Details Convention & Event Management is pleased to announce its 30th year in business as Calgary’s longest-running events management company. Formed in 1988 by Jean Silzer and Debralee Fernets, Details came into being after the two met taking a certificate program in tourism at the University of Calgary. At the time, there were no programs focussed solely on event planning. Their first client was “Winning Women,” a group of women who tried to increase the number of women entering and winning political seats. From there, Details went on to plan a wide array of events for clients including Travel Alberta, GrowCanada and Inn from the Cold.
Much of Jean’s early event-planning experience came from volunteering at events and conventions. But with her background as a teacher, she believed that formal training and industry standards were the best way to legitimize the profession. She became the first certified meeting professional (CMP) in Alberta in 1990. Jean was also instrumental in creating standards in Canada’s event industry, helping to create standards documents for Meeting Professionals International’s Canadian Council and the federal government’s Department of Human Resources Development. Jean also started the Alberta chapter of Meeting Professionals International, which later separated into Calgary and Edmonton chapters.
This emphasis on learning also guided the many conferences that Jean planned. “The best value you can provide to attendees is to have them take home great new pieces of information that make their jobs and lives easier,” she says.
Jean eventually took over the entire ownership of Details, and her daughter, Niesa, joined the fold in 2005. With stage management and event-planning experience under her belt, Niesa brought her expertise to Details, and has continued to grow the production side of the business. Jean retired in 2016, turning the reins over to Niesa, who maintains Details as an award-winning company, garnering personal accolades such as Connect magazine’s Top 40 under 40 and event recognition such as Best Large Meeting and Best Conference for the Travel Alberta Industry Conference event.
Details could have easily become a large company, but it chose to stay small. Jean and Niesa both love planning, and they wanted to focus on providing that service directly to their clients, not by managing a team to do it for them. Their focus has always been on the people they work with, and helping them put on memorable events. “Over 30 years, we’ve seen so much growth in the event industry, but a lot has also stayed the same,” says Niesa. “The key is to take a deep look at an organization’s objectives and then create an event that exceeds them. I’m committed to my clients to continue to push the envelope, but also to never lose sight of why we’re producing an event in the first place.”