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Allison Freeman — Rental Management's 2023 '12 to Watch Under 40'

By Brock Huffstutler

August 23, 2023

Allison Freeman

Allison Freeman, 39, joined Chair-man Mills Corp. (CMMC) — Canada’s largest tent and event solutions provider with locations in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia — as CEO in 2022.

A love for building Canadian brands and businesses drew Freeman to the industry — “The kinds of businesses that have a positive and tangible impact on employee and customer lives,” she says. “I’ve been fortunate to apply this passion in the management consulting and retail industries and am now thrilled to join the rental industry.”

Freeman describes CMMC as “Canada’s premier event solutions provider, serving leading venues, caterers, planners and everyday hosts. With product offerings across party rentals, furniture rentals, and tents and structures we have the breadth and depth of leading products and services, combined with an experienced and passionate team, to provide differentiated event rental solutions to the Canadian event industry.”

Being part of memorable, well-executed events is Freeman’s favorite part of the job. “It touches the core of our humanity: the coming together of people to celebrate special moments in one’s life,” she says. “Through our collective work, we foster connections, build communities, nurture relationships and create lifelong memories. Connection is a fundamental element of what it is to be human — essential to our well-being. The pandemic has underscored this fact, revealing the critical role that human interaction plays in our mental, physical and emotional health. I feel privileged to lead an organization that facilitates human connection and memorable moments, and fortunate to work alongside talented and inspiring teammates and industry partners every day.”

CMMC employs more than 500 people across Canada, and Freeman says learning from and developing connections with this expansive team has been a priority since she became CEO. “My key accomplishments include building relationships with our team and adding wonderful talent across the organization, enhancing our organizational architecture and investing in our customer experience,” she says. “We have invested in team, product and training to ensure an elevated level of service and quality. I’m proud of this investment’s impact and the experiences we deliver to our valued clients —and team members — every day.”

As finding and retaining team members gets harder for rental companies, Freeman offers several ideas that can help businesses in their recruitment efforts. “To attract students and prospective employees, rental companies can offer internships, apprenticeships or co-op programs to provide hands-on learning experiences,” she says. “We can collaborate with educational institutions to create awareness about the industry and highlight the potential career paths available. Additionally, showcasing success stories of individuals who have built successful careers in the rental sector can inspire and motivate students to consider it a dynamic and exciting career option.”

With an eye on future trends within the event rental industry, Freemans says “our industry is ripe for digital transformation across the customer journey and internal architecture. Innovative ideas are top of mind for us at Chair-man Mills as we define our future vision and work to transform and elevate the event experience in Canada.”