I think it is quite fitting that the theme for this issue of College Services is Leadership and International Auxiliaries, as I am from Canada and am the Association’s recently installed president. Of the 777 members of NACAS, 58 are Canadian, and four are from other countries around the world, including Australia and Jamaica.
Our recent 46th Annual Conference took place in Montréal; the second time that NACAS has held the conference outside of the United States. In planning the conference, co-chairs Ed Kane (from Carlton University) and I, along with our program and host committee members, gave consideration about what the location and educational experiences could contribute that would highlight the differences of having the conference in Canada. Extra effort was undertaken early in the process to invite delegates from even beyond our traditional North American members, including European countries. It was acknowledged that it would be a shorter flight from most European destinations than from the West Coast of North America to Montréal, making the destination very accessible. Montréal has an international reputation and a European feel; the stage was set to welcome more international delegates. Although we attracted just a few, the relationships with similar organizations and institutions overseas have expanded. We will continue growing those relationships to build a more global organization.
Hosting the conference in Montréal served as a great platform to start the conversation about what considerations are necessary when reaching out to international colleagues. Montréal is in the province of Québec, where both English and French languages are spoken. Many of our institutional colleagues in Québec have French as their first language. An education session was offered in French. All general sessions included greetings in both English and French. Signage included French. These conscious steps demonstrated inclusive excellence principles as well as respectful hospitality to our French-speaking delegates.
The conference in Montréal also served as a great platform for starting the conversation about how auxiliary services are delivered in other countries. Educational offerings at the conference included a session entitled: Oh Canada! We say Ancillaries you say Auxiliaries. This session outlined the differences, but mostly similarities, in auxiliary/ancillary operations in the U.S. and Canada. Wouldn’t it be great to have similar sessions with representatives from other countries at future conferences? These kinds of sessions broaden our thinking about possibilities. If colleagues are approaching a common issue very differently in Ireland for instance, there may be an opportunity to consider that approach in our own operations.
Continuing on this track, colleagues in other countries may benefit from strides and partnerships we have made. Research has shown that educational conferences, webinars, virtual roundtables, and certifications (such as CASP) have tremendous value in going “global” and extending an association’s reach into other countries.
Let’s keep the conversation going…