Jennifer Bassett is putting ‘art’ in party.

Women Leaders, 2020

“I always loved parties and entertaining and I was always taught that you have to love what you do so it was then that I opened Bassett Events.”

Growing up in Toronto, the youngest of the three daughters, Jennifer Bassett, the CEO, and Founder of Bassett Events INC, learned about entertaining at a very young age. Her mother stayed at home but volunteered for many charitable events, whereas her father was CEO of a media company for over 35 years. The Bassett family was used to hosting social events at home and this prepared Jennifer for her entrepreneurial venture moving ahead. As a student also, Jennifer enjoyed taking part in musicals and playing tennis which is something that ran in the family. Her mother’s exquisite taste and style mesmerized her whereas her father’s strong work ethic inspired her to work hard for her dreams. She shares, “Family always comes first. As a young child, I was drawn to working and leadership came easy to me. These traits certainly shaped the woman I am today.”

Taking from her parents, Jennifer always treats others with respect, patience, tolerance, understanding, and prides herself on the relationship she has built with her team and clients. She says, “Friendships are made. My working relationships are never just that.” Before establishing her own company, she used to work in the television and movie industry which made her fall in love with entertainment and production. For natural talent and skills, she was practically headhunter by a company to manage its live events departments. This is where she further gained knowledge as an event organizer and only after a year prepared herself to take a leap of faith and begin something of her own. She shares, “I always loved parties and entertaining and I was always taught that you have to love what you do so it was then that I opened Bassett Events.”

Taking away the stress around planning an important event
Bassett Events was set up 20 years ago in Toronto and currently holds offices in both Toronto, Ottawa, and pretty soon one in the Caribbean as well. It is a boutique Event Management Company that works primarily with high end, premium corporate and non-profit organizations who wish to host a memorable and unique event that not only promotes their brand image but also their bottom line. According to Jennifer, to achieve this, there is a certain level of creativity and flair required as budgets are mostly tight and expectations always high. She asserts, “To deliver this platinum service, Bassett Events Inc. employs a business model long used in other industries but rare in event planning: the use of strategic partnerships. We select ‘best in class’ partners to ensure every event is meticulously executed and something attendees remember for years to come.”

Basset Events’ primary focus is to specialize in the creation of exceptional events for private and corporate clients. They design, plan, and manage every project from conception to execution. Their motto is to serve with a smile because as an organization they believe what you put on is what receive. Jennifer exclaims, “As Managers and Designers, it is our mission to ease our clients and ensure it is a stress-free process for them. And of course, always ensuring they look good!”. Along with premium corporate enterprises and leading CEOs, Basset Events have worked with several charities representing health and wellness for both adults and children, wildlife, humanitarian causes, and the arts. They take immense pleasure in producing sensational events for these non-profits and have absolutely enjoyed working with talents like David Foster, John Legend, Patti LaBelle, Alicia Keys, and Andrea Bocelli to name a few. Besides, the company is honored to serve Royalty, Head of States, and Prime Ministers. For their service and extraordinary contribution, they have received some wonderful accolades from international media outlets as well.

Being a socially responsible and aware organization, Jennifer shares, “...

“...It’s not unusual for us to discount our fee, promote small businesses on their socials as well as Sponsor the event. Personally, I volunteer my time as best I can. I was raised in a family that gave back to their community so it’s something I feel strongly about.”

Fighting back COVID-19
It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to say that the ongoing pandemic has nearly wiped out the Event industry due to persisting lockdown and social-distancing norms. Basset Events also took a massive hit as 80% of their contracted events for 2020 were canceled or postponed pending COVID rules. However, following her core values as a patient, focused, and positive individual as well as professional, Jennifer keeps reinventing herself in some way. She has been leading her firm to collaborate with other companies, and evolve and extend their deliverable. She shares, “It’s been a win/win for us as we’ve been able to support small businesses and that has been rewarding. We maintain our social presence as well.”

As a CEO, Jennifer feels lucky to be working with a team who are more like friends. She values the respect they have for each other and always tries to fair and generous whenever she has the opportunity. In terms of their culture, Jennifer encourages her team to be confident and practice self-creation as event managers. She giggles, “In this industry, there is a lot of independent work so that enables my team to work from home if they choose. PJ’s and all!”

Being a Women Leader
Jennifer believes that moving ahead the biggest challenge for them as an organization is going to be staying relevant. She is looking forward to opening byways of virtual events and collaborations both with the food industry and the experiential travel industry. It’s no doubt with her enthusiasm and zest, she will make it in no time. Shedding some light on her journey as a female leader so far, Jennifer shares, “...

“...As a female leader, surprisingly overcoming the opinions of other women has been a factor. There have been others more common such as being taken seriously, being judged by my last name or appearance but in the end, I have used both to my advantage. I am proud of my background and am smart enough to acknowledge the reality that one's network and connections help drive business.”

But only if this was the only barrier women face as an aspiring leader. Jennifer also had the task to achieve a certain work-life equilibrium as a mother of two small kids which eventually made her realize there is no such thing as perfect balance. She shares, “I learned and accepted my truth that it was for my kids in the end. A happy Mom is a happy home and working has always brought me pleasure and fulfillment. I’m proud of the work I do and the accolades I’ve received as it has been over 20 years of hard work. Being a successful woman is an excellent role model for my daughter and son.” Speaking of the most important entrepreneurial key success factors that make her successful, Jennifer shares, “I was always taught that if you're passionate about your work success will follow. Work hard and play hard has worked for me.” To unwind, she says, “I love to sing and I can’t dance. I’m the youngest of three girls. I love the ocean but I don’t love to swim.”

As for the women who are striving to be leaders in their industry just like her, Jennifer exclaims, “I always tell other women who want to start their own business or who want to get ahead and be successful to know their own worth, have faith and don’t settle for less than your instinct tells you. Keep doing it. If you’re passionate about what you do the chances of success are in your favor. Also, be kind to yourself!”