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Harrison Coerver

Harrison Coerver, Author, Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations | @HarrisonR4R

Our annual general meeting (AGM) is taking place this year from Sept. 27 to 29 in Charlottetown and it’s off to a great start!

Under the theme Building a Stronger Future Together, this year’s conference will not only focus on restoring Canada’s competitiveness but also on the competitiveness and relevancy of chambers of commerce. At the AGM, delegates will have the opportunity to learn about and discuss, with experts and with peers, the challenges facing chambers of commerce and the solutions for ensuring chambers can demonstrate their relevancy to their members. Our chamber network will also determine our advocacy agenda for the year to come.

This year’s AGM will feature multiple sessions by Harrison Coerver, association expert and co-author of the book Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Association and its sequel, Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations, as he coaches the chamber executives in attendance on how to build more strategic, more competitive and more prosperous organizations. Saturday, Harrison enlightened us on how we can improve the function and management of our chambers by empowering the CEO and leveraging staff expertise.

The second plenary session of the day featured the work of our entrepreneurship project’s advisory committee and outlined the findings our latest report, A Path Forward for Entrepreneurship in Canada. In 2013 and in 2014, our advisory committee conducted seven roundtables across Canada with leaders of entrepreneurial firms to identify the challenges they face and opportunities they anticipate to understand how the federal government and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce could support them most effectively.

On the advocacy front, four public policy issues raised most often by entrepreneurs—human capital, infrastructure, internal trade barriers and expanding into international markets—are central to our ongoing work and mandate. They’re included in our Top 10 Barriers to Competitiveness in 2014 and will remain priorities in 2015, along with the issue of access to capital for fast-growing firms. We’ll also develop an advocacy plan for streamlining and simplifying federal programs and have already started advocating regarding federal procurement issues for small companies.

Today promises to be an exciting day, beginning with a keynote address by the Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, and ending with the first round of our policy resolutions debate. Be sure to read the blog tomorrow to learn the results.

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