Opinion Column

Algonquin College Waterfront Campus hosting spring business conference

Jamie Bramburger

By Jamie Bramburger, Special to The Daily Observer

Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke, Ont.

Algonquin College's Waterfront Campus in Pembroke, Ont.

Rewarding staff by sending them for professional development training is one of the smartest things a business owner or manager can do, but many organizations simply can’t afford to.

Too often, accessing training means travelling to a larger city where registration fees are high, travel and accommodation costs are prohibitive and small meals can put a dent in the budget. I haven’t even mentioned parking or taxi fees, or the frustration of dealing with traffic snarls or delayed flights.

So what if a “big city” conference was available to local businesses and organizations here in Pembroke, without the hassles of urban life and the high cost of getting there? That’s the goal of Algonquin College as it prepares for its third Spring Business Leadership Conference on May 25 at the Waterfront Campus.

Through its extensive connections, the college has again brought together a strong lineup of subject matter experts who will provide presentations on topics such as: strategic planning, leading through change, social media personal branding, cultural diversity, media and public relations, marketing for small business and workforce development.

The conference will also include a keynote speaker who has an incredible story of perseverance to share with the audience. Jim Kyte was the first deaf player to suit up in the National Hockey League and he went on to have a long career until a serious traffic accident ended it and put him on a road to academia.

Kyte will share his very personal journey as an elite athlete and his struggles to transition from professional sports to a career as a college administrator. Named as one of Ottawa’s top public speakers, Kyte is inspiring, thought provoking and sincere while delivering an important message about how all of us can reach our full potential.

Here’s the best part. It’s a bargain. Early bird registration fees are less than $200 a person and participants will be able to choose up to four workshops, in addition to attending the keynote address. The conference also has built-in networking opportunities and will include lunch and an after conference social.

There’s even an awards program that celebrates business innovation. By sharing best practices by recognizing the accomplishments of organizations that “think out of the box”, the conference is hoping to highlight entrepreneurialism in Renfrew County.

The Waterfront Campus is an ideal setting for a conference. Situated on the shores of the Ottawa River, it provides scenic views and pleasant green space that allows registrants to step outside between sessions and enjoy the picturesque beauty of the area. That peaceful atmosphere is a far cry from the bricks and mortar of a sky scraper and the honking horns of big city traffic and is conducive to a great learning environment.

Staff training is important and now it doesn’t have to be expensive. By organizing the conference, the college is responding to a gap for many small and medium businesses and ensuring that access to professional development support is no longer out of reach.

Jamie Bramburger is the manager of community and student affairs at Algonquin College’s Waterfront Campus. Jamie can be reached at brambuj@algonquincollege.com or at 613-735-4700 ext. 2756.