Memorable Meetings

Meetings designed for delight

Because meetings aren’t just about getting stuff done.

Memorable Meetings

Meetings designed for delight

Because meetings aren’t just about getting stuff done.

If your gatherings aren’t inspiring joy and delight, you’re shortchanging your people, your organization – and yourself.

To really unlock your team’s potential, your meetings also need to:

  • Build connection and relationships
  • Cultivate innovation and leadership
  • Spark collective creativity
  • Create pleasure in being together

And the good news is that when you do all of these things, you actually get more stuff done – and you get it done better! Because when people feel connected to each other, trust goes up. When trust goes up people are more willing to take risks, which boosts both creativity and innovation. And in an atmosphere of trust, creativity and connection, everyone works at their best – and that’s when the magic starts to happen.

How it Happens

It all starts with purposeful fun

And what is that, you wonder? I’m glad you asked! I define purposeful fun as a customized set of playful activities that evoke curiosity and wonder, build empathy and trust, spark laughter and delight, and open the door to new possibilities and creative breakthroughs.

The activities change according to the need. Sometimes it’s about telling stories. Sometimes it’s unleashing the inner artist. Sometimes it involves drawing on the principles and practices of applied improv. Always it’s about cultivating an atmosphere of exploration, discovery and joy.

Whether it’s a visioning process, a planning meeting, a team-building session or a staff retreat, I design for conviviality and connection, putting the heart at the centre — where it belongs. And I unleash your team’s creativity through purposeful play, working hand-in-hand with you to tailor it to your unique needs, whatever the purpose of your gathering.

Let’s talk about how I can design your gatherings for delight … and bring your team’s best into play!

Real Life Stories

Technical Safety BC

In-house retreat for Technical Safety BC

The goal for this daylong retreat was twofold: (1) Guide the executive team and senior leaders through a day of meaningful engagement with the TSBC Strategy, and (2) strengthen the relationship between the two teams to enable them to work more effectively together.

My task was to design a day that was out of the ordinary – a “magical” day that would spark people’s creativity, stretch their imaginations, and open up fresh ways of thinking and doing. We set the stage even before the event by designing invitations that would prime people for a different kind of experience, and creating a physical environment that would inspire creativity and play. Once in the room, we began with activities designed to create connection and deepen relationships – and the focus on connection and play was designed into every activity of the day, which included visuals, improv, Open Space and group storytelling. The result, according to participants, was “a wonderful day full of growth, learning and passion.”

The feedback from everyone has been excellent, and I am blown away not only with how open and fun it was, but also how far we got in creating something that feels very real and useful. The process was fantastic and the end result is impressive.

Kate Baillie

VP Marketing & Communications, Technical Safety BC

Delta School District: Vision 2030

District-wide multi-month visioning process

In 2021 I led a team with Stina Brown and Meriko Kubota to support a strategic engagement process for Vision 2030, Delta School District’s next ten-year vision.

Delta has a history of engaging a wide diversity of stakeholders, including administrators, staff, parents, students, and other community members, to learn what is most important to them and reflect those priorities in the district’s vision, mission and values. In 2021, for the first time, the entire process had to be conducted online due to the pandemic.

Working with the school district leadership and an advisory committee made up of diverse stakeholders, our team designed and hosted a series of online gatherings over several months, connecting and hearing from people who could not be in a physical space together. In addition to facilitating these gatherings, we collected information and ideas from over 3000 participants using collaborative digital technologies like Miro, Kudoboard and online surveys, and trained school administrators in using these technologies with their staff.

Out of all this input, the district arrived at a new mission, vision, values, and key priorities, which we distilled into a summary graphic.

Vancouver Kingsway: Office of Don Davies

Team building and goal-setting for parliamentary staff

I designed and facilitated two day-long retreats for Member of Parliament Don Davies to bring together his Vancouver and Ottawa staff.

The goal of both these retreats was to strengthen relationships among staff at opposite ends of the country, help them achieve a heightened sense of efficacy both individually and as a team, and prepare for the upcoming election.

“Having lots of fun” was another important goal, so I brought in plenty of purposeful play to help the staff get to know each other, identify values and vision, understand themselves as a team, and strategize toward the election. (Yes! Strategizing can be fun too!) I created visual templates and graphics to help them see their ideas clearly, and encouraged them to tap into their own creativity through drawing, play-acting and storytelling.

All in all, the retreats were deemed “a resounding success”, and I’ve been part of MP Davies’s support team ever since!

Dare to Fail Gloriously!

Workshop for the International Forum of Visual Practitioners 2020 conference

We’re all taught that success is what counts and failure is something to be ashamed of. But in fact, all of us fail at some point – and we need to fail in order to learn and grow. Indeed, we need to fail gloriously, as my favourite art teacher used to exhort us.

That is, to take the kinds of risks that are the only path to eventual success, but will often cause us to fail spectacularly along the way. So how could I resist the invitation to partner with Yolanda Liman of Drawing It Out to facilitate a participatory workshop on failure? Especially when we couldn’t fail even if we failed, with a topic like this! But the positive response was overwhelming. We clearly tapped into something big, as the workshop brought up a lot of emotion, vulnerable sharing, and a strong sense of community. We thought a group face palm shot was a perfect end to this failure workshop, which was a resounding success! 

What People Are Saying

I feel so fortunate to have partnered with Avril many times over the years, from a strategic retreat with my executive team, to a business planning prioritization and leadership development workshop with all senior management. Each time I was thrilled with the co-creation, joint ownership of outcomes and incredible sense of fun, and the trust and connection that resulted. Avril‘s magic is her absolute faith in people’s ability to imagine and create their future.

Catherine Roome

Lead Executive Officer, Technical Safety BC

Avril designed and facilitated two day-long retreats for my staff. In a word, she was brilliant: smart, perceptive and able to pierce to the essence of an issue. Avril has a rare ability to articulate positions accurately and respectfully. And her skills at visually capturing and depicting the “big picture” – and just as importantly, the paths to achieve our goals – are simply outstanding. Avril made our sessions fun and a resounding success. She is always a valuable part of our planning process!

Don Davies

Member of Parliament, Vancouver Kingsway

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