In accomplishing an objective of maintaining a strong level of usefulness within our client base, the tracking of behavior and user feedback is crucial to closing the loop between the customer experience and the ongoing product development process. Much of this responsibility rests with Planned’s Key Account Manager, David Cottingham. Celebrating his second Planned-anniversary today, David has become pivotally important in ‘taking the temperature’ of our users to measure how they rate their overall experience.

David’s professionalism has been a calming influence throughout the pandemic that all his colleagues appreciate.

The importance of client feedback and client usability testing cannot be understated, especially within a company that has developed a product to revolutionize an entire industry. Planned is thrilled to be in such a collaborative industry with hardworking and dedicated clients. We take pleasure in continuing to create tools to make their lives easier, and our Account Managers are key players in maintaining those relationships.

David’s drive to succeed can be seen in many milestones and successes within his life. He graduated from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia with a degree in Finance and accepted an offer to join the Finance team at the Royal Bank of Canada. With his entrepreneurial mindset he noticed an untapped market and founded a barbeque ‘tune-up’ service company during the summer months, cleaning backyard grills for those in his local area.

Fortunately for Planned, David’s curiosity for the tech industry drew him to seek opportunities outside of banking. On March 31, 2019, Planned, at the time known as Entr, onboarded David and has greatly appreciated the effort he puts into any task at hand since.

Throughout his journey at Planned, David has witnessed shifts in the company and the product, sharing that “we’re more big picture — we focus on how to get user adoption across an organization and ultimately aim to sell our product to an enterprise. Enterprise sales wasn’t even a thought when I first started. It was a team effort to get to where we are…“

A mission of Planned is to include our clients in the product development process, and at the beginning of the pandemic outbreak, David headed the Discovery Program. The goal of the Discovery Program was to allow our clients to help us continue to improve our product as the solution to all of their event planning needs. With the goal of channeling client feedback to the Product Development team, the initiative was designed as an exercise in continuous user services improvement. We want our clients to know that our product is for them and that many event planners face similar challenges so to be able to solve those has given us great pride.

David’s approachable and calm demeanor makes him a natural leader and a talented Account Manager. A client shared, “If I had to rate how much he helped me and eased the stress of planning my latest event, I would say he’s a six out of five stars!”

As a team player David shared, “typically speaking, no weeks are ever the same [at Planned] and that’s part of working at a startup.” He added, “learning to adapt accordingly is key to the success of any employee.”

His admiration for innovation and adaptability comes, in part, from his interest in the leaps and bounds in tech that Elon Musk, founder, CEO, CTO and Chief Designer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) and early investor, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc. has achieved. As well as Andrew Left, the Founder and Executive Editor of the online investment newsletter Citron Research, who has 18 years of trading experience and holds a reputation as an outspoken activist.

 Elon Musk introducing Tesla’s all-electric Cybertruck on Nov. 21, 2019. The design is partly inspired by the sci-fi film Blade Runner.

David has contributed to the growth of Planned, and his approach to “soak in as much information as quickly as possible” has made him a key asset. He says that “working with Marc and Emeric [Co-founders of Planned] has been great — they take care of their employees.”

David has the ability to approach challenges in an efficient way, and is always speaking his mind to improve Planned. We look forward with anticipation to the next chapter of David’s continued contributions at Planned!

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5 min read 2 months ago

Ownership and Involvement

Planned exists to offer event planners everywhere the best solution available for their events. In practice this translates to providing a dashboard view of the multitude of decisions and tasks which make an event successful — reliably providing event planners with a seamless, efficient, and comprehensive platform which enhances the experience of event planning for all planners. Over the past year we’ve taken advantage of the pause offered by the COVID-19 pandemic and re-invented our platform from the ground up. Our team of developers and user interface designers have created new features, a more intuitive interface, and easier discovery of suppliers. As the pandemic recedes and social restrictions are easing in many markets, we’re continuing to see the results of their hard work. You’re probably thinking that building a product of this complexity and scope must be challenging. It is exactly that, especially when one considers that our goal of completely transforming the event planning industry is a moving target due to ever heightened expectations of our users and industry trends, many of which have emerged to adapt to the new post-COVID-19 world. Among the programmer wizards at Planned is the talented and resourceful Mark Conn, our Senior Software Engineer. Upon joining the team last August, Mark’s to-do list was well defined: help rebuild the foundation of the Planned platform. This rebuild would support an ambitious new feature set which will leapfrog us ahead of the competition. Since then he has been instrumental in completely restructuring our product and the way that our clients interact with it. A focus throughout 2020 was to recreate our product so that it would be scalable and eventually a self-serving platform. Mark recognized that the foundation of the platform had to be rebuilt from scratch. He shared that, “we brought in tools that would help us really achieve a more robust and serious platform. NextJS replaced our hand-rolled React boilerplate for our client app. Typescript became universal across all apps. We picked Material UI for our component library.” Mark’s passion for software development began in 2015. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Urban Planning from Concordia University in Montreal. And from 2007 to 2019, he joined the military as an infantry soldier and eventually got specialized as a close protection operator and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Amongst returning home from Afghanistan, he decided it was time for the next chapter and found a coding bootcamp, DecodeMTL, that piqued his interest. From then on, his career in software development unraveled. Mark shared, “I always thought software was fascinating but I felt like an outsider in the sense that it seemed closed off to only those with computer science degrees. However, I learned that this wasn’t truly the case, and that anyone could access the material to learn and try their hand at it.” He naturally enjoys building and the foundations of what engineering is, and recognizes that software development is a career that is needed in any industry. “There’s a bit of a stigma of the old fashioned ‘programmer’ who just sits around hacking in solitude, but…

4 min read 3 months ago

The Women of Planned

The global events industry was valued at approximately $1,135.4 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow exponentially during the next decade. Serving a pivotal role in the economy and across a wide spectrum of industries, it’s worth noting that between 60%-80% of meeting, convention and event planners are female.In contrast, an estimated 20%-30% of jobs in the technology industry are held by women. As a tech company blazing trail in the event planning sector, Planned is a combination of two statistically different industries. Thanks to the dedication of our entire team, we are well on the way to establishing Planned as the premier all-in-one event planning platform. Today, and every day, we celebrate this accomplishment as a culturally diverse group of professionals working toward the common goal of dominance throughout the event planning ecosystem. On March 8th the world celebrates International Women’s Day. Observed since the early 1900’s, this is an annual moment to commemorate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It is also designed to signal that there is much more work to be done to achieve true equality around the world. Although women have made tremendous strides since the “suffragette” movement of the early 20th century, continued progress must be made with each successive generation. This March 8th we invite you to join us in celebrating International Women’s Day’s 2021 campaign theme #ChooseToChallenge. It’s an excellent opportunity to recognize the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and re-dedicate ourselves to accelerating women’s equality. The official art for International Women’s Day 2021. At Planned, we’re fortunate that our corporate culture includes these exceptional team players and outstanding contributors to the Planned mission. The question of ‘What does International Women’s Day mean to you?’is a stimulating and thought-provoking springboard for discussion. How one answers may be informed by culture, upbringing, or personal experience. Here are thoughts on the subject the women of Planned wanted to share: “It’s about celebrating how far women have come yet recognizing that there is still a long way to go. It’s a commitment to the fight for equality.”“In its most simple form, International Women’s Day is about gender equality. It’s about embracing the progress that has been made thus far but understanding there is still work to be done. We’ve seen incredible leaps and bounds made by women in all industries across the globe, as women are holding more seniority positions and continuing to break the glass ceiling. However, it’s important to take into account that it is also about recognizing that in less developed countries, the gender inequality faced goes so far as to be a life or death circumstance and that is not something that people should turn a blind eye to.”“International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate girls and women across the world. Not only is it a reminder of how far we have come towards achieving gender equality, but it is also a reminder of how far we still have to go.”“To me, International Women’s Day is about celebrating all women everywhere,…

4 min read 4 months ago

Improving Every Day

It takes effort, a clear and actionable vision and a lot of planning to take on a leadership position in the global event planning industry. As has been evident, especially in the past year of growth, Planned is well on the way to establishing our solution as the premier all-in-one, no-cost event planning platform. None of this would be possible without our leadership team and the talented software engineers and developers who bring the vision to life. One of those talents is Alex Beauchemin, Planned’s Principal Software Engineer. Today we celebrated Alex’s one-year anniversary at Planned and we congratulate him for repeatedly going above and beyond. Alex joined Planned at the onset of the pandemic and has since played a pivotal role in improving our product from the inside out. A core goal of Planned is to continually add more seniority and skill to our software team in our quest to provide event planners with the best solution. We view software developers as creative problem solvers who are able to confront obstacles and find more impactful solutions to issues that arise. The team of developers at Planned figure out the “how” of the product and work in collaboration amongst each other, all while building relationships with the others on the team. As a quintessential team player, Alex says a combination of the seniority and skill “has huge effects on our codebase, which we see improving every day, and will really help with scalability and stability [of our product] in the future.”He also added it “also helps onboard new people as the codebase is becoming cleaner and easier to understand everyday, even though we’re adding complexity and preparing to add a lot of new features.”Alex’s career as a Software Engineer is somewhat unsurprising if you look back at his interests as a child. At a young age he enjoyed math and science and was fortunate to have access to a computer at a time when it was less common for households to have even a single desktop computer.His fascination with computers, desire to problem solve, and curiosity led him to start programming small HTML and CSS websites at the age of twelve. Alex says, “programming stuck with me from a young age,I think because I like the scientific and mathematical component behind it, but also the creativity and creative process that comes with it.” Alex grew up in Abitibi-Temiscamingue, a region located in western Quebec. Known as Quebec’s best-kept secret, Abitibi’s landscape is covered in vast acres of spruces, firs, and other undisturbed nature. As a true Quebecois, one of his favorite foods is poutine, a dish originated in Quebec, of french fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy. After completing receiving a degree in Multimedia, focused on 3D modeling and visual effects, from the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Alex began his professional career as a Web Developer and Front-end Developer at various companies in Montreal. Throughout his profession, Alex has been inspired by innovators such as, George Hotz, an American security hacker and software engineer who is known for reverse engineering the PlayStation 3 which landed him a lawsuit brought on by Sony, and Dan Abramov, who is a…

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