The weather seems to be a highlight of everyone’s conversation this winter. As I write this in early April, we just had another round of snow in Wisconsin. Earlier this month, I traveled to Montréal with several NACAS Board members and our CEO for a conference site visit and a Finance Committee meeting. We worked on the NACAS 2015 budget and visited the conference hotels and the Palais des congrès, Montréal’s well-appointed convention center. The weather was similar to Wisconsin’s in March, but luckily our annual conference will be held in October!
I hope you plan to attend the NACAS Annual Conference this year in Montréal from Oct. 5–8. The conference committee is planning a wide variety of educational sessions, including three dynamic keynote speakers: David Chilton, who will give you funny and practical advice on investment, personal finance, business strategy, and how to pursue your campus’ financial goals with confidence; Montréal’s Cirque de Soleil’s Lyn Heward, who will take you behind the scenes at Cirque and reveal how to ignite the creative spark in all of your employees; and Frans Johansson, who has advised executive leadership from the world’s largest companies as well as startups, venture capital firms, government agencies, and universities around the world. There is also a tour of McGill University, which ranks first in Canada among medical-doctoral universities (Maclean’s) and 21st in the world (QS World University Rankings). Of course, there will be our traditional networking opportunities and our Business Solutions Center where you can meet with over 200 business partners to learn about their products and services. I promise it will be a worthwhile professional development opportunity. I hope to see you there!
My trip to Montréal in March was my first trip to this beautiful city. I will be honest with you — before I left, I was a bit concerned because Montréal is a predominantly French-speaking city and I don’t speak French. I even downloaded a translator app for my phone that would allow me to say something in English, and it would then say it in French. Well, I didn’t need to be concerned. Montréal is a very diverse and inclusive city. Everyone we interacted with could speak English; most signs were in French and English; it was easy to get around, including going through customs; and I felt very welcome and comfortable during my visit. I hope to spend a couple extra days in Montréal after the October conference in order to see more of this picturesque city.
Speaking of diversity and inclusion, the theme of this issue of College Services magazine is just that. NACAS is committed to creating and maintaining a sense of community and inclusion for all its constituents. NACAS’ Inclusive Excellence Committee, which advocates for the integration of inclusivity and diversity practices throughout NACAS, has provided a variety of articles for this magazine.
I recently came across an interesting article by Human Capital Consulting entitled, “Re-examining the Business Case for Diversity,” where they review the high-level evidence for diversity and drill down into the detail of the research that links diversity to enhanced productivity and performance. They state “You can have a diverse workforce without inclusion; and inclusion without diversity. But one without the other is only half of the business performance equation. Put simply: diversity + inclusion = improved business outcomes.” Personally, I believe this not only improves the business outcomes of our auxiliary services; diversity and inclusion also helps our students to be more successful on our campuses. What have you done at your campus in regards to diversity and inclusivity? Let’s start a discussion in the online NACAS Lounge to share our ideas.
In closing, I hope to see you at the NACAS national conference. Conference registration is open (early-bird rates are effective through July 25). Reserve your hotel and flight, grab your passport, and join me to “vive la différence” in Montréal!