Today, many of you are just settling down in the Chrome Room at the Deerfoot Inn and Casino for the opening keynote of the 2012 SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™. With over 250 registered delegates at this leading Canadian sponsorship conference, the outcomes will be phenomenal! Brands, properties, and agencies are here from across the country, from Atlantic Canada to Vancouver Island and from every province and territory in between. As the leading Canadian professional development and networking conference with more delegates, speakers, and breakout sessions, this event is unsurpassed and is proud to be the recognized professional development conference for the industry by the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada (SMCC), which titles the event.
This past summer, TrojanOne and the Canadian Sponsorship Forum hosted an amazing event in Montreal with great speakers and delegates. The SMCC hosts its Sponsorship Conference and Sponsorship Marketing Awards in April each year. Next month, Derek Martin of Sports and Entertainment Atlantic will host the Atlantic Sponsorship Forum. The SMCC Sponsorship Workshop Series will resume in the spring with 14 one-day training workshops in eight markets. In addition, there are the industry-specific sector conferences and training. I am slated to deliver workshops and training with the exhibition industry, festivals sector, fundraising groups, arts organizations, sport facilities and organizations, legal marketing groups, municipalities, oil and gas, tourism, and several other sectors seeking more sponsorship training and development. Our industry abounds with great opportunities for professional development.
If you have not attended a professional development event or training session in the last six months, I challenge you to do so in the next year. Resolve now to attend a major conference that includes some sponsorship professional development and also commit to attending a sponsorship-focused conference or workshop. If you have attended one, push your envelope and double your involvement over the next year.
From both proprietary research done by the Partnership Group – Sponsorship Specialists™ for ourselves, as well as the research found in the 2012 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study, we know that the biggest concern for our industry’s future is a lack of skilled people. Our industry continues to grow, but the growth of professionals is not keeping pace. I believe we are at a crisis point. The level of qualified senior professionals is low. Those who have been in the industry for from four to eight years need to push their experience levels to greater heights. For those with less than four years’ experience, professional development is critical. And for those just entering the business—the folks we are attracting—they too need to “get on the bandwagon.” If we fail to participate in the available professional development, our growth will stagnate on the human resources side. Every time I attend a training workshop or conference, I leave with new knowledge. I increase my understanding of our industry. I learn new thoughts and approaches.
If you are holding a professional development or training event or conference related to sponsorship, let me know—we will promote it. If you learned something cool or new at a conference, tell us about it—we will let others know. The key is to ensure that we grow our HR resources and develop what we already have. Otherwise, our industry will be in trouble over the next 5-10 years.
These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.