Posted on July 14th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

NataliaPragmatic, focused and decisive – Originally from Poland, Natalia and her family made their way to Canada when she was only six years old. “I was told we were coming to a new place and a new life where anything is possible, and I believed it,” Natalia mentioned to Marilyn Wasney, Department Head, Event & Venue Management, Trebas Institute, when she started the Program.

Natalia’s event management career would not be as direct as she would have liked. “I spent my 20s trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. I kept trying my hand at a variety of roles sports management, pharmaceutical sales but none of these felt right. I felt like I was going nowhere and I did not belong anywhere specific, like I was displaced. I knew that I enjoyed certain aspects of some of the jobs but not one fully. Once I took the areas that I liked and was good at I realized they fit into event management. I researched the different schools and programs and decided on Trebas. I wanted a school that offered what I considered to be the best curriculum for me, and that was on the operations side. I think taking the EVM Program was the best decision that I have made so far in my life”.

When Natalia started in the Event & Venue Management Program she struggled as many students do when returning to school after being away for many years. “There is a certain level of commitment required for the EVM Program as it is intensive in nature,” noted Marilyn Wasney, “Natalia’s determination allowed her to figure this out pretty quickly – and when she did, she got focused and persevered”.

Being a hands-on person, Natalia also realized that if she was truly going to make it in events she needed to volunteer. “By volunteering, students start to see events through a different lens, this allows them to bring their education to real life,” commented Marilyn Wasney. “I wanted to learn as much as possible about the event industry – I want to see and be a part of it all and I did,” noted Natalia.

Seven weeks into the program Natalia’s event side really opened up – the struggle was over and Natalia was on her way. The weeks progressed and so did Natalia’s volunteering experiences – from baby steps to being involved with some major events. She volunteered with the Arthritis Society, Reel World, FanExpo, and Music Niagara, where she planned and executed a medium scale concert – handling everything from catering to stanchions and connecting with CEOs. More importantly, as Natalia’s experiences grew, so did her confidence level – she was living the connection between school and the real world and began to see that there was a true place for her in the event industry.

A major Program highlight for Natalia was the Exhibit Marketing course where Natalia took research to a whole new level. Working on a Polo Match for the Heart & Stroke Foundation, she involved herself fully by volunteering at another Polo Match (Richmond Hill) in order to really understand all aspects of the event and thus her project, which won her accolades from fellow students and even those within the Heart & Stroke Foundation.


Natalia’s big event breakthrough occurred when she received word that her internship would be at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC). Natalia remembers, “I can’t believe that I, ME, I am going to the MTCC. If you would have told me that at the beginning of the program, I would never have believed it in a million years that I would be able to do it – but now, bring it on!”

In order for Natalia to adapt quickly, she was completely immersed in the MTCC culture – and adapt she did. On the front lines from day one, Natalia began training on their systems, attending meetings, taking part in large events/small events, set-ups and take downs. “Natalia is someone who is able to accommodate and transition herself to the needs in her surrounding environment. Maybe it’s a result of her experiencing new surroundings and having to readapt from an early age, maybe it has helped her. She is very efficient and does not waste her words when she speaks which contributes to her being clear and focused in her direction,” stated Marilyn Wasney.

The day before Natalia’s internship ended she was offered the position of Exhibitor Services Representative.However, this was not to be Natalia’s fate. When she showed up to work on her first day, a half-hour into her new space, she found herself being called in to see her supervisor. “I thought I was going to be fired and I just started”, commented Natalia, “but I wasn’t – I was promoted! I am the Supervisor, Docks Department.”

The MTCC encompasses 2.8 million square/feet and in 2015 held 45 major conventions (such as FanExpo, an event which students worked), 332 meetings, 42 tradeshows, and 71 banquets all of which Natalia as Supervisor gets to work on with the assistance of approximately 48 union staff whom she is responsible for. Together, they coordinate the logistics for set-up, load-in and out for these events.

“It took a lot to get to where I am today, my journey taught me to always follow your heart and believe – really believe, even when you feel you can’t do it, you have to because believing becomes reality, just look at me and my life now”.


Jerry Bishop (Business Assessment Solutions) presented Natalia with her award.

By Marilyn Wasney, Department Head, Event & Venue Management Program

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