By Natalie Hill
I was amongst the first time attendees at the 2017 CSAE Winter Summit event.
As a first-timer, I was not sure what to expect.
My Managing Matters colleagues spoke highly of CSAE Summits and informed me that it would be a great learning experience for a new association executive such as myself. Well, they were right!
I arrived at the Sheridan Hamilton Hotel at 7:00 AM on Thursday, January 19th and concierge was able to check me into my hotel room right away. This was extremely convenient and made it easy for me to drop off my things in one of their nice, clean suites and prepare myself for the day ahead.
It was time to start mingling. As soon as I walked downstairs towards the Grand Ballroom, I was greeted by many friendly CSAE members and was able to get right into conversation and introductions with other association executives.
Being New to Association Management
I started working at Managing Matters as an Account Coordinator in October. As a new executive in this industry, I was excited to get some exposure and meet members of the CSAE community.
The Summit gave me a great head start as a new professional entering the Association world. To any young or learning association executives, this is the perfect way to get your feet wet! Being in this industry for less than six months, it was extremely useful to me. I was able to learn new tips and tricks, as well as meet many other friendly executives and future connections.
The Summit gave me access to a whole network of individuals that are open to new ideas and collaboration.
Workshops, Keynote Speakers & Networking opportunities
The Summit consisted of over 20 Workshops, three speaker spotlights, and multiple networking breakout opportunities. The workshops were extremely helpful and catered to all organizations and members attending. Personally, I focused on the sessions I knew I currently need improvement on or would like to be better educated on.
One of the workshops I was able to attend was Sylvia Plester-Silk’s Are you Conversationally Intelligent?. She gave some great pointers on the different levels of conversations and our rapport with others. Another included Julie Rodney’s Why Your Corporate Culture Can Make or Break Your Business. Julie was a great speaker who was able to engage the audience in her presentation. She gave a description of positive workplace culture and how to obtain it. Julie stressed the fact that an office's environment matters but it needs to support the organization's overall culture.
Workshops were not the only opportunity to learn at the Summit. From keynote speaker Paul Wells discussing the rules of the Ottawa game, addressing National affairs; to Dr. Nick Bontis cracking the audience up with his hilarious stories and presentation on Rising Above the Digital Onslaught; to Dr. Brynn Winegard engaging the audience and providing information on the brain and how we can persuade and influence. Each speaker did a great job, and it is safe to say they had my full attention.
The networking breakouts gave time to talk amongst each other, and network in a more relaxed environment. Members of CSAE vary from association executives, tourism executives, and hotel executives to charities and issue-specific organizations across Canada. I had the pleasure of meeting individuals from The Allstream Centre, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, the Chelsea Hotel, Tourism London, The Association for Corporate Growth, and much more.
Down to the Last Detail
CSAE went above and beyond with the details that tied the whole event together. From the Grand Ballroom keynote presentations and lunches to the Convention Centre dinner & evening event. Every detail was carefully thought out and put together.
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the ping pong tournament that took place before the summit, but I heard I missed out! Activities like this let you loosen up and get to know those around you. This is a great way to kick off the Summit.
The Grand Ballroom was set up with two main screens and multiple smaller screens to ensure that everyone could see. The lunches were delicious with food options for everyone. A charging room was set up just outside of the plenary room to recharge ourselves as well as our phones. What a great idea!
The evening event consisted of a violinist, multiple food stations such as the mashed potatoes and beef cocktails, aerial silk performers, five different beverage stations, and endless space to socialize.
Last but not least, there were endless draws for awesome prizes from all over Canada.
Overall, the Summit was a hit!
I look forward to getting in touch with some of the people I met and using the tips I learned at work and around the office. I would recommend to anyone in the association industry to attend these Summits, as it will help you and your organization grow. More specifically, I recommend to anyone new in the industry that you get your feet wet just like I did -- learn, network and have fun at the next CSAE Summit.
Natalie Hill is an account coordinator with Managing Matters. Her well-rounded skills and dedication make Natalie excellent at organizing multiple projects and resources. Her enthusiastic personality makes her enjoyable to work with and a great asset to the MM team. She has a passion for digital technology and a Bachelor’s degree in Media Communications from Wilfred Laurier University. She loves being current with the latest consumer trends online and in the media. Her commitment to customer service includes identifying and exploring client needs while offering appropriate, tailored business solutions.
Did Natalie's account of the CSAE Trillium 2017 Winter Summit sound fun and exciting? You cannot attend the next one if you are not a CSAE member!