CanSPEP Presidents Message – January 2017

There is more than one reason I have chosen to volunteer my time to CanSPEP. When I joined CanSPEP, 10 years ago, it was because I was looking for more ‘hands on’ education on being an entrepreneur, new approaches and processes to deliver meetings and on business development and to connect and learn from likeminded people. I wanted help, in a financially accountable way, to help me grow my business. I wanted help identifying those aspects of operating my business that I didn’t know, I didn’t know. I wanted a deeper and more intimate discussions on aspects of operating a business with other entrepreneurs.

Operating a small business is not the same today as it was 20 years ago. CanSPEP is not the same association it was 20 years ago. And that is, to quote Martha Stewart, a very successful businesswoman who started as a caterer, “a good thing”. The growth of the association shows the growth of our membership. CanSPEPs responsibility now, in part, is to provide tools to help our members work smarter and easier. As members, we gave the association the direction and priorities for those tools through our input on the member surveys. It is then up to the members to use the tools to realize their individual dreams and plans.

So we see that our membership has evolved with the demands of their business environment and this marks a shift in their needs and priorities.  It is this shift that I want to make sure I have an active voice in. I know that I am not the only person, only CanSPEP member who has a dream a vision, a desire of what they want their business look like. I am not the only member who wants to grow their business. It’s your membership, it’s your business, it’s your vision; invest in yourself because you are worth it!

This past weekend marked two major world events – the US presidential inauguration and the Global Women’s March. What does that have to do with us, as meeting and event planners? Well, we are walking into a new era and as such that means there is going to be change. Some of it welcome, some of it not. Some of this change will directly affect us and some of it will affect our businesses indirectly. However, effective response to any change requires action and leadership.

We all in some way have to take action and assume leadership. That action may be a step forward to help ourselves or to help others, and leadership may be of a conference, a board, a committee, a business or even leading ourselves. For me, it meant it was time to take a leadership role within the industry. My business is not the same business when I first opened it, or even the same business it was 10 years ago. Both I and my business have grown and I credit the strength of my growth in part to CanSPEP, through the relationships I have built and the knowledge I have gained – either through our formal education or the informal education I have received from my fellow CanSPEP members.

Part of my growth has been to lead myself, for instance, our recent Business Summit. If you were unable to attend you missed a great session, but I was one that initially said, “are we really doing THAT again? Yes. it was sales, contracts, social media and taxes – I thought, “I know this!”. Boy was I wrong! I learned so much and we are already making shifts at Tap Resources both individually and as a company – from taxes to social media to contract assessments. Jill Harrington, sales guru extraordinaire, said it best, “business has changed, we can’t operate the same way anymore”.

I can share with you my business has never been so healthy, I have never been so happy with what I am doing and I am looking forward to the continued growth and development of my small business. It is businesses like yours and mine that are the backbone to the world’s economy and I look forward to attending more sessions and engaging more one on one with each of you as we collectively grow our businesses and expand not just our companies, but ourselves.

So, like with any volunteer involvement, I have found I have gained WAY more value from giving of my time, expertise or simply an extra pair of hands.   If you’re looking to enhance your business you MUST get INVOLVED!   Attend the CanSPEP events regularly, build those relationships, volunteer on a committee and reap the satisfaction.

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