The Heart of the Matter

Often in the AMC world several large-scale events and projects converge, staff find themselves staffing AGMs while planning conferences, or attending meetings followed by hours of OT to get the day’s work done as well. It can be an exhausting cycle, and one that can – at times – lead to fatigue, and if you are not careful, a lack of creativity.

Sometimes even the event itself cannot break through the cycle of overwork and sleep deprivation, that while cyclical, can at times feel eternal. While we strive to live in the moment, and be present with our members through important discussions and celebratory events – there can be competing issues requiring our attention.

Such is this current time for me, and for my colleagues here at Association and Events Management. In fact, some of this post was written while waiting to make remarks in front of Federal regulators for Canada and the United States – as I found myself without the Wi-Fi code for a conference I was only briefly attending and did not have the full registration package for. We are in such a heightened time of activity that I found myself unable to sit idly and unproductively, although I knew a half hour’s meditation might actually lead to a more productive balance of the day.

So, dear readers and clients, why on earth am I telling you all of this? Well, recently something broke me out of the cycle. Yes, I have an AGM to plan, a conference schedule to complete, a member benefit survey to launch, a website back-end to configure, and so much more – but, for a few short hours I got to live in the moment.

One of the benefits of working for the Canadian Toy Association is that on occasion we get to actually interact with Kids and Toys, at the same time. The lead-up and indeed the follow-up to these events can be daunting, with 73 toy samples arriving from across the globe (some so new they arrived direct from the factory in China), media to contact, and 84 second-graders to marshal. But, oh is it worth it to see the faces of kids when they realize they’ve just walked into a room of toys, and there are really no rules about what they get to play with – besides golden rules about sharing and of course safety.

We started the day with a bit of a downpour, so I arrived worried about the weather – would we get the shots we needed for the video we were having produced? Would the kids get to play with all the toys? Would there be enough room in the gym? But the clouds parted, the sun tried to peak through, and I remembered why we do what we do. It’s all about the people – in this case very little people.

At the end of the day, Association Management is a service industry – Associations exist to serve their members, their stakeholders and broader society. Be it providing member education, compiling industry data, or ensuring that everyone is meeting a standard that we can all rely on; associations serve people. In all the chaos of running events, answering emails, and just trying to keep the ol’ to-do list down to two pages, and my inbox below 20 items (because I have decided that inbox zero is only practical for other people), we might just forget this simple truth.

Recently the Canadian Toy Association launched this video, that captures so much of the excitement from that day. How can one see this, and not remember – if but for a moment – why we do what we do?