Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
There are two CEOs of Allure Carnival Joanne Webster and Chris Henry. “I have been a part of the entertainment industry for 9 years now. I started as a promoter and ended up creating and hosting events up until this day; in the downtown core district. I have a love for art; as I grew up in art, from painting, drawing, and designing you name it. I’m also a VERY proud carribean. The last 6 years being a part of the carnival makes me feel at home. I get to combine all my passions with my culture! That’s love!” – Joanne Webster (CEO)
“I do it for the culture. Carnival has allowed me to put my entrepreneur and business skills to the benefits of my culture! I also have the enjoyment of helping to bring forth the youth’s marketing approach to a festival; to help it grow; through our content creations for every social niche” – Chris Henry
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
The most interesting story that happened to us since we started doing this has got to be our first year as a band. At that time we were called Carnival Redemption. It was one of the biggest moves we ever made in all of our lives. We were not pre-warned of the financial, mental, and physical commitment it came with. There were no handouts, and close to no guidelines in the business. Therefore coming in as the youngest made it very hard for us. Its either you grew up in it; with your family, so you can learn; or you make connections in the business and hope to learn from them. Most of the people in this industry are older than younger; so luckily our downfall of being the youngest was also a positive for us. Due to the fact that we are young and trendy, which means we understand how to use SEO, Marketing, and social media to our advantage. That year was very interesting it was very much going with the flow, a lot of trials and tribulations.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Plan a year ahead in every aspect ( marketing plan, designs, etc). Practice your craft in advance to be ready for production; and we try to make a trustful connection to outsource production.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
One particular person who we are truly grateful towards is Calvin Taylor. He was our mentor for our first year in the carnival industry. Coming into the carnival industry was very hard for us as mentioned being the youngest. None of the other bandleaders had a guideline on how to run a band as they all do things differently, and don’t like to share as it’s a competition. Calvin Taylor was the parade route manager at the time for the Toronto Caribbean carnival with the festival management office. He believed in us from the start and granted us our interview to become a band. He believes that because; we were young, business-minded, and artists that we would succeed, and bring a new market into the festival. After we got accepted he spent a lot of time helping us with what he was able to help with. Which had a lot to do with sponsorships; and being road ready with our music truck for the parade date. This was 50% of being a band in terms of staying in the competition.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
We embrace the youths to take part in the cultural arts through summer programs which also helps keep them positively occupied in our mas camp ( costume production/ display location). We do this throughout summer programs with Toronto district school board, and boys and girls clubs. We also are able to extend community hours to students that need them for school graduation purposes. The camp is known for being a very vibey environment. Due to the fact most section leaders do everything by hand, the production process is long. Soon you would find yourself staying in the camp for a couple of months more than home; you would only return home to shower. We listen to music, dance, create, hang out, cook, meet new people, view costumes, sell costumes, and enjoy summer in the camp. Some people who are looking to doing something with their time come in and volunteer their services; just because they like to be in the environment it uplifts their mental.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
”Don’t get tie-up ” – Don’t get tie-up means always keep your head in the game, dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s. In this carnival industry, it’s very easy to mess up. You have to make a plan and stick to it. Not following a plan step by step will add extras your not ready for. Do nothing more nothing less or you will get tie-up.
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