Few people think that failure is fun. That’s where Virginia Potkins and Amanda Nielsen come in, to prove them wrong.

The duo are producing two innovative events, aptly called FuckUp Nights, or FUN, at The Aviary. Held Nov. 20 and Dec. 12, Potkins and Nielsen hope to entertain their audience with stories of failure.

The three to four speakers featured at each event did fail hard. But they learned from their failures, and moved on to accomplish their goals.

Entrepreneur Christie Mawer has signed on to speak on Nov. 20. Mawer explained she’s started six businesses since her 20s, but they all “died a slow death.” She went on to say, “Passion isn’t enough, desire isn’t enough, personality isn’t enough.” Mawer said she is still figuring it out. “Every effort brings valuable experience. Knowing when to stop is as important as trying.”

Christie Mawer will be speaking on Nov. 20. | Supplied

Each speaker will be followed by a question-and-answer period. Between speakers, the audience will mingle over drinks from The Aviary bar.

“We learn more from sharing our failures than we do our successes,” said Potkins. A true entrepreneur, she has walked dogs, made and sold perogies, and runs the Alberta Avenue community kitchen. She is the new vice president of the Alberta Avenue Community League (AACL). She’s also coordinating the Alberta Avenue Christmas Market at the league hall on Nov. 24.

Potkins learned about FUN in a Facebook ad from Toronto, where the first event was held. Intrigued, she called the organizers to learn more. Soon after, she was given the go-ahead to introduce FUN nights in Edmonton.   

Said Potkins, “I find it refreshing to talk about real life events versus the one-sided, always-perfect image of life as presented on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

Nielsen and her fiance Dr. William Chin opened Norwood Dental Centre this spring. As the co-owner and clinic manager, she said running the new business had a steep learning curve.

Along the way, Nielsen found humour and comfort in sharing her business ups and downs with Potkins.

“We met through neighborhood activities,” Nielsen recalled. “Virginia and I got talking about failure. When something went wrong at the dental clinic, it sucked. Looking back, I can say, ‘Okay, failure was tough. However, I learned to dodge future mistakes because I went through it.’”    

FUN events are a chance to network and meet new people.

“You don’t have to feel alone about your failures. Share some of your life scenarios, whether in business or in relationships. Seeing the positive outcomes, you will feel less isolated about your own failures,” said Potkins.


Nov. 20 and Dec. 12

Doors open at 7:30 pm; event starts at 8 pm.

The Aviary (9314 111 Ave)  

For information on tickets ($20), email teamfunyeg@gmail.com.

Featured Image: Virginia Potkins and Amanda Nielsen welcome you to The Aviary on Nov. 20 for a unique FUN night about failure. | Constance Brissenden