February 25 marked the closing of the 12th annual CEO Vision, an exclusive forum that welcomes a limited number of CEOs of Quebec Information and Communication Technology companies. “Making innovation your business” was the theme of this year’s event that brought 126 CEOs from across Quebec to Tremblant. Participants spent three days enhancing skills and discussing growth challenges.
A Veritable Winter University for Participating CEOs
Robert Austin wasted no time putting the CEOs to work in an interactive workshop. The Chair of the Harvard Executive Program for CIOs prompted the CEOs to reflect on innovation management and consider possible solutions for their respective companies.
Ricardo Poupada, President of Askmen.com, captivated the audience with his step-by-step retelling of the journey that took him from an idea in a coffee shop to the head of the most widely read Web site in the world among men between the ages of 19 and 34, reaching 18 million unique visitors!
Steve Traplin, CEO of Sales Encore, did not pull any punches driving home the message to his studious audience that poor sales performance is the responsibility of the entire company, beginning with the CEO.
Dr. Steven Shepard made an outstanding presentation on the multi-generational environment. 80% of consumers trust their peers’ recommendations as opposed to 14% who trust advertising. “Social media are a real and powerful global phenomenon and it is essential that we understand them and use them to its fullest potential”, he said in his closing remarks.
René Vézina, an economics columnist, provided an economic update. He answered many of the audience’s questions and immediately set to work publishing stories on participating CEOs or quoting them in his column with Paul Houde.
Phil LeNir of Coaching Ourselves had the CEOs consider what they had learned over this three-day forum before handing the podium over to Henry Mintzberg, an internationally acclaimed management theorist. This eminent Montréal Professor helped participating CEOs see their management styles as an art, craft, and science. He then went on to encourage small companies to behave like their larger counterparts by implementing strategic growth plans.
Peer Learning – Participants had an opportunity to share best practices through a series of workshops covering 24 topics, ranging from the basics to major trends. Some might even say that these two topics alone were worth the cost of entry to these closed-door sessions organized exclusively for CEOs of small to medium-sized ICT companies. It should be noted that Peer-to-Peer sessions are available all year long.
Public Affairs – Members of the AQT Public Affairs Committee and Board of Directors had an opportunity to discuss a number of issues during a private meeting with Alain Paquet, Deputy Finance Minister, including: Plan Nord, sales to the government, funding for marketing, and labour shortages. The Deputy Finance Minister then shared a VIP meal with the CEOs of a number of organizations considered to be the heart of the Quebec ICT “ecosystem”.
2012 Investissement Québec CEO of the Year – Optosecurity’s Éric Bergeron was elected by secret ballot during a gala evening. The other two finalists, Martin Le Sauteur from Acquisio and Miguel Caron from Funcom, nonetheless managed to capture the audience’s attention with their visionary outlook and sheer perseverance. The award ceremony received extensive media coverage.
Extreme Networking – A number of sporting activities, such as skiing and the first ever floor hockey tournament which brought out rivalries and top-notch selling skills, gave several participants the opportunity to make unique business connections. The AQT Cup will be back up for grabs at the next tournament!
Participants finally got to kick back and enjoy a lovely meal, complete with home-grown delights and imported wines from Vinipassion Importations’ private collection during the RBC Royal Bank VIP Evening.
Vision Partners – Providing essential industry-building support – The quality of the contacts this forum helps create and the interest it generates in the Quebec ICT industry have encouraged our generous partners to extend their support once again this year. We thank them for their invaluable assistance: Investissement Québec, Telus, RBC Royal Bank, Business Development Bank of Canada, Samson Belair Deloitte & Touche, Deloitte, Fasken Martineau, KPMG, Raymond Chabot Gran Thronton, Les Affaires, Direction informatique, Club Med Business, Sonav Audiovisual. We also thank the Quebec Ministère du Développement économique, de l’Innovation et de l’Exportation.
CEO Vision is an annual event organized by the Quebec Technology Association. The next major event, the 10th Big Bang ICT Marketing Forum, which will be held June 6 and 7, 2012 in Montreal, will build on CEO Vision 2012 and explore the “Art of Marketing Innovation”. Note – the event’s site has not yet been updated for 2012.