Two hundred guests, 20 Team members, 12 weeks’ preparation, two really big bottles of booze, and over $10,000 raised for Kwantlen’s President’s Ambassadorial Team’s very own Scholarship Endowment Fund.

Friday evening proved to be a huge success for the PAT: Our second annual fundraiser, held at Fraser Downs Racetrack and Casino, essentially tripled the total raised at last year’s event. Our toonie toss was a profit machine, our 50/50 raffle saw one lucky guest walk away with $928, and the all-you-can-eat buffet kept everyone happy and well-fed. Plus, our goodie bags were a hit, and the fast-paced horse-racing, and betting, kept everyone entertained.

Planning an event can be incredibly stressful, but when most of the problems you have to deal with are relatively positive, the only thing you can do is take a deep breath and smile: We ran out of seats because too many people wanted to attend, we barely had enough table space for our silent auction items because so many generous businesses supported our endeavour, and not every PAT member got the opportunity to participate as much as I’m sure they would have liked to, because the ones involved were just too good at what they were doing.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m walking away from the evening with a lot of pride for what we managed to pull off.

I’m also walking away having learned several life and event-planning lessons: Some I learned the hard way, but others I’ve discovered after having had some time to reflect on the whole process.

But at the end of the day, the purpose of the event was not only met, but exceeded. The PAT is now well over half-way to meeting their original $20,000 goal. So really, the fun is just beginning: A third annual event would definitely get us past that mark, and then we get to hand out scholarship money to another generation of students, and maybe even future PATs. For me, that’s the best part.

In the meantime, a shout-out to my irreplaceable current PATs, and wonderfully supportive friends and family. “The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.” — Margaret Carty


Friday night, I had the opportunity to attend the Mayor’s Gala, hosted by Surrey mayor Diane Watts as a fundraiser for the Firefighters Association.

The ball was a black-tie event, with approximately 650 of the city’s elite in attendance. After all, it cost guests $1,000 a seat to go, so you knew you were among business royalty.

You also knew that it had to be a spectacular evening.

And it was.

Held in an abandoned shopping mall that had ceased construction several years ago due to a lack of funding, the space was decorated with Andy Warhol-like prints and living statues covered in body paint. An open bar served cosmos and an assortment of colourful cocktails, while dozens of chandeliers lit the space, and men in uniform sold tiny gold boxes at $100 a piece for the chance to win a $10,000 diamond ring.

Dinner began at 7 p.m., although I’m pretty sure the main course wasn’t served until 9 p.m. So for a couple of hours, diners were entertained by emcee Mark Madryga, host Diane Watts and the world’s fastest painter, Dan Dunn.

I didn’t recognize his name at first, but I knew who he was as soon as he began to paint what seemed to be an abstract doodle. But in about the time it took to play one-and-a-half songs, he spun his canvas around, and the accurately-detailed face of Elvis was clearly visible. His second painting was a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, done in Warhol colours.

After the filet mignon, we were each served a plate with several dessert samplings, most of which involved sparkles of some kind. And while I enjoyed something very chocolaty while just a little too much gusto, the Canadian Tenors performed.

It was certainly a night to remember, and maybe one day, if that mall is ever completed, I can walk through the shops while telling my grandchildren that the floor where we’re shopping once hosted the most unbelievably extravagant party I had ever been to.

I also hope that I’ll be able to tell them that I was invited back the year after…

But despite the frivolities and perks of it all, the best part of the evening was that everything, from the open bar to the VIP RiverRock show tickets, was donated, so that every penny raised went to the Firefighters Association, which supports over 80 local charities and organizations.

So assuming that there were 650 people there, I’m sure that close to three-quarters of a million dollars was raised for Surrey that night.

That has the power to do a lot of good.


Last night was my first formal opportunity to practice my continental-style eating habits.

The DIVERSEcity awards, held at the Executive Airport Plaza hotel in Richmond, honoured businesses and organizations of different sizes that value multiculturalism and incorporate ethnic diversity into their business plans.

I was there on behalf of Kwantlen as a PAT member. My friend for the evening was a sociology and criminology professor from the school.

The evening was long, and featured interesting music and keynote speaker Roy Henry Vickers, a First Nations artist and recipient of the Order of Canada, among other achievements.

One of the highlights was the food. It was a buffet, with selections from Italy, Greece, India and Japan. Dessert included tiramisu and, my personal favourite, baclava.

I didn’t slurp my coffee, nor did I chew with my mouth open. But there was no way I was getting the flaky and crumbly Greek dessert on the back of my fork.

So I cheated the continental rules a little bit, but no one noticed. In the end, I think it’s better to be focused on enjoying the food and the company around you than focusing on how to eat while ignoring everyone else.

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I spent my evening enjoying a lovely four-course meal at the Four Points Sheraton in Richmond with several Kwantlen business students and fellow PAT (President’s Ambassador Team) members.

The dinner set the scene for a business etiquette session with Cheryl Samusevich, a corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant (according to her business card) from Nebraska.

Over the course of two and half hours, we learned how to properly and professionally indulge in our tomato soup, chicken and potatoes, garden salad and chocolate cake, in accordance with the continental style of dining.

I’m no stranger to eating in formal settings, and I am generally overly conscious of how I eat in public. But I found that there were so many little details that I was unaware of, and that slowed down the eating process considerably.

Now I am full and well-learned in the art of (fine) dining, a skill which is apparently an important one to have when dealing with executives and well-learned individuals.

Here are some of the lessons I learned this evening:

1. A diner sits down on the right side of their chair, and stands up from the same side.

2. Salads are served after the entrée as a palate-cleanser. They are also more enjoyable to eat when you are not starving for actual food.

3. Sherry is served with soup, white wine with chicken or fish, red with red meat and champagne with desserts. Champagne also accompanies toasts (as in speeches and not the charred bread variety).

4. Each meal has a guest of honour and a host. The guest is always served first and has their plate cleared first, but the host, served last, takes the first and last bite of each course.

5. When being toasted, you never drink to yourself.

6. When passing bread or butter or coffee cream, you pass it around the table in a counter-clockwise manner, beginning with the guest.

7. Salt and pepper are always passed as a pair.

8. To eat your dessert, you have a fork and a spoon. The spoon acts as a knife.

9. The utensils are never put down on the plate, unless you are taking a drink. You don’t switch your fork from hand to hand either: You simply shovel food onto the back of the fork and put it in your mouth upside down.

10. If the waiter gives you poor service, you may choose to tip him five or 10 per cent, but you must explain to him why you did so.

Finally, and most importantly, when the waiter drops the coffee cream all over your designer purse and a pair of your favourite designer shoes, just keep calm, and carry on.

(For the fashionistas, fashionistos and label-lovers out there, no accessories were permanently harmed over the course of the night. My giraffe heels were salvaged in all of their glory.)

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This week will be my last at Breakfast Television, as I am now just over two weeks away from finishing my second year at Kwantlen.

Last week was great: I went to two live-eye events, meaning I was on location and away from the station for two of the shows. I spent Wednesday morning with Dawn, who reported from Florence Nightingale elementary school in Vancouver where mayor Gregor Robertson was flipping pancakes for the KidSafe Project Society “Heroes Among us” breakfast.

On Thursday, I went to Kwantlen’s Cloverdale campus with Greg to learn about the school’s farrier program.

I learned a lot from being on location. Not only are you constantly faced with the challenges of broadcasting live (timing, changes, etc.), but you also have to make each segment different, visually and content-wise.

After three hours in a barn on Thursday (dying of allergies), I headed off to Cavalia for a pre-tape. Again, it was good to see how much planning and effort goes into making each clip unique and interesting.

Friday was a calmer day, and I was given an election project to work on.

I spent this weekend catching up on sleep, working on school projects and packing away my life. Having lived in a house with no tables and only two patio chairs, an air mattress and a baby grand piano on the main floor for what seems like ages, I’m looking forward to getting the move over with.

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#24 Get paid for journalism

Working, writing, reporter or photographing for free isn’t recommended by the professors teaching the various courses in my journalism program.

That concept is one of the two that us students are constantly reminded of: the other is that journalism isn’t easy, whether it’s getting interviews, working your way up the career-ladder or simply getting a job.

While the idea of working for pay seems obvious, the point is to work for either pay or work experience, and to make sure we gain something from the experience itself.

Technically I had been paid for journalism prior to this post, but it was also prior to the creation of this list, and therefore didn’t count (no retroactivity here).

So today “officially” marks the day I get paid for journalism, because my contributor cheque from the Kwantlen Runner came in the mail.

It feels good to know that I am not only getting published but am getting money for doing so.

It’s also a good thing that I am writing for the Runner for the experience of working for a paper: my cheque was for $5.

11 down, 90 to go.

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