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September 27, 2013 by Speakers' Spotlight

Staff Post: Kelly MacDonald on CSAE’s 2013 National Conference

Kelly MacDonald-Hill is a Partner and Senior Vice President at Speakers’ Spotlight. She recently attended the CSAE 2013 National Conference and has taken the time to review three of our most popular speakers that were thrilled to participate in the program:

Last week I attended the Canadian Society of Association Executives’s (CSAE) 2013 National Conference in Winnipeg. Called, “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!,” the conference  very aptly featured three one-of-a-kind speakers! I have recapped them below:

Colonel Chris Hadfield opened the conference and shared the joy that comes from staying focused on your dreams. With stunning visuals and stories of life on the International Space Station, Chris explained the wonder and vastness of our universe and how, when we collaborate with others on goals bigger than ourselves, we discover that we have a lot more in common than not. At one point, he described how the human race occupies only a thin outer edge of the earth with miles of molten lava below to the earth’s core, and only three miles of  livable atmosphere above. “We’re sort of like the bacteria on the soap scum around the bathroom sink!” We could have listened to him for so much longer and on so many different topics. I look forward to seeing his speaking career continue to unfold and to working with him to craft presentations to fit different audiences on topics such as his personal journey, making the impossible possible, leadership, teamwork and collaboration, innovation, and more…

The next morning featured the perfect kick start to the day with the courageously silly and wonderfully wise Michael Kerr, aka “The Workplace Energizer.” Picture a leading guru on employee engagement mixed with a dash of Mr. Bean, Pee Wee Herman and the 80’s TV comedian, John Ritter, and you’re getting close to the fun we felt in the room! Michael is, however, as deep as he is dorky (he said I could say that), and whether he’s delivering a light and up-beat keynote or  an in-depth half-day or full-day workshop, his content is current, with extensive practical advice on creating inspiring workplaces, topped with real-life stories of the benefits of having more fun with examples from organizations like Zappos and IBM. All of this sandwiched between enough whacky antics to ensure audiences don’t just laugh but remember all they learned!

The closing keynote was delivered by master storyteller, Doug Keeley. A self-professed leadership junkie, Doug spent years as a conference producer helping organizations to tell their stories to staff, clients, and stakeholders.  He then founded his organization, “The Mark of a Leader,” and set out to compile the world’s biggest library of leadership stories–beautifully mastered video vignettes featuring leaders such as entrepreneur Steve Jobs; self-help sensation Oprah Winfrey; iconic jazz musician Miles Davis; and cancer survivor and Canadian hero, Terry Fox. Other videos are crafted specifically to make a point and provoke thought around an issue or a commonly held perspective. Doug weaves them all together with a narrative to fit a conference’s theme and the placement on the program.  In this case it was to focus on leadership and provide a celebratory close, which he did very well!

The rest of the conference program was packed with concurrent sessions covering the latest in association management.  Day time activities were couched by some fantastic social events, and the Gala’s surprise guest was Winnipeg’s very own mega-rocker Randy Bachman who performed  all his classics, including “Takin’ Care of Business,” “Let it Ride” and, of course, “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!”  It was a great conference and we’re already looking forward to next year’s CSAE conference to be held in Niagara Falls!

By Kelly MacDonald-Hill