Learning is ongoing. Too often, I see leaders in our industry failing to open their minds to new thoughts, new ways, new ideas, or even just a refresher on the basics. What is worse, I see newcomers, who have truly been in the industry less than three years, thinking they know all there is to know.

I am blessed. Right now, I am in Banff, Alberta at the AFP Banff Compass Conference. The speakers, such as Terry O’Reilly, are amazing and the networking is fantastic. The sessions I have attended since Sunday’s arrival, be they on major gift giving, capital campaigns, or community investment, have given me a better understanding of today’s charities and non-profits. I am well-versed in their fields, but each time I attend a session, I am re-educated or learn something new.

The same thing happened last week at the Canadian Sponsorship Forum in Saskatoon. It was an amazing couple of days with great networking, parties, and experiences. It was great to understand new activation concepts, what is working and what is not working in the industry, and of course, the release of the 2013 Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study. For those who missed either or both of these fantastic events, there is one other major national sponsorship-focused event in 2013. It is the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™. Please note that there is also the Atlantic Sponsorship Forum in Halifax in November. This is an amazing regional event that continues to grow and I encourage those in the east to be sure to attend. There is also a smaller Toronto-focused sponsorship conference and summit in November. But the only remaining major national event for sponsorship professional development in Canada will be in Calgary on October 22-23.

This year, the famous 5 Minute Pitch™ will be moderated by Jim Bryant from XEROX Canada and comprise of five selling properties including TransAlta Leisure Centre, Westerner Park, Lethbridge College, and of course, a panel of five brands to hand out their $100,000 mock budgets. Other Congress speakers and panelists also include Angela Savereaux from Canadian Western Bank, Dana Gladstone from Hockey Canada, Lara White from TELUS, Sebastien Auger from Sponsorium, Lauren Ziv from Tennis Canada, Jim Bena from UPS Canada, Kate George from FORTIS Alberta and 20 more speakers, presenters, and panelists.

In addition to the 5 Minute Pitch™, 2013 will introduce the newest panel session pitting brands and properties called “He Said, She Said.” This is an experience you will not want to miss. All the details of speakers, sessions, and registration can be found at SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™. Early bird rates are presently in effect and allow you to attend at attractive discounted rates.

When it comes to sponsorship professional development at a national conference level, you only have one choice left for 2013. It sells out each year with over 250 registered delegates. To learn, grow, and network is essential in our industry and attending the Sponsorship Marketing Council of Canada’s Western Sponsorship Congress™ is a must.

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.

Brent Barootes

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