2013 Exposition Hall of Fame Inductee
Naomi Wagschal, CEM, CMP, Meetings and Exhibitions Business Manager, College of Family Physicians of Canada
Introduction Speech by Sheila Wong, CEM:
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and honorees. The best part about nominating someone to receive this prestigious award is that I get to stand in front of you with a microphone!
Let me step back in time. Our Inductee was an immigrant from England who grew up in Montreal and Toronto. With a degree in English Literature from York University, this person’s career spanned across marketing, advertising and promotion positions for a variety of publishing concerns. Like most of us in this room, this person happened on the trade show industry and immediately embraced it with passion. Once bitten, there was no turning back.
What I’ve noticed about our inductee is that nothing is done hap hazards. It’s all or nothing. On a professional development page, our inductee obtained her CEM and then within two years, received her CMP designation. In pursuit of excellence, the show this person manages was nominated in 2001 for the Canadian Special Events Industry Star Awards for Best Trade Show. In 2004 and 2005 it won the Tradeshow Week’s Fastest 50, for, for being one of the 50 fastest growing shows in North America. In 2011 it reached the status of being one of the 50 largest shows in Canada. Since 2000 the show has more than tripled in size and attendance.
But what amazed me the most is that our inductee always pays attention to the details. In the position of Secretary, this person perused the Association’s Bi-laws for discrepancies or irrelevance with a fine-tooth comb. As a result, during the tenure, the Board voted on bi-law changes that were long overdue. Let me ask you this – has any one of you ever sat down to read the CAEM bi-laws … cover to cover?
Our inductee is a champion of CAEM. To demonstrate, here is an example of going above and beyond volunteerism. This person promoted CAEM’s Health and Safety Program to the MPI Conclave without the financial support of CAEM. Another example is that for many years, we talked about working together in a client / supplier relationship. Unfortunately the organization this person worked for didn’t feel it was necessaryyet need to engage in outsourcing their staffing requirements. Over time, as the show grew, our inductee overcame this hurdle first turned to CAEM connections and true to nature and the belief in buying CAEM, we are now entering our 5th year of working in this capacity. But it was also a win situation for their event because we were able to provide efficiencies and cost-saving measures. I am certain, that I am not the only supplier who has felt this loyalty and willingness to engage in open communication to improve the bigger picture.
I am also proud to call tonight’s inductee my friend. The bonds we share in our industry is why I wake up every day loving my work and the people I deal with.
I once heard that integrity is a characteristic we should seek in those we look up to as our leaders. I say that integrity alone is not enough. Integrity by definition is being consistent in action and values. Well, if that’s the case all of our politicians have integrity since they all consistently break their promises. For me a true leader is someone who has integrity with strong morals and ethics. And these are just some of the characteristics I would use to describe tonight’s Inductee to the Hall of Fame. She has always given of herself to CAEM, selflessly, selflessly and without her own agenda. She continues to serve humbly. This was consistent with her life before CAEM. As a graduate from York University, she was the president of the Alumni Association. As a wife, she helped her husband with marketing his computer business. As a mother, she was devoted to her two sons and gave back through volunteering and fundraising in her community. This is the stuff of leaders.
Please join me now in welcoming to the CAEM Hall of Fame, the Exhibits and SponsorshipsMeetings and Exhibitions Business Manager for the College of Family Pphysicians of Canada, Naomi Wagschal., CEM CMP.
Acceptance Speech by Naomi Wagschal, CEM, CMP:
Thank you for that very kind introduction Sheila. I would not be here on this stage tonight, accepting this exceptional award if it had not been for some very special people in this association and a very generous employer. I know that I’m limited to five minutes and people don’t really want to hear hundreds of names listed in a thank you speech. However, I ask you to bear with me. I can’t accept this award without also acknowledging those whose support, efforts, and guidance contributed to my achievements.
When I joined the Canadian Association of Exposition Management in 1997 I did not know anyone in the industry. I had reached a point in my career where I realized that I needed more education to deliver a better exhibit hall for our delegates and exhibitors. As an association show manager I did not have the luxury of fellow employees to mentor me. CAEM was an ideal fit, providing education and introductions to industry professionals.
Initially I simply took courses in sales, sponsorship and operations. It wasn’t until 2001, when I attended my first CAEM conference that my journey of active involvement began. Right from the start, at the first-timers reception, I connected with people who played an important part in my developing role in CAEM. There I met people like Anita Schachter, Marti Milks, and Rena Menzies who reached out to include me. That fall I joined the education committee and met more people who became mentors for me. I was nominated to join the Board in 2002, the Executive in 2003, and when I was asked to move into the first vice-president role in 2005, little did I realize what the future had in store.
I had the honour of leading CAEM as it began to undergo administrative changes but would not have been able to keep the association running while we were searching for a new executive director if Deborah Dugan had not been there by my side or on the phone almost daily for three months.
I would not have had the honour of watching this association grow strong under the extremely professional management of Serge Micheli and Michael Dargavel if not for the search committee led by Julie Brown, assisted by David Chisholm, Stephen Dempsey, Deborah Dugan, and Sheila Wong. I am especially proud of this group because their recommendation, made after interviewing individuals and association management firms, for us to choose A&E, was pivotal to the strengthening of the association and significant improvements in member services that we have experienced since 2006.
I would not have chaired the task force that developed the Health And Safety Best Practice Guidelines For The Exposition Industry if it had not been for Julie Brown’s proactive approach to having CAEM take a leadership role when our members were being targeted by Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors. Barry Smith, Arlene Campbell, Mike Lecour and Gail Bernstein were instrumental in providing the financial support that the task force needed. CCR provided the resources for me to do the introductory video that plays before the health and safety course that we developed. As you may know this course is now part of the advanced CEM course curriculum.
I would not have been able to lead the CAEM response to the CRA threat to remove the GST rebate for foreign exhibitors if not for the letter writing campaign conducted by our members to their respective ministers of finance
Members of this association including Don Hobson, Bill Bradley and Peter Bowie stepped forward when the Electrical Safety Authority wanted to impose fees on individual electrical installations at shows and began to rewrite the regulations on foreign electrical equipment being shown at member tradeshows.
I would not have earned my CEM if not for the negotiations with IAEE by Deborah Dugan and Serge Micheli, to bring the certification courses to Canada.
The 2011 CAEM conference in London that I co-chaired with Lisa McDonald owed most of its success to our many committee and subcommittee volunteers, and to our members, who showed up in record numbers.
Without the committed volunteers on the Board of Directors we would not have continued to build an effective strategic plan that brings action item responsibilities to the committee level.
You have heard me on this stage in previous years extend a special thanks to all of the employers who share you, your time, and expertise with CAEM. Their support for our time away and their generous sponsorships of CAEM’s events must be applauded. We can’t thank them enough.
The ten years that I spent on the Board, including eight on the executive would not have been possible if not for the strong support I received from my employer, The College of Family Physicians of Canada. I have to thank our recently retired CEO, Dr Calvin Gutkin, especially, for his unquestioning support of my time away at CAEM meetings.
Our COO, Theresa Maguire-Garber is here tonight and I would not want her to think that all I did for 10 years was take courses and lead the association. During my years of membership in CAEM I have met so many of you, learned from you, and developed a rich network of people who shared their knowledge unstintingly. I’ve applied the lessons to my own show. I truly believe that the success of Family Medicine Forum, in growing to be one of the largest medical tradeshows in the country and now on the Canadian Top 50 list, is directly related to the professional development and networking I benefit from at CAEM.
You hear thank you speeches where people thank others for their support over the years. They usually include thanks to their families. Mine is no exception. My husband, Léon, has been cheering me on for years. I’m so pleased that he, my son Rolf, and our very good friend Ross, together with several coworkers from the College of Family Physicians of Canada are here tonight to share this very special evening with me. I also want to thank those who nominated me for this award, Sheila Wong, Arlene Campbell, and Julie Brown as well as the Nominating Committee and the Board of Directors.
Many years ago my yoga teacher taught me that the word Gratitude can be interpreted as ‘great attitude’. I thank all of you for helping me develop that great attitude.
Thank you so much for choosing to include me in the CAEM Hall of Fame.