Today was an easier day for me at the annual conference because I didn't have many official duties. Eagle won a huge award in recognition of our Community Service and that is a big win when so many of the companies in our industry are very generous with their charitable support.
The other duty I had was to help with a session for our technology sector and unfortunately the speaker couldn't make it at the last minute because he injured himself. If I was a polite person I wouldn't mention the words "unfulfilled commitment", but then again if I made a commitment to speak at an annual conference I wouldn't bail 24 hours before my commitment either! In the end it was not a big deal, but I feel it was a black eye for our IT special interest group in an otherwise great conference agenda.
The up side of our "no show" was that I got to attend a session on differentiation which was based upon the book Blue Ocean Strategy. This is a great book that I can't believe I haven't reviewed at some point on this blog!!! I will commit to doing that sometime soon ... but it is basically about redefining your companies market space to eliminate competition. The presenter was a former ACSESS President, friend and industry colleague Bruce McAlpine.
In addition to Bruce's session and the industry awards I attended a very credible session from Fran Goldstein, who wishes her clients a Frantastic day. Definitely a high energy lady with a slightly more aggressive sales style than the typical Canadian (she is from East Coast USA)... but some very good ideas and messages.
I went to an presentation from the WSIB (Workers Compensation people in Ontario) which was another good presentation, that explained their corporate focus on zero accident workplaces in Ontario.
Perhaps my favorite session of the conference thus far was one on mergers and acquisition that featured three well known industry leaders herein Canada talking about their experiences as acquirers and as acquirees! Good information based on real life experiences, with no BS or posturing! Good stuff!
Once again I am convinced that conferences can be one of the best educational tools for any business leader, providing content, networking and the opportunity to establish a reputation for supporting the industry.
For me the 10th anniversary ACSESS conference has been the best one yet and we still have another day to go! If you are given a chance to attend high value industry conferences then grab the opportunity! If you are a business leader then absolutely support your industry association by sending some staff to their conference. I am extremely disappointed that some of the leading companies in our industry are not represented at this event ... in the same way that I think everyone needs to be association members, I also think we have a duty to support these events
The Return on investment is significant in pure learning opportunity, but the networking and reputation building opportunity is probably just as important!