback survey for the community at the end of the month. This year, it will specifically ask people what they thought of the reimagined Canada Day celebrations.

Those at the event Friday also included Camilo Nirvaz, who came to Canada from Colombia with his wife and dog two months ago.

Nirvaz said he was excited to mark his first Canada Day by celebrating his new country, and learning about its past and about Indigenous cultures.

“I will learn about the many traditions of Canada. History is so important, because when you introduce the history, customs, you will learn about the Canadian steps,” he said.

Two people sit in the grass looking on at a larger group of people sitting in a circle.
Friday’s event at The Forks had spaces for both quiet reflection and celebrations. (Sam Samson/CBC)

The day’s activities included lessons on how to create and offer tobacco ties into a fire, which Nathan Ertel and Shawn Thomas, from the St. Boniface Street Links outreach program, helped with.

Thomas, who is from Peguis First Nation, said he’s been learning more recently about Canada’s residential school system and hopes others spend some time this July 1 doing the same.

“It’s important now that people understand what’s going on,” he said.

Ertel, who is not Indigenous, said he hopes people put some thought into the different options they have to observe Canada Day.

“You can either celebrate it or you can remember [parts of Canada’s history], or you could do both,” he said. “It’s up to you to decide.”

Charles Woolford, who is from Wuskwi Sipihk First Nation, was among the fire keepers tending to the fire at The Forks on Friday.

Woolford, 25, said it was an honour to do that work, especially when it means sharing traditions with the younger generation or with people who have lost touch with their culture.

“It’s important for First Nations to learn our traditions and ceremonies again,” he said.

“We’ve got to think about our young ones, because they don’t know how to do that stuff.”

‘It isn’t political,’ says Assiniboia Downs attendee

Karen Suderman said she would normally attend Canada Day festivities at The Forks, but instead attended celebrations at Assiniboia Downs on Friday.

Suderman, who is Métis, doesn’t agree with the reimagining of Canada Day events at The Forks.

“To each their own,” she said. “It’s kind of sad that you are making it political, because it isn’t political. It’s Canada Day.”

Karen Suderman said she would normally go to Canada Day events at The Forks, but chose to celebrate at Assiniboia Downs this year instead. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Michelle Huot, who was also at Assiniboia Downs Friday, said she was conflicted about how to celebrate Canada’s birthday with her young family.

“I want to celebrate … but we have such a complicated history,” she said,  adding she’s trying to balance celebration with reflection.

“I think you can do both.”

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Niagara schools taking nuanced approach to teaching current events

Niagara schools taking nuanced approach to teaching current events

The war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Black racism, the impact of residential schools — there has been no shortage of concerns or topics of reflection in classrooms the past few years.

In response, Niagara school boards said they have taken a nuanced and thorough approach in bringing discussions about current events into the classroom.

That means relying on the relationships between faculty and students, and giving teachers tools and space to determine the best option to create a safe learning environment, said Michael St. John, superintendent of special education and mental health and well-being for District School Board of Niagara.

“The teachers in our system really pride themselves on, and take care in, knowing each of their students … knowing their learning, knowing their background, knowing their culture, knowing a great deal about their family,” said St. John.

“We don’t go in to teach about Ukraine, we respond to the needs of the students and the questions they may have, some of their natural curiosity and some of their musings and thinking.”

DSBN said its system works to create a foundation and a balance when it comes to world events such as Ukraine or Black Lives Matter, using resources from mental health and well-being teams in combination with resources that come from its curriculum department.

But it’s about more than academics, with teachers learning to how to identify struggling students, and how to appropriately respond.

It may involve a phone call home, or bringing in a counsellor, either for an individual student or for the entire classroom, to work on resiliency and social emotional learning, “which is a big part of our curriculum for kids and their mental health and well-being,” said St. John.

“It really is going to be a mixture and a balance and it’s pretty fluid with regards to what can, and is, being presented to acknowledge and honour all of the kids in the class.”

Jennifer Pellegrini, communications officer for Niagara Catholic District School Board, said students are encouraged to come forward about Ukraine or other global events, with conversations from a faith-based perspective, “focusing on the need for humanitarian aid, justice, compassion and empathy.”

“Questions and conversations may focus on the politics behind the war, and the history of the region. They may also focus on the importance of critical thinking about the information students are consuming online,” she said.

Conseil scolaire Viamonde, the public French school board, said in an email when it comes to the response to current world events, it relies solely on curriculum provided by the Ministry of Education.

DSBN student trustee Salony Sharma said the past few years have brought about “so much discussion and uncertainty” but has created a unique environment to learn and grow, especially as a high school student.

“It’s not like you’re reflecting on history, you’re reflecting on current events and news happening in the context of our own lives,” she said. “You’re starting to form your own perspectives and viewpoints on these things and be experiencing them in real time.”

Sharma, who is in her final year at Westlane Secondary in Niagara Falls, said those discussions have allowed students to use the classroom as “a hub of different perspectives.”

She credited teachers for that freedom, and for encouraging student-led conversations.

“That lets us have a very open conversation without the pressure of the teacher’s opinion or how that might be perceived as a student in their class,” she said.

“To have those conversations helped solidify my own voice … and make me think outside my own privilege or my own bubble.”

Jennifer McArthur, Niagara president of Elementary Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association, said teachers use their professional judgment and knowledge of their students to determine how and when to respond to current events.

Some engage students through visual arts by creating a lesson of painting sunflowers, while another may include the Ukraine war as a choice for a topic on written reflection.

But it goes beyond the age or grade of the student and their development, with teachers considering students’ social-emotional needs to make sure they “feel safe.” They also take into consideration the amount of understanding or exposure to current events students may have.

“A teacher with students who are refugees would consider previous and potential trauma that may affect how students react to the topic of Ukraine,” she said.

“If a child has friends or relatives directly affected, their understanding will be vastly different from a student living in a house where it is not being discussed.”

Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers’ Federation District 22 president Shannon Smith said teachers throughout the province engage students in ongoing conversations about current events as an opportunity to teach critical thinking.

“They engage students in ways that are pertinent to their subject area. Whether it’s learning traditional folk music from different countries or incorporating more inclusive novels in their English class, teachers present students with opportunities to expand their understanding of history and social justice,” said Smith.