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SCMA kicks off 2015 National Conference in Halifax


Scottish dancers entertain delegates during the kick off event at Pier 21.

HALIFAX, N.S.–The SCMA 2015 National Conference officially opened June 11 with some local flavour as a bagpipe procession kicked off the event. Jerome Ferber, chairman of SCMA’s national board, welcomed the crowd and Nova Scotia premier Stephen McNeil also spoke.

“We believe we have lots to offer and we believe we have lots to learn from you as well,” McNeil said, describing Nova Scotia had to offer from a supply chain perspective. Lots of goods and services move through Halifax’s port and can arrive in Asia quickly, he noted. As well, the province’s rail system can also transport goods fast, including into the US.

As with every year, the conference began with the annual kick off event, held at Pier 21. The pier was the gateway to Canada for one million immigrants between 1928 and 1971, as well as the departure point for 500,000 Canadian Military personnel during the Second World War. The event is an evening of dining and local entertainment that showcases the character and heritage of the host city and sets the stage for the coming days of learning and networking. Bagpipe music and Scottish dancing entertained delegates who explored the facility and took in the view of Halifax Harbour.

Businesses based in Nova Scotia can learn about how to maximize the province’s location and how to utilize its infrastructure, he noted. As well, businesses that are weathering any current economic troubles do so in no small part through help from supply chain, McNeil said.

Next up was keynote speaker Michelle Ray, who spoke—among other areas—about leadership and influence. Being a leader isn’t about title, Ray noted during her highly interactive presentation—rather it’s about you your character. She told the audience to think about their relationships with each other at work. “Do you ever say to yourself, that they just don’t get what I do?” she asked the audience. She encouraged the audience to reframe relationships so that it’s not about impressing people, but rather about leaving an impression.”

Influence and persuasion, she said, was largely about understanding the other person’s interests and point of view. Key components of influence include credibility, charisma and composure, Ray noted. And while it’s impossible to win everyone over, it’s important to give it your best shot. You can’t control what other people do, but it’s possible to control yourself. How do you rise to challenge and respond, she asked, rather than react?