Thoughts on Annual General Meetings and Member Value

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Jeff Cullen, CIFFA President

Toronto, Ont. April 17 2015   This year’s annual general meeting  (May 7th at the Mississauga Convention Center) is fast approaching and with it, my thoughts turned to two arresting questions. First, I wondered why someone would want to attend the AGM. That lead me to think about why companies and their employees commit to the association as they do every year and what value members receive from CIFFA. We’ll come back to talk about member value in a moment. First – what is the annual general meeting and why would someone want to attend?

The AGM is a business meeting that informs and gives members an opportunity to be heard. As an enticement and as part of our mandate to inform and educate we’ve arranged two exceptional guest speakers to start the afternoon. Betty Jo Parent will entertain us with the logistics of arranging North America’s biggest sporting event ever, the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. Then, the GTAA’s Scott Collier will share with us some of the joys and challenges of moving goods and people through the country’s busiest airport.

National Board of Directors

At the AGM your volunteer national board of directors reports to you, the membership and asks for your approval on certain items. President Jeff Cullen will open with some short comments – rather like a State of the Union address that American presidents like to deliver. (But with no TV coverage).  Treasurer Bruce Rogers will share the audited financial statements and ask you to approve them and the choice of auditors for next year. All of the directors whose two year term is up have agreed to stand for re-election and you’ll be asked to vote on their nominations. In short, an annual general meeting.

And it is more. Last year CIFFA created new national volunteer committees: Airfreight, Seafreight and Customs. Come to the AGM and learn first-hand of some of the many actions CIFFA has taken on issues that affect your business every day, as the chairs of these committees recap the highlights of our work over the past year.

For the first time since 2009, this year you will be asked to vote on a motion to increase the member fees that every company pays to belong to CIFFA. And it is this vote that lead me to think about the value that members receive from the association and to think about cost and benefits of membership. What is member value and why do members support their association?

Member Value

The answer is that value means different things to different members, depending on their needs.

For some it is an instant response to a technical question. Others may value access to latest industry information; great networking opportunities; representation with government, ports, carriers; world class training; or discounted products and services.

How member benefits translate to member value depends on you, your business, your customers, your needs. Membership is about expanding your opportunities and taking advantage of member benefits.

Check out CIFFA’s new website to view some of the benefits. Some – maybe all of these benefits can provide great value for your company. If you know the benefits you can decide how membership can create value for your organization.

Come to the annual general meeting. Learn more about your association. Ask questions. Be heard.

CIFFA is run by members for members and is dependent on members’ support. It is member commitment which contributes to the growth of the association.

‘Freight forwarders: helping Canadians do business with the world’