Association membership: The bigger picture
As many of you SP&T readers may know, I have had a long history with CANASA, starting in the early 90s attending my first National Board meeting as Quebec Chapter Vice President.
I was fortunate enough to serve under the brilliant leadership of Marc Mineau, who was the Quebec Chapter President following his stint as National President. Before I knew it, I was prodded into the National Secretary position, and so grew a 15-year term on the Executive Board. I enjoyed every moment.
I couldn’t help but think back on things as I watched the new CANASA board being introduced at the Security Canada Central show a few months ago. Some issues, such as false alarms, regulation and the telephone companies entering our space, have been a concern for the past 25 years — as well as a whole slew of new challenges including technology issues and IP, finding skilled labour and addressing the ever-changing security landscape.
What I found during my CANASA days was how the National Board was in many respects a microcosm of Canadian politics. Varied interests, regional dynamics and differences of opinion would be intertwined and have an impact on many of the issues and discussions. But, at the end of the day, all of the dedicated volunteers were pulling towards the same goal: the betterment of the security industry in Canada.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned was the importance of putting on a CANASA hat when you started discussing issues. You were no longer the owner of XYZ Alarm Company, just looking out for your interests, but were representing the interests of your chapter and of the industry as a whole. And, on occasion, you had to make decisions that could have an impact on your chapter and your members and that, while not being the most popular, would be the right decisions for the improvement of the whole industry. That is leadership.
Being involved at that level also gave me the opportunity to network with some of the brightest and most talented people in the industry. I could pick the brains of industry leaders and also came to call many of them my friends.
Being a leader in this industry involves a commitment and dedication such that, by your work and efforts, you can mentor those coming up in the ranks. I have always been amazed at how many do not participate and contribute. There has never been a more important time to get involved in committee work and to just get started. Don’t be shy — ask where you can be of help. The only way you can make a difference is to pitch in. Seeing Robert Branchaud and Normand Fiset presented with the RA Henderson award could not have been more of a validation of my sentiments. Félicitations!
Ivan Spector is president of Sentinel Alarm in Montreal and a member of the Central Station Alarm Association’s board of directors. He can be reached at email@example.com