Whistler’s Inspired Group readies for growth 

Whistler’s Inspired Group has announced the appointment of Dean Nelson to the position of Lead Innovator, Sales, the first full-time sales manager the company has created since its inception in 1999.

Forecasted growth through 2003 and significant success during the past year’s overall industry downturn has prompted the decision to expand, hiring Nelson to focus solely on new business development.

Inspired Group is an event architect company that designs and executes memorable, high-end corporate events and weddings. Co-owners Auli Parviainen and Leah Williams have built Inspired into a successful Whistler-based business with clients across North America in just three years. Their unique approach to designing custom events and providing unparalleled client service has facilitated their success, and has caught the attention of a number of highly influential international corporations.

"This has been a defining year for Inspired ," recalls Williams. "We struggled last September and faced a number of difficult decisions, as many businesses in the tourism and conference industry did. Our approach was to fight through it and aggressively go after new business, launching our high-end Weddings division at the same time. The efforts and investment have paid off ten-fold. We’re now entering this year poised for expansion with a bigger team and doubled revenue targets."

The new Lead Innovator, Sales position will be responsible for revenue-generation. Dean Nelson comes to Inspired with 12 years of hotel industry experience, most recently as Group Sales Manager at Whistler’s Pan Pacific Lodge. Nelson’s involvement in four hotel grand openings and countless corporate events, along with his passion for creativity and personalized program design, make him the ideal addition to the Inspired team.

"I’ve been working with Inspired for two years through my role at the Pan Pacific," says Nelson. "We have always had a synergy where we shared the bigger picture – helping clients to create a customized, unique, unforgettable experience for their guests. Moving over to Inspired gives me further opportunity to participate and thrive in this creative environment. I’m very excited to be joining the team."

In addition to Nelson, Tamsyn Morote has been hired as the company’s Lead Innovator, Client Service, bringing the total to five full-time staff and countless contractors to assist on specific events. Morote developed many of her client service skills at the Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler, where she worked for three years.

Inspired Group was created three years ago when two friends, Parviainen and Williams, who had both recently tired of the corporate world, vowed to only work for themselves from that point forward. Their brainchild was to provide corporate groups with a customized, unique ‘back-door’ experience of Whistler – created by event architects who were intimately knowledgeable of and passionate about the resort. Both women had participated in corporate incentive trips and had found them uninspiring and dull — often just a regurgitation of an event formula that provided little connection to a corporate message or philosophy. Armed with energy, passion, and no preconceived notions of ‘how it works’, Parviainen and Williams set out to make it all happen.

After one year of juggling a new business concept and independent contracts to pay the bills, Inspired was busy enough for the partners to abandon their secondary contracts and concentrate solely on the business. Next, events like the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival’s Pro Photographer Showdown and Whistler Blackcomb’s Millennium Bash provided valuable portfolio material, and then their major break emerged. The brand new Westin Resort & Spa was celebrating its grand opening and Inspired was invited to pitch.

"Our motto is that anything is possible to achieve a purpose or complement a program," says Parviainen. "If someone asks why, we ask why not? It has never occurred to us that perhaps something can’t be done…"

Looking ahead, Inspired plans to extend their sphere of influence beyond Whistler and work to develop client events around the world.

The attached photo is of a recent corporate dinner for the Anthony Robbins group in the Soo Valley. Photo Credit: Coast Mountain Photography

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