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2020 AGM – President’s Report

BCLMA held its very first hybrid AGM on this Tuesday, September 22.  We postponed our AGM from April until September, due to Covid 19. We were hoping to run the AGM at the April Conference, however, with the Conference being canceled, we proceeded with a hybrid AGM.  We hired Get Quorum to assist us with the technical and voting part of the meeting.

We had 28 members attending virtually and 8 in person at the Terminal City Club, where we were physical distancing.

Last AGM was March 7, 2019 so when I refer to the past year, I’m actually referring to the last 16 months.

It has been a very interesting, challenging and different year, for everyone, including our Association.  However, our Board, Committees and Subsections have worked together to get us through these challenging times and have provided some great virtual events.

I’d like to thank our 2019 – 2020 Board for their dedication and volunteer time over the past year:

Elizabeth Jackson

Rob Walls

Lisa Rennie

Naomi Anderson

Margaret Cividino

Yvette Whitson

Three 3 board positions were available this year as myself, Rob Walls and Yvette Whitson are ending our 3-year terms.  On behalf of the Board and all the members, thank you to both Rob and Yvette for your valuable time, expertise and dedication to our Association.

A special thank you to Jane Kennedy, our Administrator, and also to Heather Orchison as our part-time Assistant Administrator, who also took over as the Chair of the Topics Committee.

A deep gratitude and huge thank you to Angela Zarowny, who is retiring on October 1st from being the Association’s Volunteer treasurer for the past 26 years. Angela is a consummate professional and has provided BCLMA with her experience and knowledge on financial accounting our nonprofit association. She’s seen many changes to the Association, from VALA to BCLMA, and different Board members and Presidents come and go. She always supports our social events and I know we all are going to miss her. We wish Angela all the best with her upcoming retirement.

Special shout out to our:

  • Social Committee, led by Margaret Cividino;
  • Topics Committee with Heather Orchison recently in the lead role; and
  • Nancy Sartene of the Surveys Committee

and all the Committee members for their support and assistance.

The Board had to make some tough decision not to proceed with certain surveys this year, however, we did decide to continue with the Business Services Compensation Survey this month, which includes a Supplementary Covid-19 Survey.

Our 2020 Conference Committee, spearheaded by Shakti Jeyachandran, were dealt a tough hand, having to first plan an in-person conference, then switch to a possible virtual conference, and then no conference. They were brilliant though in offering a Speaker Series, hosting 2 of our Conference plenary speakers, Eric Termuende and Linda Edgecombe, along with our Fall speaker, Cynthia Mills. Well done.

Also, a big Thank You to several of our subsection chairs and co-chairs who have offered, and plan on continuing to offer, Zoom meetings during this time of isolation.

Our sponsors, both through annual sponsorship, and those committed to the Conference, had a hard year too as we weren’t able to provide the exposure, they are accustomed to through our events. Some chose a refund, which is totally understandable during these times.  Some requested we hold onto their sponsorship funds for next year. Our sponsors are truly committed to the BCLMA, and we are very grateful for their support.

We’ve continued to provide quality education by hosting the webinar series with Judy Hissong in May and June, our virtual Speaker Series with 3 dynamic speakers in September and October, and our guest speaker, Norm Bacal, presenting virtually at our Managing Partners’ event on November 4th.

The Board had to recently make the decision to cancel our Annual Winter Social Reception at Sutton Place Hotel on November 19th.  We can all look forward to next year’s Winter Social.

The report on the financial statements for 2019, show we continue to be financially healthy. These funds will help steer us through the fallout of Covid-19 and into 2021.

One of the exciting and fulfilling ventures the Board implemented at the start of my 3-year term was our 3-year Strategic Plan, which is coming to an end next month. I’m certain though our next Board will be exploring a new plan.

We divided our strategic plan into what we called 4 pillars or rather 4 areas we wanted to concentrate and improve on.

The first was embracing technology. Prior to Covid-19, we implemented hybrid or 100% virtual subsection meetings and live streamed, or used Zoom, for our educational events. This allowed us to encompass all of our members throughout the Province.  Also, through the technology pillar, we hired Graphically Speaking to redevelop and design our new website, which is soon to be launched. Here’s a peek at what the new website will look like.

Some of the outstanding features are: easier navigation, and event registration with an online payment option.

Quality Education was another pillar of our plan.  We’ve been very successful these past 3 years with providing some great speakers presenting on very current and ‘on point’ topics.

Our Marketing for Growth team have been working on a plan to attract more members and target new regions around the Province, with plans to utilize the new website as a tool to engage new members.

The Organizational Foundation pillar was instrumental in adding Heather Orchison to the Admin team, searching out an accounting firm, creating handbooks for new Chairs and Board members, and currently working on updating policies, and adding new policies.

In closing, and on a personal note, as I will be stepping away from 2 terms on the Board, this journey has been a very rewarding and satisfying experience.  I’ve been honoured to work with so many wonderful professionals and I am very thankful for this opportunity.

Thank you.

Lorraine Burchynsky
Boughton Law Corporation