BEICC update: Preparing to take on today’s important meetings industry issues

By Bob Parker, Chairperson BEICCBusiness Events Industry Coalition of Canada (BEICC)

As spring is on the doorstep, thoughts move to planting seeds for the much anticipated growing season. It is time to groom, fertilize, and prepare the fields for the opportunities ahead. The business meetings and events industry in Canada is perhaps one of the most diverse economies in this country, impacting many sectors, and deciding which seeds to plant and fields to nurture is a most challenging task.

The foundation of the Business Events Industry Coalition of Canada (BEICC), in the early days of 2009, was no question reactionary. It was a reaction to the downturn in the economy, and hoped to serve as a unified voice for an industry that at sometimes appears to have diverse messages. The 2008 MPI Canadian Economic Impact Study had just been released, and we now had concrete evidence that not only was there a significant impact directly by the meetings industry on Canada’s economy, but an overwhelming indirect impact. It was time to react.

Planning is key

Strength never comes from working in an environment of reaction, unless you have planned and prepared well to meet what challenges might come your way – any good meeting planner will tell you that! When you have planned well, you can then respond to unforeseen problems and even take initiative to impact those challenges you anticipate coming your way.

In our initial years at BEICC, we have worked to address issues that have impacted parts of our industry, and have done so as a reaction to influence the impact these concerns might have on our industry. In reaction mode, both ambiguity and emotion can run high, making collaboration an even greater challenge.

There is a great deal of commitment behind all the members who make up BEICC to ensure that it has a viable place in our industry. We are excited to welcome our newest board members:

  • Bev Hill – PCMA
  • Lynda Hoff, CMM, CMP – MPI Toronto Chapter
  • Rose Timmerman Gitzi – CanSPEP

With gratitude we thank Heidi Wilker, CMP, and Sandy Biback, CMM, CMP, as their terms expire, for their long-term service to the BEICC board. They have provided countless, unselfish hours and commitment. We appreciate their continued support of our coalition.

As Rita Plaskett, CMM, CMP, takes on the Past Chairperson’s role, we are also thrilled that Joe Orecchio will take on the responsibilities as Vice Chairperson.

Anticipating challenges

With these changes to our board, we have begun to look at how we can create a structure that will enable us to anticipate future challenges in our industry, and mobilize our efforts to meet them before they cause undo problems that distract us from our individual businesses.

Our industry Town Hall that we hosted last fall was part of our strategy to look forward and gain some insight into what issues are on the horizon. We are grateful to those who attended and shared their insights, and we are committed to continuing this dialogue with everyone that is impacted by this industry.

From this event, we learned important insights that will help us in our planning. We need to:

  • Leverage the key insights that we learn from the upcoming MPI Economic Impact Study and communicate these to business partners and all levels of government;
  • Develop stronger connections to various levels of government to better influence strategy;
  • Foster stronger and more connections within our industry partners.

You will continue to see us asking for your input and ideas, as they are most welcome and needed. The Board of Directors Strategic Planning session in the early spring of 2013 will help us to further move BEICC out of our initial reaction phase, which was necessary, and allow us to groom our field, so we can plant the seeds for future growth of our industry.

You can also anticipate BEICC building additional relationships to strengthen and broaden our impact; develop working groups that will focus on key result areas in the industry, and continue to provide clarity on issues that affect our industry and the Canadian economy.

About the author

Bob Parker is the current chairperson for BEICC, and representative member of CAPS (The Canadian Association of Professional Speakers) where he is the National President-Elect. He has worked in this industry for over 20 years as a thought leader on building high performing cultures and teams. You can contact him at bob@bobparker.ca, or info@beicc.com.

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