The three-day Dare 2 Lead 2022 conference hosted by the IABC Canada Western Region (CWR) was held at the Fort Garry hotel from September 23-25, 2022. Professional communicators from across Canada attended the event, including the western region and the eastern region.

Conference kick-off with a welcome reception

The event started on Friday, September 23, with a welcome reception at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights led by opening remarks from Past President, Jackie De Pape Hornick, SCMP®, CWR Chair, Bart Goemans, SCMP®, and the International Executive Board Chair, Alain Legault, SCMP®.

Creating strong connections

The following morning, everyone gathered at the Fort Garry Hotel and the day took off with opening remarks from the executive committee followed by an incredible line-up of speakers, Dr. Niigaan Sinclair and Rob Wozny, SCMP®, who presented their valuable thoughts on some very relevant and crucial areas of the comms industry.

Break-out sessions focused on Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Certification and Volunteer Recruitment. Leaders had an opportunity to share their knowledge and experiences with a talented group of business communicators who were ready to make a difference. Michael Blackburn, President, Toronto chapter says, “IABC leaders from across Canada came together to share, listen, learn and explore the power of communication. Thank you for allowing me to speak about IABC Toronto’s inclusivity, diversity, equity and accessibility journey and for all the amazing memories!”

Portfolio discussions brought members from across Canada together as a team to connect, collaborate, share their perspectives, exchange creative ideas and discuss their portfolios and share ideas with other regions to learn from each other and strengthen the collective understanding of how to best support chapters in each region.

Andrea Lauder, President, IABC Saskatoon says, “This weekend reminded me of all the things I’ve missed about being around brilliant communications and marketing leaders. We laughed, we strategized, we conquered challenges, and reconnected and reignited our passion for our chapters and membership.”

The day wasn’t over yet

A scavenger hunt at one of Winnipeg’s iconic locations, the Forks, followed by a Dare 2 Lead group photo. Locals and visitors learned more about The Forks through a fun trivia and photo challenge. Everyone loved exploring the Forks, while walking, sharing laughs, teaming and hunting clues and taking selfies during the scavenger hunt. This gave them a chance to collaborate and work together as teams while exploring one of the historical landmarks of Manitoba.

After the scavenger hunt there was time for everyone to unwind and rest up until they joined forces later in the evening for dine-around. A local host from Manitoba accompanied several groups to try out some of the best local restaurants in Winnipeg.

Anu Naveen Sharma, VP of Leadership & Development, IABC Ottawa, says, “IABC’s Dare 2 Lead 2022 was one of the best experiences of my professional journey! Meeting with energetic, excited, curious and humble communicators across the country was enriching!

Reflections from a powerful and proud community

Sunday kick-started with a wholesome breakfast and a rejuvenating and inspiring speech from Keith Macpherson on mindfulness, a reminder about self-care and living in the present moment. Then each chapter used a break-out session to help strategize and plan for the year ahead.

Everyone came together in the main session for D2L “a-ha moments” while the chapter Presidents shared important highlights from their chapter break-out sessions. CWR Chair, Bart Goemans, SCMP®, facilitated an “Ask Me Anything” panel, including Chairs and Vice- Chairs from the eastern and western regions and the Director of Membership, CWR.

Wrap-up and excitement for the year ahead

The conference concluded with closing remarks from Bart, CWR Chair, on an unforgettable event for professional communicators from across Canada. He recognized Crystal Hiebert, SCMP®, and Wendy Elias, Dare 2 Lead Conference 2022 Co-Chairs and the conference committee- Whitney Dencklau, Anne Royal, Shruti Gupta, Irene Dube, Derrick Paulson, Andrea Di Ubaldo, CMP®, for their hard work organizing the event.

He also thanked the incredible sponsors, Firstup, PACE – The University of Winnipeg, UpHouse, IABC Manitoba, and Bee Clean Building Maintenance.

Reconnected and reignited

Attendees headed back home supercharged and inspired, ready to reconnect and reignite.

Wendy Elias Gagnon, Dare 2 Lead Conference 2022 Co-Chair and former IABC Manitoba President says, “Planning an event I’ve attended and loved for so many years was a special opportunity for me. To have it bring the Canada West and East Regions together for the first time, in my hometown, was an honour. It’s a beautiful thing to watch the energy and synergies that transpire when IABC leaders get together.”

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Written by Shruti Gupta