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CME AGM letters from the CEO and Chairman of the Board

Published by Brad Fougere on October 30, 2014

I am pleased to report on CME’s record of achievement and the actions taken by the Association to serve our members better during our 2013/2014 business year.

It was a year of continued economic challenge for Canadian industry.  Yet, thanks to the support and active engagement of our members, and to the efforts of our professional staff, CME made significant progress in improving the business environment for Canada’s manufacturers and exporters.

We focused our efforts on advocacy and services aimed at addressing critical issues facing our members, helping them save money and take advantage of new business opportunities, and supporting their leadership and management improvement initiatives.

Our advocacy efforts made a difference.  CME was recognized as the most influential business association in Canada.  We recorded more meetings with federal officials and more media citations than any other national business association.

At both federal and provincial levels, we engaged our members in developing manufacturing action plans that we subsequently used to promote the importance of the sector together with specific policy proposals in support of both manufacturers and exporters.  We strengthened our CEO councils at the national level, as well as in Ontario and Saskatchewan, which were instrumental in involving members in our advocacy activities and building political support for our policy recommendations.  Our advocacy efforts were supported by all of the 52 industry associations that are members of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, which is chaired by CME.

Our public and government relations efforts paid off.  Our advocacy resulted in the extension by federal and provincial governments of the accelerated capital cost allowance for investments in manufacturing equipment, the creation of strategic investment funds for advanced manufacturing, and the introduction of an employer training incentive.

In addition, CME worked closely with federal and provincial governments to develop new strategies, policies, and programs aimed at negotiating new trade agreements with Europe and our Pacific trading partners, helping Canadian businesses gain access to and operate within international markets, guarding against unfair trading practices, encouraging industrial innovation and productivity enhancement, improving access to reliable, cost competitive energy and infrastructure, eliminating unnecessary regulatory compliance costs, and leveraging new procurement opportunities.

With the support of the Minister of International Trade, we launched our partnership in the Enterprise Europe Network and led three business missions to Europe.  Our trade initiatives complement Canada’s new Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Europe, which is strongly supported by CME.  During the past year they resulted in ten business partnerships between Canadian and European firms.

In addition, our divisional programs continued to showcase best practices in innovation and business management for manufacturers and exporters across Canada.  Through programs and services such as these, CME helped manufacturers and exporters reduce costs, identify business opportunities, and find solutions for their business problems.  Thanks to our partners and sponsors, CME was also able to organize workshops, conferences, and networking events connecting manufacturers and exporters to new business and educational opportunities, as well as to policy makers, across the country.

These are some of the ways that CME delivers bottom line value to our members.  We continue to build on these initiatives to develop a more extensive range of business services to support Canada’s manufacturers and exporters.

I am also pleased to report that CME concluded the year with a net surplus of $124,000, representing a $660,000 turnaround from the previous year.  Our revenues increased 20% to $26.4 million.

CME’s achievements and our ability to respond rapidly to changing economic conditions depend on the input, engagement, and active participation of CME members across the country, and especially the members of our committees and divisional and National Boards of Directors.  I would like to thank all Board members for their commitment, contributions, guidance, and support.  I would especially like to thank our Chairman Rob Hattin for his service, as well as the other members of CME’s executive committee.

Our achievements are due above all to a skilled and dedicated CME staff.  My thanks go to the professional team of colleagues with whom I am proud to work in support of manufacturers and exporters across Canada.

Jayson Myers

President & CEO

 

 


 

A few weeks ago I was in the vestibule of one of our long standing and esteemed members, Siemens, and was reading their Siemens - 100 Years in Canada book.  What a storied and fascinating history.  The first page I flipped to had the comment the only thing that we can predict accurately is that change will happen.  And how true that is.  In the past 2 years, the rate of change in a global context continues to accelerate and we, our companies and the CME must continue to adapt to new and emerging realities.

A quick reflection of some change within the CME ... in the past 2 years we have new DVPs &/or Division Chairs in BC, AB, SK, MB, ON, QC, and regionalized the entire Atlantic.    

Upon taking on the Chair, I was asked for my view and what the theme would be.  Simple ... Have Courage.  Our opportunities are global, we come from a great country to conduct business in & from, we are respected, so let’s take it upon ourselves to find the courage and leadership to engage more in the global economy.  It fits within our Mission & Vision. 

Being my final Report to the National Board of Directors of the CME, I am trying to refrain from a historical rehash of our successes and challenges since accepting the Chair in Edmonton.  At that time, we were facing our 2nd largest operating deficit in history. With the efforts of Jay`s senior leadership team supported by the Board and the Executive, the CME spent much of the next 20 months getting the CME back into financial health.  That exercise was a burden shared by all and in Vancouver, our Audit Chair & Treasurer declared an operating surplus.  During this stressful time, CME staff continued to provide exemplary service to our members, and stakeholders. 

Despite those challenges and the changes resulting, the CME strengthened its position of being the foremost Canadian industrial advocacy organization.  We shaped policy at the most senior and notable levels, we protected our members from regulatory burden, helped craft historic trade agreements and to many, the CME was instrumental in making Canada the best place to do business in.  CME policy is not just received, CME policy is requested.  Our Policy and Advocacy team are the best in the business, because they put forth positions that are fair, balanced and good for the overall economy and all Canadians.  Manufacturing, Exporting and Trade matter.  All great countries do it.

Crisis often leads to focus and the need for deeper examination of our organization.  With a bit of breathing room and the plan for a more substantive operating surplus, at the Vancouver Board meeting, the Board chose to have a thorough review of 3 key areas, which will be discussed at this BoD meeting:

Membership Growth ... to reverse the tide of erosion and add to our industrial voice

Organization Development & Operational Excellence ... creating a unified and coherent entity

Governance ... developing a Board structure for the effective oversight of the organization

The Trade Association business in general is experiencing membership erosion in all sectors, yet associations are the only way of having an effective dialogue with those who influence our economic well being.  No one has time to meet, and few individuals have access to key policy makers, except for professional advocates.  A bit of a paradox. The CME has undertaken measures to correct this trend. From our last meeting in Vancouver, where the Board engaged in an Avatar analysis of member needs, your MIC team and staff have been thorough in creating an Action Plan for growing our membership. 

Also from Vancouver, you endorsed the CEO’s decision to do an Organizational Review and we engaged former Ontario Board Chair, Graham Browne, who is an OD expert as well as knowledgeable of the CME.  After Graham’s pan-Canada meetings with staff and stakeholders, I have recently reviewed his report, which is the most comprehensive review of the CME organization to my awareness.  It compares 4 models and makes a recommendation for you to critique and comment on. 

In Vancouver, we where we received our Governance Scorecard, the matter of Board reformation was raised, and a call to review.  As part of the Browne Report on Operational Excellence, Graham also took upon the task of reviewing a complimentary Governance model.   It puts forward a possible Governance model that could serve the CME well into the future while also improving Division engagement and growing the competencies for our Board members.

I am pleased to receive and consider the Browne Reports on Organizational Excellence and Governance Excellence.  It should be noted that these are outlines that need your input.  This is the beginning of a renewal process, and at this moment in time, you are asked to give both your due and earnest thought.  A few things which I consider positive and enduring changes already is our Gender Diversity awareness, our first open election for Vice Chair, and the formation of the FARM committee.  We advocate change, so too must we demonstrate what we advocate.

Before ending, I would be remiss in not giving my deep appreciation to you, my fellow Board members, those of the Executive, especially Ron Morrison & Roy Cook, whom I worked with closely during our challenging moments and to the Chairs of the Committees where the real work gets done.  I have been blessed by big thinkers, people of good will and values.  And to Jay, his senior leaders  and all of the CME staff across Canada, who worked tirelessly and with little tribute, we are in a much better position today than just a year ago, and it’s to you, that this Board gives its heartfelt thanks. We are thankful for such a strong leader in Jayson Myers who has helped immeasurably our members big and small. And our Corporate Secretary, Susan Kallsen has kept us on track and on time throughout. I have learned much from everyone and met so many strong members.   But mostly, I am humbled by you allowing me to have served this esteemed organization.  I commend you for all of the good things that you made happen; I accept sole responsibility for those less than stellar events, despite my intentions.

Its apropos to thank those long serving Board members not returning, notably former Chairs Ben Hume and Roy Cook.  Larger than life and we have been fortunate for their counsel.  And to fill those voids of thoughtful deliberation are 2 new members, Ross Hornby (GE, replacing Roland Hosein) and Ginny Flood (Rio Tinto).  Leadership does make a difference.

What gives me enthusiasm for the future is that our InComing Chair, Craig McIntosh, whom I have been working with closely on the transition, is a very gifted leader and a person that is a great listener, thoughtful, and decisive.   I look forward to working with Craig and supporting his initiatives.  All of the people I have mentioned started out as colleagues and have become respected friends.  That is more than payment in full for my time here.

The CME has been in existence from almost the time of Confederation ... we have served our members well in the past, and it’s our duty to evolve a sustainable organization that serves us well in the future.  To do so, we must find the courage to change ... change is the only constant.

A la prochaine,

Robert Hattin

Chairman, CME National Board of Directors

 

 

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