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2024 BizBash 40 Under 40: Haleema Linares

Haleema Linares, 35, is owner of Canvas Events.

Bb40u40 2024 Recipient Graphic1200x628 Linares Haleema

Haleema Linares, 35, is owner of Canvas Events. She's based in Las Vegas. A quote from her nomination: "Haleema is highly drawn to the fast-paced, high-energy, and dynamic world of events. She has earned trust and a great reputation in the event industry due to her exceptional creativity, meticulous attention to detail, remarkable patience, and strong multitasking abilities."

My career journey: "I decided to take a chance and move to Las Vegas during a happy hour conversation with my best friend. Realizing that Vegas is considered by most to be the mecca of the event planning world, I couldn't wait to dive headfirst into it.

Eventually, I landed a job with a family-owned business whose owners immediately took me under their wing. For four years, I was a sponge, learning everything from transportation to logistics, ideas to decor, renderings to proposals, and staging to event execution—and then the company announced that they would be filing for bankruptcy. I took a chance with an ex-colleague, and we decided to partner to start our own company. We were the perfect team, between her 20-plus years of experience and contacts and my energetic, fresh perspective. We thrived by doing business with major corporations like Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Latin Grammys until the COVID-19 pandemic brought event planning to halt.

Many jumped ship, but I was finally doing what I was passionate about. … I was selling fun for a living, and knew I’d weather the storm. As the pandemic ended, I moved on to branch out independently as the owner of Canvas Events, a custom fabrication event company. We empower and guide our clients through designing, developing, and executing a memorable event that will leave a lasting impression. Our incredibly talented designer and creative team bring the best of creative storytelling through thoughtful, authentic messaging and impactful design for corporate, social, and music festival clients."Linares' Canvas Events produced this custom, 30-foot hand sculpture, holding a joint that emitted 'smoke' and was outfitted with LED lights, that was featured at music festivals like Rolling Loud, Hard Summer, and Escape in California.Linares' Canvas Events produced this custom, 30-foot hand sculpture, holding a joint that emitted "smoke" and was outfitted with LED lights, that was featured at music festivals like Rolling Loud, Hard Summer, and Escape in California.Photo: Courtesy of Haleema Linares

My leadership style: "I consider myself a situational leader, such that I remain flexible and proactive, changing my management style to meet the needs of the situation or the abilities of my team. This management style helps motivate my team by empowering them and allowing them to feel included in identifying the company's processes and strategic direction. I encourage them to share my vision for being attentive to detail, adaptable, having sharp communication skills, practicing creative problem-solving, multitasking, and taking pride in the work."

Impressive stats I'm responsible for: "Post-COVID-19, Canvas Events joined the million-dollar sales club, successfully executing various brand activations and music festivals in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Nevada."

What inspires me: "I love working with people while having the freedom to create and bring ideas to life. The title of my company comes from using a blank 'canvas,' with the clients as the artists and us creating experiences together."

My ideal day OOO: "I teach Pilates and get my creative juices flowing by checking out new and exciting pop-ups or venue openings."'None of my days are the same, but they always start with coffee first,' says Linares, who has worked with a slew of festivals and major brands including Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Latin Grammys."None of my days are the same, but they always start with coffee first," says Linares, who has worked with a slew of festivals and major brands including Coca-Cola, Toyota, and Latin Grammys.Photo: Courtesy of Haleema Linares

A time I averted a complete event disaster: "Fabricating a custom, 30-foot hand sculpture for EDC was also almost a disaster. This project was considered highly technical and required a special chameleon-style paint for the topcoat. For a sculpture of that size, producing an adequate amount of [fog] for the 18 hours per day daily required was challenging. The summer outdoor festival has temperatures of over 100 degrees, and high safety requirements to withstand the anticipated interaction by festivalgoers also contributed to the challenge.

To combat this challenge, we constructed the hand using a special heat-resistant foam to prevent it from melting, and a steel beam was situated in the middle of the hand to reinforce structural soundness to withstand the approximately 60 mph winds that Las Vegas often experiences during the evenings. At one point during the music festival, the fog machine stopped working and that’s when the on-site troubleshooting began. We developed a solution using an internal cooling system that ran from the base of the hand sculpture connected to a smoke machine up through the 30 feet of the wrist and eventually out of the fingers holding a marijuana joint.

Ultimately, we rose to the occasion, and the sculpture was a huge success. To handle the stress of this and all events, I remember to breathe, practice mindfulness, remain calm, and always stay positive because every problem has a solution."

What's next for me: "We're working on expanding Canvas Events to include an out-of-state fabrication shop to continue creating experiences on the East Coast. I am beyond excited to continue to share my deep passion for selling fun."


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