FREDERICTON – After leaving behind her close network of kickass women entrepreneurs and innovators in Halifax for a quieter life in Fredericton, Courtney Larkin felt a bit of a void and began looking for ways to fill it.
Larkin knew there were plenty of women in the area doing new and interesting things but couldn’t find the type of event to bring them all together that she was looking for. So, with a background in event planning, and between her time running a new breastfeeding pillow business, she decided to make it happen herself.
“I always had friends who were entrepreneurs and I’d always be there helping on the sidelines, selling stuff at different pop-up shops and expos and I loved it,” she says. “I just didn’t have my own idea yet. Then the new year came and I had two ideas and they’ve been doing pretty well.”
Larkin came up with the Happy Hour Club, an event held a few times a year for women looking to connect with each other and have a good time. Larkin says there was a need for an event like this that was a bit less structured than most networking events.
“It’s pretty accessible for people and just fun. There’s no set agenda. It’s just a way to bring people together who are doing great stuff,” she says.
Larkin held the first Happy Hour Club event in June and after the resounding success of selling out of tickets and having 70 women in attendance, she’s now gearing up for the second event to be held on September 20 at RustiCo. She’s gathered a team to help make sure the second event is an even bigger success than the first. Darci Legatt, Erika Smith, Kailey von Richter and Virginia Manzer have joined Larkin to ensure things run smoothly.
Larkin was reassured of the need and demand for an event like this in Fredericton when she received feedback about the first event.
“We did an event survey and it was very positive. People said they’d never been to an event quite like this and they liked that it was not too structured. I’ve gone to things before where it’s like speed-dating networking,” she says, “It wasn’t a typical one-hour schmoozy networking event with the bad nametags. It’s pretty friendly.”
As a means of encouraging networking at the event and simply spreading awareness about women doing amazing things in Fredericton, Larkin posts profiles of women attending in the weeks leading up to the event.
“We want it to not just be people we’ve already heard of, but people just starting out in their career who have great ambition … It doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur, just someone who’s doing something great,” she says.
In addition to one day seeing the events hosted in other cities in New Brunswick and beyond, Larkin hopes women leave the event not only having met others like them but feeling inspired to take initiative and support the community.
“What I enjoy about it is that it’s an inspiration and motivation. You’re hearing all these things people are doing,” she says. “You have better insight into what’s going on and you feel you have ways to contribute to the city in ways you haven’t before.”
Tickets went on sale this week, with first dibs going to those who are subscribed to the Happy Hour Club mailing list. The rest will be made available to the public through social media.