Timesaver’s guide to CIRI
CIRI’s 25th annual conference is entitled ‘Accelerate your strategy’ and it kicks off in Montreal on the last day of the F1 Canadian Grand Prix.
Attendees are invited to join the noisy fun at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday before getting down to work. Expect the racing theme to continue, including at the big Monday night party. Get your driver’s suit or pit-crew uniform ready.
After Yvette Lokker’s first conference as CIRI’s head of professional development in 2009, she surveyed members to find out whether they wanted their annual event to be held in a city or a resort; the results came back 50/50.
Beginning the following year in Ottawa and then Lake Louise in 2011, CIRI has been alternating between cities and resorts ever since. This is the first time the event has been held in Montreal. Last year there were more than 225 attendees. As IR magazine went to press, registration was up 20 percent on the same point last year.
The best thing about CIRI’s conference program is that it has IR professionals who have been in seriously difficult situations lately. For example, Canadian Pacific Railway’s vice president of investor relations and corporate planning, Janet Weiss, will be attending fresh from a heated proxy fight against Pershing Square’s Bill Ackman. In addition, in successive sessions, MOSAID’s Michael Salter and WiLAN’s Tyler Burns will each tell his side of last year’s hostile bidding situation.
Outside the box
Almost all the speakers are from within the IR community – with a single dramatic exception: Estelle Métayer is a strategic communications expert based in Switzerland as well as an adjunct professor at McGill University in Montreal.
She will talk about using the ‘invisible web’ to uncover competitive intelligence and how others may be using it to research your own company. ‘It should be eye-opening – and maybe a bit unsettling,’ says Lokker.
Upping the chatter level
CIRI has been moving away from static presentations to more fireside chats and roundtable discussions that get the audience involved. ‘There’s so much knowledge in our membership base to take advantage of, whether they’re on a panel or not,’ Lokker explains.
Congratulations to the students in the first CIRI/Ivey IR certification class, who will complete their course credits at the conference and begin preparing for final exams.
App a goner
CIRI was a tech adventurer when it put its conference program and speaker ratings on BlackBerrys and iPhones. But the take-up was small and this year organizers have gone for a simple pocket agenda instead. What it lost in greenness, however, CIRI is making up for by dispensing with USB sticks and instead making session materials available on the web ahead of time.