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May 27, 2014 by Speakers' Spotlight

Industry Spotlight On: Lynda Barrett, Canadian Home Builders’ Association

Lynda Barrett is the director of conferences and events at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. In her role, Lynda is responsible for the organization of the annual conference, association meetings and events throughout the year, as well as assisting with both association and industry housing award programs. A valued Speakers’ Spotlight client, we’re thrilled to shine our Industry Spotlight on her today:

Why did you chose your career and how did you break into the industry or land your current job?

In the 1970s, when I returned from backpacking in Europe, I had no idea that there was actually a career such as “meeting planning,” but lucky for me I ended up filling in “temporarily” for an association working on conference registrations. I ended up working at the conference, and it just went from there. Some things were just meant to be!

What advice do you have for speakers?

Know your audience – do your research – speak directly to the industry.

What themes do you see arising in your industry when you book speakers today? Innovation? The importance of social media?  

Definitely innovation and how to use social media to promote your industry. Technology is moving so fast, we all need to try and keep up with the current trends. Our group prefers speakers who make us proud to be Canadian.

Do you have a favourite event that you can tell us about?

Years ago, a conference chair asked me what type of event I would put on for our Presidents’ Dinner if budget was no object. I told him there was no way we’d ever come up with the money, but it would be an indoor carnival, complete with games and rides that would magically appear in the next room right after completion of the dinner. He got the sponsorship, and we made it happen in Winnipeg in the dead of winter. As the formal part of the evening came to a close, our president announced from the podium “please join us for coffee and dessert in the next room.” Then the wall opened up–music was playing, the rides were going, and the popcorn, candy apples, and candy floss served as the dessert. Our delegates are still talking about it!

After one of your big events is done, what do you do? Celebrate in style? Take a break to relax? Go straight to the next project?

On the trip home I usually review my notes while everything is still fresh in my mind. It’s a great time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Then, once home, hopefully a couple of days of rest and relaxation before tackling the next project.

Is there a charitable cause that you feel passionate about? Why? 

Toronto’s Sick Kids’ Hospital. I’ll always be thankful to the doctors and nurses there for the excellent care they gave my son (now a strapping 23 year old) when he was diagnosed as a “failure to thrive.”

Best subject in school?

Typing – I’m glad I never lost that skill! Who would have thought that this would be something almost everyone now uses in their day to day lives, both at home and work! When I first started working, only the support staff typed.

Which Canadian city is your favourite?

Banff – it’s a town, I know, but it’s my favourite. Mountain charm, great restaurants, sites to see and a great spa at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel!

Desert island album? 

Mama Mia sound track.

Last film you saw?

The Other Woman – I laughed out loud.

Celebrity crush?

George Clooney – as good looking in person (seen at TIFF).