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Discover Halifax recognizes inaugural Take the Lead recipients

Today, Discover Halifax recognized Halifax event champions for their contributions in helping to attract events to the region. Laura Hopper, Jason Gu, Kelly Serbu and Patrick Sullivan were the inaugural honorees of Discover Halifax’s Take the Lead program.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage was also honoured for his unwavering commitment and support of Halifax events. The ceremony took place during the annual State of the Municipality event on April 28.

Take the Lead, which launched last fall, is a program designed to inspire local leaders to play a role in helping to attract high-value events to Halifax. Local event champions are instrumental in helping attract business to Halifax. Each year, Discover Halifax supports more than 100 events in our region. These events impact our region, and bring social and economic benefits while generating more than $60 million.

"Every year, Halifax hosts a variety of conferences, meetings, and major events. These events span from the small to large, regional to international, and across a broad spectrum ranging from business meetings to sports and culture events," said Ross Jefferson, President and CEO, Discover Halifax.

“More than half of these events have a local leader behind them who is instrumental in attracting events to Halifax. Take the Lead is an opportunity to celebrate these individuals who make a difference in our community, and we're pleased to celebrate some of our event champions today."

Laura Hopper was involved with the 2022 and 2023 Atlantic Canadian Irish Dance Championships. The championship attracted 250 dancers and more than 1,000 delegates to Halifax in April. Jason Gu is a multi-event champion. Over the last decade, he has played a pivotal role in bringing more than 10 events to Halifax. Kelly Serbu’s passion for sport and involvement with Canadian Blind Hockey was vital in hosting the 2022 Canadian Blind Hockey Summer Development Camp in Halifax. Finally, Patrick Sullivan and his team at the Halifax Chamber of Commerce were key to bringing the 2024 Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and Convention to Halifax. The event will welcome 350 business leaders from Canadian Chambers of Commerce.

Creative partnership

The dedication and passion local event champions epitomize are worthy of unique recognition. Discover Halifax partnered with NSCAD University to create and commission a commemorative piece that symbolizes leadership that captures their love for Halifax.

Students and alumni from NSCAD’s Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing program developed concepts of pin designs to bring this vision of leadership and recognition to life.

“Meaningful commemorative jewellery like this pin has the unique ability to connect individuals and tell a story,” said Greg Sims, an assistant professor in NSCAD’s Department of Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing. “We were thrilled to contribute to this program and the partnership opportunity.”

Crafting a symbol of leadership

Third-year student Meichan (Amy) Yuan created the winning design. She says the shape of the pin shows different waves and arcs depending on perspective.

“I believe water and ocean represent the identity of Halifax. A straight line and the circle exemplify the qualities of a leader, which are strength, integrity, and principle,” she said. “The circle amethyst feature on the pin signifies the event champion taking an adventure with the event by riding high on the wave.”

Discover Halifax awarded cash prizes to the winner as well as each participant.

Value of events

In addition to being economic and social drivers, events also instill a sense of pride in those who attract and host events in Halifax. Events help to facilitate personal, professional, and civic growth.

Discover Halifax works with local event leads from various backgrounds to help make their events successful. If you’re a local leader who wants to bring an event to Halifax, find out more at: