The Great After Work Party makes east-end debut in Orléans

Business networking fundraiser hosted by OCCO Kitchen for local food bank

You know a restaurant is doing something right when it’s packed on a Monday night.

OCCO Kitchen in Orléans hosted The Great After Work Party, an inaugural networking fundraiser for the city's east enders. It was the brainchild of Catherine Landry, CEO and founder of Call Betty marketing.

The Great After Work Party
From left, behind-the-scenes dynamo Catherine Landry with Lissa Constantine, CEO and creative director at BirdDog Design, a graphic design and web design studio, at The Great After Work Party held at OCCO Kitchen in Orléans on Monday, March 19, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

The bustling eatery, located in a retail shopping centre on Innes Road, saw dozens of people turn out for the three-hour mixer. The event raised money for the Orléans-Cumberland Food Bank while also welcoming spring (and giving winter a brisk handshake before showing it the door).

Co-owner Mark Steele has that salt-of-the-earth quality we've come to expect from a Newfoundlander. Stunning images from his home province can be seen hanging on the walls as soon as you walk into the restaurant. 

He helped to raffle off a bunch of donated prizes, and he wasn’t shy about it, either – he hopped up onto tables to command the crowd’s attention.

The Great After Work Party
Mark Steele and his wife, Caroline Côté, owners of OCCO Kitchen on Innes Road in Orléans. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Catherine Priestman, president of marketing agency CP Business Solutions, and senior project manager Christina Sheffield caught wind of the The Great After Work Party after it was posted on Ladies Who Lunch, a 19,000-member women’s business networking group, also created by Landry.

“It’s always important to get face-to-face time with people,” Priestman told OBJ.social. “It’s great that we saw the event on social media but I feel that it’s valuable to connect us, one individual to another, and to share what’s going on in our businesses.”

The social butterfly said she's always looking for ways to meet other like-minded business people.

"Because our industry involves a lot of creativity, I like to go to different places and meet different people. It stimulates my imagination so that I can learn things that may interest my clients," said Priestman.

The Great After Work Party
From left, Nicole Darechuk, president of Terradare Inc. and a board member with the Orléans Chamber of Commerce, with Catherine Priestman and Christina Sheffield, of CP Business Solutions, along with James Baker, CEO of Keynote Group, at The Great After Work Party held Monday, March 19, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Out supporting the cause was public servant Kevin Hurtubise, who brings thousands of east end residents together through the Orléans Craft Beer Festival. He co-founded it last year.

Hurtubise donated to The Great After Work Party a bunch of passes for this year’s festival, taking place June 7 to 9 outside Centrum Plaza.

“I want to meet other business leaders and community leaders who are doing similar work promoting Orléans in the east end of the city,” he said of his reason for attending Monday night's party.

The gathering was the first time Landry has organized an event in the city’s east end. It came together after she had reached out to Steele’s wife, Caroline Côté, with the idea.

“I want people to have lots of food, lots of drink and no attitude,” she had told Côté.

Goal accomplished. Everyone got along famously and some attendees were lucky enough to leave toting prizes, including Nathalie Carrier. She's the executive director of the Quartier Vanier BIA and was also involved in managing the Canada 150th Birthday celebrations.

She won a taco and tequila party for six at OCCO Kitchen.

The Great After Work Party
From left, Gen Benay from Stray Dog Brewing, Kevin Hurtubise, co-founder of Orléans Craft Beer Festival, and prize winner Nathalie Carrier at The Great After Work Party held at OCCO Kitchen in Orléans on Monday, March 19, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips 
The Great After Work Party
Jasmine Brown, executive director of the Heart of Orléans BIA, with her husband, business coach Eric Deschamps, CEO of Rhapsody Strategies, at The Great After Work Party held Monday, March 19, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
The Great After Work Party
From left, Jesyka Khaleigha, CEO of Oh, Delicious! healthy meal service with Stéphany Valcourt, owner of GoldenNest Cleaning, Naja "Nana" Al, and Amanda Watson, owner of Country Moments Spa & Wellness Centre in Navan. Photo by Caroline Phillips
The Great
Architect Houry Avedissian, owner of Ha2 Architectural Design in Ottawa and Montreal, shows up to The Great After Work Party held at OCCO Kitchen in Orléans on Monday, March 19, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips
The Great After Work Party
From left, Francine Rodrigue from WorldVentures Travel, with Janet Gray with Money Coaches Canada at The Great After Work Party held at OCCO Kitchen. Photo by Caroline Phillips
The Great After Work Party
From BlackSheep Developments were Stephen Magnerson, who's an expert in environmentally sustainable technology, with Stella Ronan, head of operations, and president Brian Dagenais, at The Great After Work Party held at OCCO Kitchen in Orléans on Monday, March 19, 2018. Photo by Caroline Phillips

- caroline@obj.ca