Joy E. Fox
In the early 90’s I was an Independent meeting planner and regularly attended and participated in industry events. Internationally, I chaired a special interest group of Independent planners and was always blown away by how much I learned from other independents, at these events. There was nothing similar in Canada, but I knew there were a few around, so I wrote a note to an industry newsletter asking if any independent was interested in getting together to discuss issues pertinent to our niche in the industry. I offered to host and 10 people showed up to that meeting at my home in Oakville. It was obvious from the enthusiasm at that meeting, that everyone was as hungry as me, for the opportunity to meet on a regular basis and discuss issues pertinent to our business. We wanted to educate the business world about our business of being independent meeting planners, to create awareness and attract clients.
This first meeting was in 1995. The second meeting was hosted a month later, by a hotel and we had 24 people show up. We discussed strategy and formulated a plan of action. We were off and running! We continued to meet monthly, hosted by various hotels in and around Toronto.
The original name decided at the second meeting was Canadian Association of Independent Meeting Planners.
That was the start. That was our humble beginning. Other hotels jumped up to host us. We had quite a lot of media coverage, as our group was unique in Canada.
I led the group and was the first President from 1996-1997. I was made Emeritus before the 10th anniversary in London, Ontario. The Joy Fox award was also created that year. Now we are coming up to 23 years, so I think it was a good call back in 1995.