It started in Arizona. At Net.Finance in April of 2007. I pitched myself as a speaker after attending the conference the previous year and finding it immensely valuable. I presented on ChangeEverything.ca, why Vancity launched it, and what made it successful. I adapted it from an internal presentation explaining what it was to our executives.
At that conference the unbelievably nice Ted Josephson tapped me on the shoulder on our way into a vendor dinner and told me that I was officially “on the circuit.” I laughed it off, not totally sure what he meant. In the ensuing year and a half, I presented at 15 conferences and events across North America, focused on marketing, banking, online or corporate social responsibility.
It is unfortunate that my last scheduled conference in this run, The Finance 2.0 Summit, was cancelled, falling victim to the lack of budgets among FI marketing professionals. But with this cancellation, I now make a clean break from my two years of speaking.
I have to admit, my wife, Amy, found it very odd that I travelled more working for a local credit union than I ever had before. But she was extremely supportive.
As were my boss and colleagues, even though I’m sure some of them wondered how the hell I got to go to so many conferences, even though our budgets to attend them were fixed. Speaking was my way to learn a ton and connect with peers from all over.
And now that experience is behind me. With enhanced responsibilities at Vancity, and a desire to be around more for my team and my wife and son, I have decided to take at least the year of 2009 away from the conference scene.
Here’s the way I worded it on my speaking engagements & interviews page on this very site.
In 2007 and 2008 I had the great privilege of speaking at numerous financial and marketing conferences across North America. In the process I met some amazing people, engaged in transformative discussions and learned from top-notch thought leaders. It has been a rewarding and humbling adventure.
In 2009, I feel very excited about all the things happening at Vancity, and will focus on my work here in Vancouver. As a result, I will not be accepting speaking engagements for the duration of the year.
The hardest part of this whole thing is that I likely won’t see my good friends whom I only get to see in person at these conferences. You know who you are, and I have no doubt we’ll keep in touch via our blogs and other networks through which we’re umbilically attached.
What does this mean to you? Mostly that it’ll be at least a year until I drone on and on about where I’m speaking next, what my scores were and how many LinkedIn connections I added. No biggie…