Port Forum Session: Port Programming-Engaging your public long term

Engaging your public long term: The how and why on-land programming drives the sustainable port event.

Updated 2.13.2013

Presenters: Krista Slack, Krista Slack + Aylett (click here for the presentation)
                         Leanne Strathdee, Strathdee & Company (click here for the presentation)
                         Gordon Laco, Historian

Session Description:

Why bother with the hassle and expense of other programming when Tall Ships are the undisputed stars that draw the public to every port event?  Because programming that is creative, engaging and edu-taining is a critical part of ensuring sustainability for annual events and adding value to the tri-annual Tall Ship port appearances.  This session will explore both the traditional and not so traditional ways of keeping your public coming back and programming for a broad demographic of ever changing consumer tastes.  All ports face the challenge of producing first class festivals on very focused budgets that require myriad financial streams to be sustainable.  Sometimes great programming ideas gets tossed as a result, but at what consequence? 

Biography of Speakers

Krista Slack, President and Founder of Krista Slack + Aylett, Toronto Canada, is an event marketing specialist and Producer/Strategic Designer with 30 years of experience in the event industry. A native of Québec, Krista moved to Toronto in 1980 and built her career by successfully integrating a fine arts creative background with programming and production management skills. Building on her strong reputation for creative, results-driven event management, Krista is one of Canada’s leading event marketers and has produced major events and programming for Corporate, Consumer, Community and Government/Public Sector clients. Large scale arts and fashion consumer/trade shows, the 1988 Economic Summit Fashion Gala for the spouses of the G7 Leaders and Canada 125 Celebrations in Ottawa are examples of early career highlights. More recent clients include Molson Coors, the big three Canadian media companies; Rogers, Astral & Shaw, TD Financial, several shopping centres in Toronto and Calgary and myriad others.  In 2008 Krista’s expertise and passion for sailing brought her to Toronto’s Waterfront.  As Co-Founder/Producer of the Redpath Waterfront Festival [RWF] and the Not-For-Profit Corporation Water’s Edge Festivals & Events, Krista brings her expertise in big productions to the strategic development of a new Community Festival. As an official port of the Tall Ships Challenge®Great Lakes every three years, RWF is now an annual event created to promote Toronto’s Waterfront as a local, national and international tourist destination while engaging and connecting people to the water, sailing and maritime history. 

Leanne Strathdee

Leanne Strathdee
Leanne Strathdee

 Leanne’s first Tall Ships experience was as a young spectator, as the ships gathered for an international event in Halifax in 1984. She was instantly captivated by the majestic ships and 16 years later, she was a Liaison Officer on board the HMS Rose in July 2000.

In her previous role as the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Waterfront Development Corporation in Halifax, NS, Leanne managed the marketing and communications, volunteer program and the outports program for the 2012 event. She was the Event Director for the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge in 2009, and helped manage the event in 2007. Each of the three events posed new challenges and opportunities to better develop crew programming, media relations and marketing promotions, and to further enhance the shore side programming.

With an avid passion for Tall Ships events, Leanne has developed and maintained relationships with government, military, and tourism partners to create a platform for the ports to feature the local culture and hospitality and to draw tourists to the regions. The Tall Ships events in Nova Scotia are one of the most significant economic generators for the province.

After three successive Tall Ships events, Leanne sought new challenges and recently started her own business, Strathdee & Company, in which she consults on marketing, public relations and events. One of her clients, Think Sail Inc., hosts Nova Scotia’s only sail training program, and she also is a Trustee for the Sisters Under Sail Board.

Leanne has a degree in Arts from Acadia University, a Public Relations degree from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. She has been practicing professional communications and marketing for 18 years and currently lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.


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