Attendance Justification Toolkit
Show Them Why: 2017 BC Economic Summit - Making Waves
Attending the BCEDA BC Economic Summit will be the most cost-effective professional and organizational development choice you make all year. It is the most relevant and densely-packed educational and networking opportunity available to anyone with economic development responsibilities. The informative keynote addresses, breakout sessions, and other learning opportunities will enable you to expand your industry knowledge, learn about game-changing trends, share new ways to improve productivity and competitiveness, and enhance the practice of economic development to build your community of tomorrow from the ground up. You will learn the state of some of BC’s key economic sectors and how you can play a role in ensuring that your community benefits.
However, we understand that the economy is impacting many travel and training budgets, leading to many budgets being reduced or eliminated. Here are tips to support your case to attend the Summit:
- Focus specifically on what you will bring back to the organization as return for the investment, and how this will benefit your work, your organization's goals, and the community. For example, what sessions will you attend and what immediate impact will they have on your work? What exhibitors will you visit and how will this help your organization? Which experts will you have access to and what knowledge would you bring back to share with your organization?
- After the Summit you will be taking valuable knowledge home with you. Offer to deliver a briefing to your colleagues and/or the management team to share what you learned so that others in your organization will receive the benefits of your attendance, too.
- Share speaker handouts and other collected materials with your colleagues. As a delegate, you will have unlimited and free access to speakers' materials posted on a password-protected section of the BCEDA website.
- Be ready with a plan that shows who will cover for you while you are attending the Summit.
- Ask "what is the cost of NOT attending," in terms of both your ability to stay abreast of new developments and missing valuable tools, perspectives, and relationships that will help your organization anticipate, adapt, and take action to build your community of tomorrow.
- Be sure to check out the registration page where all the various rates are listed to see if you qualify for any of the lower rates or discounts. Don’t miss the early-bird deadline of May 5, 2017 and stay in the hotel block for additional savings!
- Share the article about how to calculate ROI of the conference How to Justify Conference Attendance by Mike Doyle.
When you propose attending the BC Economic Summit, focus on specifically what you will bring back to the organization to demonstrate return on the investment. Use this “benefits guide” to help state your case:
Knowledge Benefits from the Educational Program
Consider your organization's specific goals or needs, and then consider how specific elements of the conference will help meet those needs. Sessions are strategically focused to help you advance your relationship building skills, develop innovative solutions, reimagine business strategies and leverage emerging trends.
Session Content: Which keynotes, workshops, interactive sessions have particular relevance to your organization's current priorities and goals? Are there sessions that will provide insight into a particular challenge or goal your organization is facing right now, or expects to face in the next 12 months? Identify specifically what you can use, and how.
Training and Skills Development: Which of the sessions are most relevant to your professional development goals or your organization's expectations of you? What new skill(s) or approach(es) will you bring back?
“The field of economic development is changing rapidly and in uncertain ways. It is difficult to view the 'forest' when we're working at the 'tree' level. Our organization needs to anticipate, understand, and adapt to changes both in the policy environment and in professional practice.”
Strategic Benefits from Educational Program
“Attending the BCEDA Summit will enable us to see how the field is changing and how we might adapt to be a leader.”
"This summit will enable me/us to meet and interact with economic development practitioners from the private and public sectors in similar roles. We will be able to take the pulse of what our peer organizations are talking about and planning for, and how they are accomplishing [specific goal or activity]."
Team Capacity-building Benefits (if multiple individuals from your division/organization attend)
"The summit will help build our team by providing a forum for team members to learn and discuss best practices, new tools, and emerging trends. Doing this together will build a shared knowledge base for applying this information to improve our strategies, programs, processes, and outcomes."
Talking Points (what/why)
Please use or adapt any of the points below to help you communicate what this conference is about and why it is important for you to attend.
What is this conference?
This is annual BC Economic Summit hosted by the British Columbia Economic Development Association (BCEDA). BCEDA changed the name to a Summit in 2011.
What is BCEDA?
BCEDA is an independent non-profit association of persons engaged in the economic development of British Columbia and its municipalities. The Association was formed in 1979 and was incorporated in 1981 as the Economic Development Association of BC (EDABC). In 2013, the Association changed its name to reflect the broadened and changing nature of the economic development in BC. Today’s membership embraces a broad spectrum of economic development practitioners across a variety of professions and at all levels of public and private sectors ... each adding specialized knowledge to the existing and ever expanding resources of BCEDA. Today’s membership includes Economic Developers, First Nation Communities, Local Government Mayors and Councils, Chambers of Commerce, Provincial and Federal Departments, Private Industry and more. With over 450 members, BCEDA is the fastest growing economic development association in Canada.
Why this conference/Summit?
For 36 years, the conference has been British Columbia’s premier event for those involved in economic development practitioners with a common purpose: to build more prosperous and economically sustainable communities. It provides educational programming, case studies, interactive sessions and networking opportunities that will demonstrate different approaches and strategies to respond to current economic challenges and opportunities. It provides an opportunity to connect with 150+ leading economic development players who attend the Summit. The Trade Show is an opportunity to connect with vendors that provide services and resources of value to the economic development community.
Commit to your manager and others up front that you will prepare and share a post-summit report with him/her and the team. A post-summit report of one to three pages conveys key information about the summit to people who did not attend, and ensures that you will transmit its value effectively to your organization.
Examples of information you might include in the report are:
- Executive summary of key themes, concerns, ideas, and practices discussed
- Keynote session highlights
- Specific workshop highlights
- Networking event take-aways (new contacts, why they are important, who will follow up and when)
- Information about products and services gathered from conversations with vendors in the Showcase
- Program ideas or recommendations picked up or thought up while at the meeting
Consider working on the report while at the summit or during travel back home. This is when the information is freshest in your mind so it makes the report much easier to write and quicker to deliver.