‘You’ve Got a Friend’ by Greg & The Optimists

Project Background

The hospitality, conference, meetings and business events industry is all about face-to-face connection.  Since Friday, March 13, 2020 – this global industry has been decimated. Hotels across the country and around the globe, empty. Convention Centres, empty. Audio Visual booths, empty. Keynote speakers, musicians, décor professionals, banquet and service team, all out of work. Meeting planners, frantically moving conferences from 2020 into the unknown future. Thousands upon thousands of employees let go…temporarily and now as the weeks have gone on, permanently.     

Quick Statistics About The Business Events Industry

Click here for the Meetings Mean Business Stats

In Canada / Globally

  • $33 Billion generated through direct spending / $1 Trillion generated through direct spending
  • 229,000 direct jobs / 10 million direct jobs
  • $19.3 billion direct GDP generated / $621 Billion Direct GDP
  • Canada’s business events ranked 6 out of 50 countries in global impact
The Friendship Project

Despite all of this devastation, a glimmer of light continues to burn amongst a small group of optimistic industry professionals from Ottawa. It started with a flicker of an idea and is now ready to burn brighter. As a group we created, The Friendship Project.

We have recorded a song. A special song originally recorded by Carole King.  With written permission from the Carole King Institute, we are sharing this special message with our friends as a group called Greg & The Optimists’.  Our industry is still in a very uncertain place however the connection we hold for each other is strong. 

Each voice and sound on our track has been created by members of The Friendship Project. 

Thank you to the amazingly talented people who said YES to this project and shared their heart as we navigate this very difficult time.  We WILL meet again.  Until then, just remember in all seasons, wherever you are, ‘You’ve Got A Friend’.

The Friendship Project has partnered with The Boys and Girls Club of Canada. To make direct donations to the children, families and communities nationally, click HERE.  Thank you in advance for your kindness.


Permission was granted from the Carole King Institute to use Carole King’s song – “You’ve Got A Friend”

Female Vocals (In Order of Appearance)

Jeanna Andre-Murdie, W.E. Travel

Nancy Bradshaw, Tourism Saskatoon

Martha Tobin, Staples Promotional Products Canada

Lesley Musker, Cdn. Assoc.of Defense and Security Industries

Brenda Howes, The Howes Group

Anne Vaillancourt, Friendship Project Collaborator

Disa Cameron, FMAV, aka DRAMAADD1CT (Rap Solo)

Male Vocals

Greg Plazek, Marriott Hotels of Canada; keyboard; vocals

Brent Beatty, FMAV

Shaun Clare, Friendship Project Collaborator


Jennifer Beatty, Tourism Calgary, tambourine

Chris Ferris, Encore, bass guitar

Guido Guzzo, Encore; Bed track producer, keyboard

Greg Plazek, Marriott Hotels of Canada, keyboard


A special thank you to these guys…

Shaun Clare, Friendship Project Collaborator

Kieran Howes, Friendship Project Collaborator

Guido Guzzo, Encore

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