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


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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