President’s Message

WINTER 2022

I want to begin by thanking our 2021 SITE Canada Board of Directors, led by Pearleen Mofford. We accomplished a lot last year, offering considerable networking and educational opportunities.

I am excited and am enjoying my term as SITE Canada President for 2022. We still face enormous challenges as a sector, but with those challenges come opportunities and considerable progress is underway. Stats show 80% of our population is double vaccinated, a significant improvement from this time last year. In Q3 of 2021, in-person events were happening, and people were back to travelling. Moving forward, there will be a lot to tackle with ebbs and flows and continuous learning along the way.

The board's purpose is to divide and conquer together to create a closer connection to our members. We recognize that everyone in our industry is wearing many hats and our goal is to develop a community of engagement through compelling programming and enriching events. Engagement creates connection and camaraderie and we appreciate that our members have stuck with us through these challenging times. 

Our board consists of keen individuals leading a particular portfolio because of their interest in a specific area. Whether it be events, education, developing professionals, or sustainability, these volunteers are hard at work to provide a valuable line-up of events, education, and networking opportunities.  

Here are my thoughts about what lies ahead…

2022 AND BEYOND 
Business meetings and travel incentives are, without a doubt, a major economic driver. Globally, the industry has been forced to work remotely. In-person travel incentive programs provide essential benefits that can't be replaced virtually – employers need incentive programs to re-energize and motivate remote teams. Although there is a place for virtual meetups, people are ready for in-person experiences.

The need for in-person events will be reflected in SITE Canada's value to our members. The summer social and education day are already in planning mode. To bring members closer together from coast to coast, we are hosting in-person regional events with help from our ambassadors in these areas. 

Sustainability is another critical priority as incentive planners and suppliers hold events. Finding ways to reduce waste will be a significant contributor to the success of any in-person event/program. We have added a sustainability chairperson role to the board. SITE Canada member, Liz Akey (EMA Marketing) will be that resource to navigate this overwhelming topic. Liz has already lined up a renowned climate scientist to speak to us this fall.    

"Up-skilling" is the new industry buzzword and I believe that this trend is here to stay. We have all had to pivot, retrain, and re-learn over the last 24 months, and it is a critical barometer of success for business events professionals. Watch as we bring back our Aspire event, where members can learn from various subject-matter experts.

I have always had a passion for learning so I accepted the challenge of being SITE Canada's President this year. In 2022, I say let’s step into it and not be afraid to commit to learning something new. Be sure to take advantage of SITE Global’s robust resources and our chapter’s lineup of education and networking events. 

OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH TODAY 
From a personal standpoint, students and developing professionals have a special place in my heart. I have learned through my years of teaching that students would like to learn about the incentive travel industry. One of the board's mandates is to bring greater incentive travel industry awareness and mentorship to students and industry newcomers. 

SITE Canada's Developing Professionals portfolio (formerly called Young Leaders) will be reaching out to Canadian hospitality program coordinators to speak to students about "what does a career in incentive travel look like?” This portfolio is led by Lindsay Rudyk (Communiqué), a former member of the SITE Canada Young Leaders program. Our industry is reopening and there are opportunities for youth looking to get into the MICE industry. As industry professionals and SITE members, we are responsible for exposing and getting the next generation involved. They are our future leaders.  

ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
A little bit about me….I start every weekday morning with a run with my 4-legged running partner, Chloe. I recently finished reading Aging Successfully, and the essence of the book is to stay active and never stop learning. It is not about dieting or hard-core fitness. I love to learn, spend time outside, and stay connected with others. I enjoy being a key player in a financial risk management start-up company, teaching and working with students in the hospitality industry and spending time with my family.

IN CLOSING
I would like to thank our 2022 board for their expertise and volunteer commitment to SITE Canada. I am looking forward to what this year has to offer. We have a terrific lineup of programs and events coming your way. To our membership – let us encourage and support each other with our shared dedication and love of travel!

DARE! is the theme of SITE Global’s Conference in Dublin underscoring the need for a new roadmap. As we move to a fuller recovery, we will need our wits, courage, and bravado. SITE Canada is here in kinship as we move together into new terrain. Reach out to your board anytime. We would love to hear from you!

Liz Holtby
SITE Canada President 2022