This month, the C.KAY International team celebrates five years in business. Five fabulous roller-coaster years of creating and delivering conferences and events all over the world. High five to my team and our amazing colleagues and clients across the globe!
The traditional gift for a five-year anniversary is wood. Seriously? Wood? Surely celebrating five years in the event planning business deserves something a bit more… fizzy? A round of champagne for all, I say!
What a Five Years
Five years ago I took a deep breath – and the plunge – into entrepreneurship and created C.KAY International. It’s been a whirlwind. It feels like yesterday, and a lifetime ago, that I jumped in and opened my business bank account.
In those five years, my team and I have traveled all over the world to deliver events I believe were extraordinary for the top-notch clients we’re honored to work with. Those events couldn’t have happened without the partnership of the most talented, creative, and service-obsessed professionals in the events world: production crews, caterers, mixologists, film crews, venue staff, security teams, ice carvers, plus donkeys, kittens, and a litter of puppies (I love my human partners, but those puppies stole my heart…)
Our roller coaster ride has had many high points: sales meetings in Berlin, an executive ski retreat in Montana, eSports events in Ukraine, massive conferences in Las Vegas, holiday celebrations in Seattle, a press conference in the middle of Texas, award ceremonies in Vancouver, B.C. and a special thrill for me as a Brit living in the U.S.: supporting the U.K. government in welcoming the Red Arrows (the Royal Airforce aerobatic team) to the U.S. That was a high-flying evening!
The five years also had low points. Unimaginable violence in two cities where we were holding events, and of course, the pandemic. Like all our colleagues in the global event, hospitality, and travel industries, our business came to screeching halt practically overnight. We lost every bit of business we had on the books in the blink of an eye.
A New Turn on the Roller Coaster
Another deep breath and another plunge – into the world of virtual events. We quickly bounced back from the shut-down of in-person gatherings and came up with new and creative ways to bring people together. We became virtual event maestros. Our team has become broadcasters, producers, online stage managers, show callers, pet parade organizers, and online technology gurus.
We’ve now delivered virtual events for almost two years: globe-spanning online conferences, executive briefing broadcasts from desks, keynote addresses, panel discussions, a symposium for cancer survivors, executive whiskey networking nights, wine tastings, investor and start-up summits, press conferences, and puppy cams (I had to find a way to get those puppies back!)
Riding That Roller Coaster
Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Like many business owners, I find myself lonely at times. But I’ve worked hard to surround myself with fabulous colleagues. I have a great team that keeps me going and fills me with positivity.
We’re constantly pondering what’s next. What can we take on? What should we walk away from? We’re a team that takes risks. Life is too short to not take them.
We’re excited to be moving forward as COVID thankfully begins to decline globally. We’re shedding our work-at-home PJs and slipping back into business casual.
Right now I’m on a site visit for a potential live event for a client. Live events are back! But virtual events aren’t going away. We’re looking ahead to the promising future of hybrid events that offer the best of the in-person and virtual worlds.
Thank you to everyone for an amazing five years: to my team, colleagues, clients, friends, and especially my mum, for always being there, through all the ups and downs. Now, onto the next five years and beyond!