Timesaver’s guide to CIRI
Strategizing the next step
CIRI chose ‘Strategize. Innovate. Lead’ as this year’s conference title. During the financial crisis, it was hard for most IR professionals to get their head far enough out of the water to think on a strategic level, explains Alison Trollope, investor relations manager at Canadian Oil Sands, this year’s co-chair along with Tanis Robinson, director of financial communications at RBC.
But Canada has definitely turned the corner. ‘Companies are raising money, IPOs are popping up, even IR job board postings have quadrupled. It feels like the right time to take a step back and evaluate our IR programs from a truly strategic standpoint,’ Trollope says. ‘As for the subtitle, ‘Defining IR and developing next practices’, if you’ve already taken on best practices, what are the new and different things IROs are doing in the new business climate?’
Download the app
A significant innovation in technology was reached when CIRI began making the whole agenda and speaker ratings available on BlackBerrys. This year the app is not only improved and expanded, but is also on the iPhone. CIRI’s director of communications and professional development, Yvette Lokker, plans for users to do all kinds of conference evaluation right in the app instead of completing print and web surveys following the conference.
This is the first time CIRI has held its annual conference in Lake Louise, a gorgeous spot in Canada’s Rockies – no wonder a lot of attendees are expected to bring their families for some pre-conference fun. The conference itself kicks off on Sunday morning with golf, as always, but also the choice of whitewater rafting, hiking or a photography workshop.
We’re Canadian, eh?
At the 2007 conference in Mont Tremblant, anyone who ventured outdoors was besieged by swarms of mosquitos and black flies. In Lake Louise, the challenge is keeping birds away from the hors d’oeuvres. Still, Lokker is hoping to brave any winged creatures and the high-altitude chill with some outdoor networking receptions.
More of a good thing
Last year in Ottawa, CIRI got the news during the Monday night dinner that the next day’s keynote speaker couldn’t make it. By the end of the party, four senior IR professionals from across Canada had been rounded up for a fireside chat moderated by CIRI CEO Tom Enright the next morning. Perhaps the most popular session of the conference, it is being repeated this year with a group including George Kesteven from Sterling Resources and Meghan Brown from Canaco Resources.
First IR scholarship
At last year’s Tuesday lunch, along with the traditional CIRI Award for Excellence, the first Belle Mulligan Award for Leadership in Investor Relations was presented. Now those two awards will be presented alongside a new honor: the Belle Mulligan Scholarship, which will go to a student undertaking the new CIRI/Ivey IR certification program, starting in September.
Mac Van Wielingen, co-chairman and a founder of ARC Financial Corp and chairman and a founder of ARC Resources, will close the conference with what is expected to be an impassioned speech on leadership and the responsibility to rise above corruption and other systemic problems behind high-profile corporate failures. The heart of his plea will be to raise the bar for corporate executives, including IROs.
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