The Keys To Success In The Association Industry, As Told By The CSAE Trillium Chapter Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 CSAE Trillium Chapter Award Winners. The honorees were feted at the annual Awards Dinner on October 6. Forum asked each award recipient to fill us in on their keys to success. This is how they answered:

Robert Ramsay, CAE, Chapter’s Circle of Distinction Award

“Well, there are numerous things that have stood me in good stead. First and foremost, hiring and working with nice people who are also intelligent, hard-working, reliable and fun to be around.

Next is being so fortunate to have great members of the boards of directors. Whether by luck or good planning by the member companies, I have been blessed with well-meaning, clear-minded, professional leaders. They have given me vision and direction and let me run with the ball. A CSO cannot ask for anything better than that.

The third item is great, supportive family and friends. It is not always easy to make or implement decisions that could affect or do immediately affect hundreds or thousands of people’s livelihoods. As the CSO, you are always trying to do the right thing for your members, but also for Canada and Canadians. Finding and articulating that balance is a significant responsibility and sometimes a lonely task.

And last, but certainly not least, are the skills, knowledge and leadership I have gained from the CSAE and the men and women who serve in the not-for-profit sector in Canada. Over the years, I have made a lot of long-lasting friends who provide insight and wisdom and I have benefitted greatly from them all. Thank you all!”

Sandra Moniz, CMP, Chapter Service Excellence Award (Business Member)

“To me, my success is measured by how many lives I have touched and how many relationships I have made. I often think about what made me so passionate about volunteering and being an extremely engaged member of the associations that I belong to and I am still searching for the ultimate answer. For now, I am content to think that giving back is something that is natural to me. It’s kind of like the matter-of-fact slogan of the Canadian Blood Services, ‘Blood, it’s in you to give.’

To me, giving back is the least that I can do in appreciation for all those that have given to me; those who have returned a call, given me their time, and made time when I requested some assistance. I like to think that we are in the people business and in a world that races by us and becomes complicated more and more each day, I enjoy the simple pleasures behind contributing towards a group that binds us together. After all, isn’t that what being part of an association means? If you are going to commit, it needs to be 100% and that includes rolling up your sleeves and making the world (and your association) a better place. Volunteering: We are all capable, let’s make time to give back!”

Natalie Wallace, Emerging Talent Award (Executive Member)

“My key to success is passion. No matter what you’re doing, if it’s something you love to do, you’re going to excel. Passion shines through everything, and it’s also what makes a person fun to work with as well.

At the end of the day, you should be doing what you love, and loving what you do. That kind of genuine passion will drive you forward, and ensure success. Passion is what drives people to volunteer and to give back to the communities they care about. Passion is what gets us up in the morning. I believe it’s the primary key everyone needs in order to find success.”

Marc Cousineau, Emerging Talent Award (Business Member)

“There are many ways to cultivate success in the association industry, both big and small. However, the one element I think is probably the most important is the desire and the ability to build relationships. Building relationships with people in the industry is critical to not only forming new partnerships that have a foundation of trust and mutual benefit, but to open your eyes to new and better ways of going about business. Participating in networking opportunities, volunteering, attending educational events and simply meeting with someone in the industry for lunch or a coffee are all ways to build relationships that can lead to countless new ideas, resources, chances for growth (both professional and personal) and avenues to improve your organization.”

Joan Lee, CAE, Chapter Service Excellence Award (Executive Member)

“Be passionate about what you’re undertaking. Understand the big picture so you have a better grasp of what you can contribute. Accept that everyone will not always agree with you and/or your direction. Appreciate the fact that, regardless of title, there is a time to be a leader and there is a time to be a follower. Follow through with what you’ve committed. Do not be afraid of admitting that you were wrong, be willing to collaborate and respect others.”

Rozalyn Werner-Arcé, CAE, Presidents’ Award

“Developing a network of contacts and supports is crucial. Thanks to the CSAE Trillium Chapter, I have developed a broad network of friends and colleagues, including executive and business members, who I can reach out to for advice and support. They listen, share their experiences and best practices, and even respond to benchmarking surveys. I’ve also found that business members understand that although I may not need their services or product now, I may in the future and so it is important to keep those doors open too.
Supportive employers are also essential. I’ve been most fortunate to have had employers, including Executive Directors and boards of directors, who have understood why it is important to support staff in their professional development and have made it a priority in organizational plans. In return, I have always ensured that the organization has benefited by bringing back and implementing new ideas and resources to improve the organization’s effectiveness.
Mentors have been an ongoing help for me in my career. I have been most fortunate to have a few mentors at various stages of my career who have provided insights, guidance and opened a few doors for me.
Last, but certainly not least, a supportive family is key to success. I am grateful to my family, all of whom have been supportive over the years. They have been understanding while I have worked long hours or spent time away from home, and have been my biggest champions when making big life decisions.”