Our stunning and seemingly endless gardens are a perfect setting for a variety of events. From small to large scale functions, we provide a five star service to ensure guests create lasting memories. With the many years of hosting many different Southern Ontario events, we know what it takes to prepare for a successful corporate event.  
We recently caught up with Nicole Lazaruk, Sales and Event Coordinator for both LIUNA Gardens and LIUNA Station, to find out what you can expect from LIUNA when hosting a corporate event, her favourite memorable events held in the Gardens, and what you should know when planning your upcoming corporate event.
LG:  Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your position at LIUNA Gardens
NL: I am a Sales and Event Coordinator for both LIUNA Gardens and LIUNA Station.  At LIUNA Gardens, my role is to assist clients in choosing LIUNA Gardens to host their event and then be their direct contact in the planning stages leading right up until the day of their event.  My responsibility is also to ensure the clients’ requests are communicated to our operations team who really make the magic happen. Our culinary team lead by Executive Chef Amanda Steen and our Operations Manager Salman Joseph along with his youthful, energetic staff, execute the contract details developed by me in consultation with the client.
LG: What are some of the ways you measure a successful corporate event?
NL: Whether it is a small business meeting of 30 people with a continental breakfast or a large scale Gala with extravagant décor and entertainment; I consider it a successful event if the guests and the individual clients are happy.  Every company will have their own idea of a successful event, as every goal of a corporate event is unique to that particular business. Repeat business is also flattering for us at LIUNA Gardens; return business says we did a good job.
LG: How do you keep your budgets on track?
NL: Most often I am only responsible for the food and beverage budget, so it is easier than having to manage the audio visual and/or décor budget as well.  We provide a lot of event basic needs with our food and beverage budgets that are not always included with all venues (linens, tables, chairs, easels, microphone and podium etc.). Most corporate clients only need to add audio visual equipment to our basic package and they can easily work directly with our in house company EAV (Emporium Audio Visual).  The key to keeping the budget on track is to be flexible with menu combinations and being creative along with the assistance of our Executive Chef.
LG: Can you tell us one of your most memorable corporate events you planned for LIUNA Gardens?
NL: LIUNA Gardens hosted so many fun corporate events over the last few months; it is hard to pick just one.  Many wonderful Christmas parties, our own New Year’s Eve Gala, small and large business meetings from banks to local businesses are just a few examples.  One event that stands out from a strategic point of view would be the one held by Xerox. With the Xerox event we had to plan how we would move many large machines in and out of our venue for their show, and then how we would support the extra power to make them all work on event day. Then there was the colourful and creative cocktail reception for First Ontario, with live circus performers interacting with guests throughout the reception.  Most recently we hosted the Wells of Hope “Taste & See” event. This event allows guests to travel around the venue tasting wine and food from several Niagara wineries and local restaurants, including delicious appetizers from our own LIUNA Garden Kitchen.

LG: With so many corporate event venues to choose from, what sets Liuna Gardens apart from the rest?
NL: LIUNA Gardens has a beautiful view of Lake Ontario and acres of manicured gardens, which boast the perfect  location to host a corporate event. What other venue can offer a barbecue lunch with a spectacular view and a breath of fresh air during a full day conference.  LIUNA Gardens is hidden in a suburban subdivision nestled on the banks of Lake Ontario, halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls.

LG: How do you bring creativity to your corporate events?
NL: LIUNA Gardens provides companies the perfect opportunity to break from the norm of the corporate meeting space.  Because our location is directly beside the lake, it allows attendees the ability to step outside at breaks to inhale some fresh air and recharge during a long day of meetings.  Why not add a barbecue lunch out on one of our patios or a yoga session on the lawn of the Gardens to the day’s agenda. Many companies are looking for healthy food options for their events, so why not consider healthy activities and venue locations.  Besides location; customizing menus allow are Executive Chef to play and create, which is one of her many strengths. Whether it’s a cocktail party with plenty of beautiful passed hors d’oeuvres or a full sit down menu, we can cater to any meeting planners’ vision.  

LG: Share your advice for readers who are planning a corporate event
NL: The advice I would give corporate event planners is to work with the venue you have chosen, they know the strengths of their facility and what they do best.  
We’d like to thank LIUNA Gardens Sales and Event Coordinator, Nicole Lazaruk for taking some time to chat with us, share her expertise and for contributing to so many successful events at LIUNA Gardens and Station! Be sure to head over to LIUNA Station blog to check out a mini interview with LIUNA Station Corporate Sales Manager, Susanna Alvarez, and learn about her experience planning corporate events at the Station.
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From all of us at LIUNA Gardens, thank you for following along!