Veteran marketer takes helm of Canadian Tulip Festival’s board of directors

New Tulip Festival boss
New Tulip Festival boss

One of Ottawa’s best-known husband-and-wife entrepreneurial teams is stepping down from key leadership roles at one of the capital’s most popular festivals.

BeaverTails founders Grant and Pam Hooker said Tuesday they are resigning from the Canadian Tulip Festival’s board of directors, where they have served for the past two and a half years ​– Grant as chairman and president; and Pam as secretary.

Nicolas McCarthy, the director of marketing, communications and community outreach at Beechwood Cemetery, will take over as chairman of the board. Veteran event producer Dave Fraser assumes the role of secretary, while Janna Glenn – a partner at marketing firm Karma Creative Solutions and the festival’s acting director of operations for the past two years – will become the new treasurer. 

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“Pam and I have been very fortunate in attracting the enthusiastic engagement of a next generation board of directors and management,” Grant Hooker said in a news release. “With a solid new board and the proven and energetic young management talent …, we believe we can exit knowing that the future of Ottawa’s oldest and most meaningful outdoor event is in good hands.”

The Hookers originally got involved in the festival in 1990, serving a decade in various leadership roles before rejoining the event’s organizational team a few years ago. They spearheaded the relocation of key exhibits to Commissioners Park on the shore of Dow’s Lake in 2018 and brought Jo Riding, also a partner at Karma Creative Solutions, on board the following year as executive director.

The festival – which typically draws more than 600,000 visitors a year – was forced to move its attractions online this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual celebration of tulips ended up attracting more than half a million visitors via platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

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