By Susan O'Neill Posted December 6, 2010, 6:02 PM EST
TORONTO For Eli Lilly's annual holiday party, which drew a crowd of 180 guests (including employees and their partners) to the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library on Saturday, event organizers for the pharmaceutical company filled the space with festive red and white decor—and towering edible centrepieces. Jill Harris, executive assistant to the company president, planned the event in conjunction with Carol Bearg Jacobson, senior national account manager with Marigolds & Onions.
“Carol and I have worked together for at least eight years. We do this every year,” Harris said. “We have, in the past, done a co-pay, but in the last few years it's been a company-sponsored event. It's important for everyone's morale. The pharmaceutical industry, in the past five years, has taken a bit of a hit. So this is a nice way to say thank you.”
To set the scene, Harris called on Bearg Jacobson to dress the space in red, white, and silver with furnishings from Contemporary Furniture Rentals. Marigolds & Onions designed lit-up edible centrepieces made of chocolate truffles and chocolate-dipped berries, which topped tables throughout the room.
The evening began with a cocktail reception followed by a seated dinner and a dance, with music by DJ Victor C. “This is our first year in five years with just a DJ. We have our own house band, but they took a pass on this year. Victor is a DJ we have used at our national sales meeting,” Harris said. “The age of employees varies from mid-20s to over 50. That dance floor will be packed tonight.”
Saturday's event was also the first time the company has offered valet service to guests. “It usually snows and for a woman with open toe shoes to have to walk two blocks [from a parking lot] it's not a pretty picture,” Harris said. “The feedback when people were registering online was, 'Wow. This is really neat.'”
Harris also said she always strives to find a new venue for the holiday event. “In the 10 years I've been planning this event we have never duplicated a venue. We've been at the Carlu, the MaRS building, and Steam Whistle Brewery. Toronto has a lot to offer for a meeting planner so it's nice to get some variety.”