Receivable/Accounts - Information for Credit and Collection Issues

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Experience At The Credit Institute of Canada 2015 Conference

So, I've found my desk and had time to think about the Credit Institute of Canada national conference held in Quebec City last week that I attended -- and while the mountain of work that built up while I was away was a bit intimidating, I'm thrilled I went, and I'm going to the next one in two years.

This was my first time attending, but I had heard good things from people in my industry from the 2013 conference held in Alberta.  As well, almost all of the board of directors of the Credit Institute of Canada London Chapter were planning on attending, so it was a given that I would go.  I believe that if you belong to an organization, you should participate, and contribute if you can to make it better -- while this trip was a learning experience for me, I have a better idea now on how to contribute to the CIC.

Quebec City isn't a far drive, so I arrived Tuesday afternoon in time for the reception -- the Chateau Frontenac is an elegant place, and upstairs in the ballroom it was loud and boisterous -- not usually the words I'd use to describe credit managers, but it was certainly lively.  I immediately started running into colleagues I've known for years, people I've only talked to over the phone or on Linkedin, and people I knew through association.  The best part was that I had a few days to spend time talking to people that I know, rather than rush through a one day event, so we actually spent time talking about family, and travel, and business in detail.  I even got to know my local chapter members better, because when we meet in Ontario, it's a shorter event and more business focused, and here we were able to relax, go for dinner, and be ourselves.

The other thing I noticed is that the conference celebrated the culture of Quebec.  One of the gala evenings was spent at the Museum of History, and you could tell there was attention being paid to where we were -- rather than shelter us in a conference center, the meals and outings were a great showcase of Quebec City.

The keynote speakers were excellent, and the breakout sessions were tailored to smaller groups and were informative -- I learned some new things and brought some of that back to my company, which is of course the whole point of the core role of the Credit Institute of Canada to educate it's members.

While the whole event was in a formal place, and some of the galas and dinners were formal occasions, the whole event felt far more casual and familiar than I expected -- and that's great, because it means it wasn't a power meeting of business suit wearing executives, it was a meeting of people with similar challenges and interests, and it was a community.  I often believe and say that the credit manager is the last of the general manager roles out there, a non-specialized professional who has to be good at many different things, and deal with various challenges from accounting, sales, operations, technical support, and more to be good at what they do -- and that is exactly who I saw and spent time with in Quebec City.

I was, however, surprised to see only a small handful of collection agency professionals there -- I would think that they would want to be more involved with their industry.  However, I understand that there were a lot more out two years ago, so it's possible timing and location just played a part in that.  The collection folks that were there were friendly and approachable, and we may have swapped some war stories over dinner.

What I'm very excited about is the next conference in 2017 in Vancouver -- I really am looking forward to contributing to the Credit Institute community, and I'm energized to help how I can, whether it's speaking in a breakout session, or flying out west to support our group.

My point to all of this is, I really got a lot out of going, and I would like to encourage any credit professionals reading this to consider going -- and in the meantime, come out to your local Credit Institute chapter meetings and get involved with your unique community.  Where else are you able to learn and share what we know and the challenges we face?

If anyone has questions about the Credit Institute, specifically the London or Conestoga chapters in Ontario, or want details on the Vancouver conference in 2017, feel free to give me a shout.

Thanks kindly,

Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer
KINGSTON Data & Credit
Cambridge, Ontario

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