The refrain of Dido’s song Thank You was playing in the background… ♫♪ "Thank you for the best day of my life…" ♫♪
And it was a great couple of days in Ottawa last week as the Greenfield Services team concluded its second annual Engaging Associations Forum.
Apologies for the sentimentality of all this, but our need to express gratitude is significant. This event brought together over 100 senior association executives, meeting professionals, speakers and partners. They gathered at the Ottawa Marriott for a heartfelt exchange on the subject of engagement and management of non-profit organizations. We welcomed 50% more association executives compared to last year, with true coast-to-coast coverage as we welcomed participants from BC and PEI, Alberta, Ontario and Québec.
What was also most gratifying is that almost one-third of participants who had joined us for the inaugural event in 2014 deemed it such a great conference that they returned again this year.
Event hosts Doreen Ashton Wagner and Meagan Rockett, and the entire team, wish to acknowledge the following amazing partners:
- The Loulou Lounge Furniture Rental and chic & swell creative meetings and events team of Carole Saad, Cathy Montopoli and Rebecca Trafford, for helping us create a unique and welcoming environment where participants felt at ease to exchange and connect.
- Robert Thompson, Alex Zubair and the technicians at AV Canada, not only for equipment and expertise, but also for their patience and support in working with a constantly changing scenario, complete with impromptu audience participation and Catchboxes being thrown around.
- Lisanne Bourassa of Consensus Meeting Planning, for your energy and unrelenting attention to all the little details, because true engagement is ALL about the details!
- Rachel Stephan of sensov event marketing who supported us with our website and who, in spite of a family emergency, found the time to tape a heartfelt challenge that got our audience talking during an engaging Meetings & Events session.
- Travel Alberta’s Jennifer Holly, and her dynamic team of partners (Banff, Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer), who supported our vision for a second year in a row. They know the true meaning of partnership because they allowed us to take risks and create an event like no other, dedicated to association executives.
- Lorie Blackwell and Susan Saganski of Marriott International, along with the wonderful team at the Ottawa Marriott, from the General Manager, Sales, Banquet and Kitchen Teams. You rolled out the figurative red carpet for us! Your surprises were delightful, and you made us look good to all our participants.
- Kelly MacDonald-Hill of Speakers’ Spotlight, thank you for bringing us the leadership insights of our opening keynote speaker, Jill Birch. You both helped us realize how relational leadership is the foundation of everything we do.
- Lee-Anne Leckie, CMP of The International Centre in Toronto, you proved that you live your values of creativity and sustainability by agreeing to work with us so we could facilitate the conversation amongst non-profit organizational leaders.
- A passionate, lifelong learner herself, Brenda Howes of The Howes Group helped us connect with Dr. Susan Phillips, of the Master’s and Diploma programs in Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at Carleton University. She is a connector and a trusted partner.
- To our wonderful transportation partners, Lori Wagner of Porter Airlines and Kim Morissette of VIA Rail. The fact that you guys collaborated with us is already amazing; but that you also work together makes this one of the best examples of “coopetition” we could ever find.
- ASI and Canadian representative Andrew Sherwin, thank you for demystifying the metrics of engagement and for providing extra value to our participants by giving them your book The Association CEO’s Guide to Improving Organizational Performance.
- To Allan Isfan and Marie-Louise Doyle at MyEventApps, thank you for teaming up with us. We appreciate your patience as we focused on face-to-face engagement at this event, and look forward to learning more about how we can increase engagement even further with our ubiquitous mobile devices.
And finally to our wonderful suppliers:
o Louis Buschman of EventDawn for your wonderful Catchbox microphones;
o Dean McGee of Xibita for the tradeshow booth that became our A-Ha Wall;
o And Gary Taylor of MyBadges.com for your super-duper magnetic name badges!
The dates for the Engaging Associations Forum 2016 will be announced later this fall!