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365 Days of Celebration
Telfer School’s Guy Laflamme is making Ottawa the heart of Canada’s big party.
Guy Laflamme has a message for Telfer School students and alumni who have gone through the rigors of preparing detailed business plans: “I feel your pain.” A professor of marketing and strategic management at the school since 1990, he has asked hundreds of students over the years to map out their entrepreneurial ideas this way. So all Guy could do was smile knowingly when—two months after being appointed by Ottawa’s mayor to lead the city’s efforts to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation—he gave himself the task of crafting a comprehensive business plan to make Canada’s capital the heart of the country’s 2017 celebration. Turnabout is fair play, Guy.
The Telfer MBA grad (class of 1989), and recipient of the school’s Trudeau Medal in 2005, took on his self-assigned challenge with gusto. Guy swiftly produced a 400-page business plan that covered every aspect of the yearlong party—from tiptoeing through political minefields, to assembling a top-flight team, to raising and managing contributions of $40 million, to conceiving, planning and producing some 150 separate events. One of the first recommendations of his proposal was for the city to create a not-for-profit entity, supported by funds from multiple sources, to manage the entire complex effort. Soon after, the Ottawa 2017 Bureau was created and Guy was named as its executive director.
Then came the really hard part. Bringing his blueprint to life forced Guy to call on the range of skills he has nurtured as a student, a professor and an impresario of spectacular celebrations throughout Canada and in countries around the world. He has needed and tested all his talents. In orchestrating the unceasing and innumerable tasks of Ottawa 2017, Guy has been planner, manager, fundraiser, promoter, artistic director and producer.
Now the moment of truth has arrived. Three years of painstaking preparation have given way to 365 exhilarating days of celebration, which is expected to generate more than $320 million for the local economy. Guy’s alma mater is also marking an anniversary of its own in 2017: A decade has passed since Ian Telfer’s generous gift gave our school its distinctive name and a solid financial foundation on which to build an exceptional learning and research institution. In this year of celebration for our school, city and country, all of us at the Telfer School salute Guy for the indispensable role he’s played in making our hometown the place to be throughout 2017, and for showing vividly what it truly means to be connected to what matters most.
Now let’s get this party started!
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