Last week, IFMA Toronto & South Central Executive Board had the opportunity to attend IFMA World Workplace in Phoenix, Arizona. The trip wasn’t just any conference trip; this was our time to truly bond. Mission accomplished! We bonded, we made new friends, we got inspired. At IFMA WWP, every day provided an opportunity to have meaningful discussions with other FM professionals and Chapter members regarding the challenges they face and share best practices. We also got our hands on some cool swag!

This year’s theme revolved around Change and the Future of FM. It was clear just how much the profession has evolved. IFMA Global Board recognizes the impact of emerging technologies, Millenials and future generations entering the workforce, and diversity and inclusion shaping the workplace and having an impact on our industry. Change is everywhere, and we are part of it. For the first time, Canada has a chapter led by women with strong support from the men that came before us. It is true, “Change is the only constant.”

I want to share with you the highlights of our week.

We started the week by attending the annual meeting of the House of Delegates. This meeting is a space for representatives to interact with and hear from the Association’s Board of Directors about strategic initiatives. During the open discussions, our Past President, Nick Heibein, was recognized as leading the discussions amongst Canadian Chapters and bringing forth inquiries and concerns affecting the association in Canada.

The official Welcome and Opening keynote address by Robyn Benincasa was superb. Robyn’s message of total teamwork – synergy, commitment, empathy, and mutual respect – was powerful. Her presentation aligned perfectly with what we wanted to accomplish during our time together as a Board. The key messages, in a way, allowed us to start to envision and experience the fun and excitement of working as a team.

Next, we joined the association in recognizing three IFMA Fellows. These are members who have distinguished themselves by defining the FM profession. They represent the association internationally and encourage others to give back. This year, the Chair of IFMA’s Global Board of Directors John Carrillo, CFM, IFMA Fellow, and 2019 IFMA Fellows Jury Member Mary Gauer, CFM, IFMA Fellow, presented the honors to three recipients. We were very proud of the two Canadian Members honored – John Vinken, and Michael Ross Riseborough.

On Wednesday, Oct. 16th, we welcomed and hosted over 60 of our fellow Canadians attending World Workplace 2019 at our Canadian Cocktails Party. What a great turn out! Both of our IFMA Fellows recipients were in attendance, along with a few other notable members – Ted Ritter, aka Uncle Ted, and Geoff Williams, our FMP Instructor. We mingled with other Canadian chapter, industry professionals, and got great feedback about our event, enough to get our thinking hats going for IFMA WWP2020. As with all good things that must come to an end, we wrapped up the celebration and joined 3000+ other attendees at the Welcome Reception at The Duce.

After a great social evening and a well-rested Thursday morning, we headed over to the Young Professional panel discussion – Generation Z and Millennials in the FM Workplace: A First-hand Perspective. Our Treasurer & Secretary, Kat Karasyova, and Past President, Nick Heibein, joined Derek Bacigal in the panel discussion, moderated by Geoff Williams. The conversation revolved around how these generations have affected the workforce and bring change. Millennials have revolutionized the way we work. Generation Z are the ultimate technology natives. Attendees had an opportunity to interact with our panel and have a meaningful discussion. One thing was clear; the generational gap is not an issue that can be solved in one session.

Last but not least, the presentation by closing keynote speaker Peter Hinssen, author of The ‘Day after Tomorrow” was mesmerizing and often funny. One of the key messages was how rapidly this world is changing, and the consequences for organizations today. In his thought-provoking delivery, Peter offered ways we must adapt to an increasingly digital world. His presentation was not just about tomorrow; it was about taking the long view – for what comes after. Technology, and more importantly, human behaviors are changing. Our industry realizes just how much and how fast.

In closing and after a great week in Phoenix, I am confident we all feel very grateful and energized. A big thank you to the organizations that support our professional growth. To our Toronto and South Central Chapter members, we thank you for placing your trust in our ability to lead the association into the future.