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Summer Industry Conferences and Events Recap!

Summer Industry Conferences and Events Recap!

Summertime is lovely for the change of pace it provides us both personally and professionally, and the blending of the two that comes with attending industry conferences and events!

In July, we sponsored the closing speaker for the CSAE Trillium Chapter’s 12th Annual Summer Summit. Marnie McBean, one of Canada’s most decorated Olympians and an Officer of the Order of Canada, reflected on her career, drawing parallels to that challenges we all face at different stages of our lives, and the requirements for success throughout.

Here are some great bits of wisdom from her “Be a Career Champion” keynote:

  • In the beginning, it’s about WHAT: Defining “what you want”, and asking questions, such as “what does success mean to you”. Imagery is an important tool every step of the way — if you can’t see it you can’t do it. And then it’s about establishing a foundation toward achieving your dreams.
  • Mid-Career is about HOW: We’ve acquired some experience and success, now how do we want to expand it? How can we manage continued success, and how do we manage the challenges of increased expectations and distractions; managing our time; and staying focused? And how do we continue to grow and change and get to the next level?
  • The Veteran stage of one’s career is about legacy and honing choices to connect to your WHY: Your imagery becomes broader to include family, friends, and colleagues, and what feeds your joy is aligned to your purpose and passion. If reinvention is required, you have all the support and personal confidence at hand to take a risk, to change, to be vulnerable, and to continue to grow…and to be fulfilled by connecting the dots and giving back.

Marnie had wonderful stories to support each point. Some were from her Olympic rowing career and what she learned from the unlikely pairing of herself and her teammate, Kathleen Heddle. Others were from her work as a mentor to athletes during five Olympic Games – work she continues to this day, working mainly with an elite group of Olympic athletes to help them achieve repeat success!

July also had us sponsoring a speaker for The 6th Annual Engaging Associations Forum. This year, we called upon Disruptive Journalist, Satirical Author, and Digital Media Expert Jesse Brown to describe the current digital landscape and his thoughts on the winners and losers of digital disruption, and how associations can work to remain the former and avoid becoming the latter!

The session was titled “Association Management and Leadership in a Trump World”. The Trump Campaign, Jesse claimed, exemplifies how established organizations are being disrupted. Trump used new technology to upset the status quo; he made “experience a liability”; the incumbent became the elite, and the media their colluders.

Smart phones, Jesse said, are disrupting our lives. Technology is about efficiency and providing everyone with a voice and with information in the way they want it. Companies, organizations, and institutions have been about hoarding info. In media, for instance, freelancers used to have to take their independent stories and ideas to the big guys to leverage their exposure, distribution, and advertising dollars.

Today, freelancers such as Jesse (via his Canadaland Podcast) can build the same access from their kitchen table. The former is too big to fail, the latter can fail, and iterate, again and again ‘til they get it right. The latter gives their stuff away for free, builds a following, and then suggests that “hey, if you like this, we’d like it if you could pay us and people do!”

The session then opened to conversations about different association models and the ways they could, were, or would like to change and innovate. Jesse provided thoughtful insight and advice to the discussion, including these pearls of wisdom:

  • Revenue follows engagement. If you have all the engagement and no money, you’re in a better place than if you have high market share and declining engagement;
  • Rethink who you are and what unique thing you offer and concentrate on that. Own it. Share it. Build on that. Become the platform for engagement in your area; and
  • The best data you have is your own. You know what isn’t working — membership is down, etc. The problem is always clearer than the solution, so try different things.

Jesse challenged the audience to “disrupt yourself before someone else does.” “Fail early, fail often. Bake it in,” he said. It will lead to great success!

In August, Speakers’ Spotlight is sponsoring the following speakers at industry events:

ASAE – August 12-15, 2017 – Toronto: Nilofer Merchant and Chris Bailey

AMC Institute – August 12, 2017 – Toronto: Glen Hodgson

Incentive Works – August 22-23, 2017 – Toronto: Seth Mattison and Michele Romanow

FICP – August 24-25, 2017 – Toronto: Stacey Hanke


Kelly MacDonald/August, 2017