Canadian Association of Exposition Management
ABOUT CAEM MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARDS * 2012 Associate Member of the Year Award

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2012 Associate Member of the Year Award

Mike Russell, Business Development Manager, the Toronto Congress Centre

Introductory Speech by Paul Day, C.D.E.:

It is my pleasure tonight to introduce to you the Associate Member of the Year Award!

I have had the pleasure of working with this person for the last ten years or so and can honestly say I have never heard anyone say a bad thing against this person.

Having worked both on the Active and Associate side of the show industry this person definitely gets it. It is a unique advantage that few of us had but boy does it ever make dealing with a supplier that much easier when they have lived on both sides of the fence.

This person has been has been a member of several committees over the years and in 2011 he was, and still is, a co-chair of the Sponsorship and Special Events Committee. He co-chaired the Sports Day event in July, and he helps CAEM continually in raising funds. He never rests and time and time again has helped the Association when a volunteer was needed. He never says no or he can’t, he always finds a way to ensure that the volunteer work gets completed. He is always there for every single one of his committee members. He diligently attends all meetings, both committee meetings and board meetings, and is an inspiration to all of us in encouraging members to volunteer.

He is always ready to lend a hand and is usually is the first to volunteer for any duty called for.

It is my pleasure to introduce this year's Associate Member of the Year Award: Mr Mike Russell of the Toronto Congress Centre.

Acceptance Speech by Mike Russell:

WOW, being a recipient of an award certainly wasn't on my radar to when I took on Co-chairing the Sponsorships and Special Events Committee. In fact, I was in shock for a few days once I found out that I was going to receive this wonderful award.

First of all I want to congratulate all of tonight's award winners and nominees, your awards and recognition are well deserved!

There are so many wonderful associates in CAEM, so you just don't expect it to be your name they call. It feels even better to know that you have been nominated by your peers for this prestigious award.  I was listening to the fabulous introduction by Paul, and  it didn't really sink in that it was me he was talking about. I had to think, wow have I really been that involved in CAEM,  mainly because I don't look at volunteering as work or a chore, but as chances to expand my networking circles.  A window to gain more knowledge in this great industry,  and as a wonderful opportunity to work with some very amazing people. 

As a lot of you know, and I do tend to tell everyone,  that CAEM is unlike any other association I know. People in the association are so warm and welcoming and do not think twice about sharing their knowledge, wisdom and experiences to help others grow, to better themselves as well as their events. 

I have been lucky enough to be on both sides of this industry first as an expo member now as an associate member. I want to thank my colleague Maureen Rego who gave me my start in this industry at the Canadian Health Food Association, when she invited me to join her Trade Show team even though I was as green as one could be coming into this industry. She also introduced me to this wonderful association known as CAEM by taking me to the Holiday Luncheon way back in December 2000.

I also have to thank the President of the Toronto Congress Centre, Mr. Alain Sutton who not only supports our memberships in various associations but also encourages us to volunteer on committees and get onto the boards.

I have been granted the opportunity to spend at least a little bit of time with most people in this room at some point in my career, and for those who I have not yet met, I will be available after this speech to take your date and space requirements for all your upcoming events.

Whether you are a client, a colleague, a friend or just an acquaintance I want you to know I have learned something from each and every one of you and I try to take that knowledge and make myself into a better supplier, a better volunteer and a better man, each and every day!

For those who are new to this great association, I strongly suggest that you join a committee and get engaged with the other volunteers  and the great office staff on completing some tasks, the feeling of accomplishment goes a long way in making each day a great day!

I will end by thanking my colleagues, my clients, the CAEM staff, all my industry contacts and all those who I have worked with as a volunteer, you guys are the best,  but most of all I want to thank my family for putting up with all the plays, concerts, competitions, performances, award ceremonies, games along with all the family dinners I have missed with them.

Thank you all I am truly honoured!