2023 BizBash 15 Over 50: Mirella Di Blasio

Mirella Di Blasio, 58, is the founder and creative director of Lulu Events.

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Photo: Courtesy of Mirella Di Blasio

Mirella Di Blasio, 58, is the founder and creative director of Lulu Events, an event agency she launched in 2003 that works with clients like the Association des Femmes en Finance du Québec and the General Civil Aviation Authority. An author, public speaker, and jazz singer, Di Blasio is based in Montreal. 

A quote from her nomination: "A meeting with Mirella Di Blasio and her team reveals in just a few minutes that her boundless imagination, coupled with an innate sense of organization, makes her an excellent mobilizer."

How I got here: "As a child, I already had both an artistic side and a sharp business sense. I would organize shows in my parents’ garage. I would use the traditional costumes they brought back from their trips to dress up my friends and charge the whole neighborhood 25 cents a head to attend our performances.

I then began a career in fashion in Paris, where I was a country director. Somehow, I was always the one asked to organize national sales seminars, trade shows, Christmas parties, and staff outings in all my jobs, along with organizing my friends' and family's surprise birthday parties or wedding anniversaries. When I got laid off from my last job—a first in a then 20-year career span—I decided to gamble and put my event planning skills to the test and founded my agency with my bestie. I bought her out after two years, and continued on my merry way—never imagining I would still be around 20 years later!"

Greatest career accomplishment: "Being in business for 20 years and surviving a pandemic!"

A specific improvement I’ve made: "One of my most heartfelt accomplishments was during the pandemic. On March 16, 2020, I decided to put our logistical talent to use by helping the Montreal community and several nonprofit organizations by providing a grocery service to [elderly people] who had no families [and had been] confined to their homes by the government. We reunited 180 volunteers from different sectors of activities (event planning, AV, education, legal, etc.) to service over 5,000 persons during the 15 weeks until the lockdown was released. Our 'business' model was picked up by a nonprofit organization since!"

The biggest change I've observed in the industry: "Without a doubt, the pandemic! It got clients out of their comfort zone. We don’t plan events the same way. People need several exciting reasons to hop on a plane or just [in] their car, book a babysitter, get their hair done, or simply give up the comfort of their homes to come to an event. They don’t want content that can be found on the web, or a boring, redundant keynote speaker, or a VP with no public speaking skills as an emcee, etc. They want, more than ever, an experience worth their while. We encourage our clients to think 'out of the computer.'"

What I do outside of work: "I’ve always strived to have a healthy life balance and to pursue personal projects that are unrelated to work and that make me happy. Singing has always put a smile on my face, so I’ve produced myself as a jazz singer once a year over the last 18 years, and all the proceeds go to nonprofit organizations. 

My purpose in life being helping others, combined with an acute sense of self-analysis, led me to share my personal perimenopause experience by writing a book in 2018. The book rights were purchased by France, Spain, and Greece. I’m proud to say I have a second book on the same subject that will be released during the fall of this year. This period in a woman’s life needs more attention because of the negative impact it can have on her mental and physical health.

My dad’s mantra as we were growing up was 'healthy body, healthy mind.' It has stuck to me like glue. I love the outdoors, no matter the season, so in summer, I’m on the golf course, on my bike, hitting tennis balls, or hiking in the woods—and in the winter, I can be found snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, or jumping on my mini trampoline or at the gym in the pool swimming."

The career advice I'd give my younger self: "When I was teaching event planning about 10 years ago, I would tell students about an epiphany I’d had later in life: Everyone is overflowing with talent!

I think we often make the mistake of believing that talent must be recognized on a global stage, and yet talent is something that comes to us naturally. Sometimes, we even believe that others should be able to do things as easily as we can, and it is only when we realize that this is not the case that we see what we are capable of. And what a joy it is! That’s what happened to me with events! 

I decided to invest and pursue my natural talent and turn it into a lucrative business, which is in its 20th year! I wish I’d given myself this piece of advice to my younger self, because I’m sure Lulu Events would be in its 40th year by now."

Connect with Di Blasio on LinkedIn

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