Employee Spotlight: Katrina Verweel
Katrina Verweel is known for her organizational superpowers, for example, she will be on maternity leave in the next week but has already managed to plan about 70% of our fall tradeshows! Katrina is a huge force to be reckoned with on our Marketing team and leads up WhiteWater’s Tradeshow & Events program.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Ontario where I received my Undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Guelph. I quickly decided that wasn’t the route for me and pursued a post graduate certificate in Corporate Communications and Public Relations where I got a taste of event planning for the first time. I later moved west to Vancouver where I have been living for the last 7.5 years.
I am an avid runner, snowboarder, and hiker and enjoy planning events both for work and in my free time. One of my favourite events I have planned was my wedding last summer, we rented a chateau south of Paris for a week and had an amazing time with family and close friends complete with a cheese “cake.”
What do you do at WhiteWater?
My role at WhiteWater is the Tradeshow and Events Manager where I plan over 35 tradeshows around the world every year, including client event parties in Europe and Orlando.
Or, at least, that is what I do in a normal year. 2020 has been rough but I am optimistic that 2021 will get better for tradeshows and events.
What do you find to be the most rewarding about your role at WhiteWater?
The most rewarding part of my role is being in our IAAPA tradeshow booth and seeing our hard work come to life after long hours in the office and months of preparation. Everyone on our team works so hard so I find it truly amazing to see it all come together in the construction for opening day. In fact, this past IAAPA in November 2019 we had one of our busiest first days ever in the booth.
I also find it rewarding to see our Sales Team and the industry all connect in an informal setting at the events that I help to plan. It is cool to know I had a small hand in strengthening our relationships with clients and friends of the industry.
What’s one thing that surprised you about working at WhiteWater?
I came from a completely different corporate culture than the one at WhiteWater so when I made the switch, I was very surprised at how easy it was to fit in and make new friends. I love how many like-minded and fun people there are here. Everyone is very energetic and friendly, and I find it refreshing to be a part of a positive, athletic corporate culture. I was not expecting working here to be as fun as it is.
If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would it be?
I would like to be able to snap my fingers and be able to predict the future of the events industry… It would be nice to be able to foresee the big unknown question mark of when the meetings and events industry will get back to normal.
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
I would like to be played by Bruce Willis because I feel like my life is always full of action, and movies these days just don’t compare to action movies from the 90s. Plus, he is shamelessly my favourite actor.
What still surprises you about your role?
I am still surprised by how quickly things can change. You can try to be as prepared as possible, but there are so many factors at play that are constantly causing things to change which keeps me on my toes. I try and work by the idea to always “hope for the best, plan for the worst.”
What’s on your bucket list?
I love traveling, especially to South America and Europe. On my bucket list is to do the Cordillera Huayhuash trek near Huaraz in Peru. It’s a 115km circular trek that usually spans 9-days featuring beautiful mountain lakes and 6000m peaks. I have done Machu Picchu, Atacama Desert, and Patagonia in South America, but there is still so much more to see (and hike).
What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
One of my major hobbies is running. I have ran 7 full marathons to date, including the Boston marathon in 2018. I’m hoping to run the Chicago marathon in 2021 and I’d also like to run the London and Rotterdam marathons in the future. I am also involved in the local meetings and events industry on the Meeting Planners International (MPI) board as Director of Events, planning local events in and around Vancouver.
What’s your favourite summer activity and why?
My favourite summer activities include biking around Vancouver, going to the beach, hanging with friends in a variety of parks around Vancouver, and backcountry camping. To sum up all these activities, I guess I just really like being outdoors because Vancouver is a beautiful place to call home.