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Message from the

Executive Director


June 2018

Hello to all CTF members—

I mentioned several months ago that a refreshing of the strategic plan for the Foundation was a major initiative. We started work late in 2016, with the process culminating in approval of the plan at the November 2017 meeting of the board of governors. Development of the plan provided us with a great opportunity to get feedback from the governors and other Foundation stakeholders. The entire initiative will help us to align resources with priorities in a disciplined manner, and it will challenge us to continue to meet or exceed our members’ expectations in the delivery of programming. Periodically, through this monthly message, I intend to provide you with updates on details of the strategic plan and on what you might expect to see as we move toward executing it.

The strategic plan identifies four priority areas for the Foundation: (1) membership and engagement, (2) eminence and thought leadership, (3) volunteerism, and (4) technology and innovation. Supporting initiatives have been developed for each priority area. We have also worked with the governors to establish how success should be defined, in anticipation of 2020.

I will describe one example of the type of work that we have been doing in order to fulfill our objectives. Our conference program is core to the Foundation’s mission. Our events provide key forums for education, discussion, and debate, and the resulting papers contribute to the rich resource that is TaxFind. We need to ensure that the content and delivery channels of our conferences continue to address the evolving needs of the tax community—balancing depth of analysis with responsiveness to unfolding events, and an outstanding in-person experience with the flexibility of digital delivery. For that reason, we have always solicited feedback from delegates at all of our events, and these insights help direct our planning. The Conferences Committee, ably led by Sandra Mah, is another important source of guidance.

As part of our new initiative, we decided to supplement these established sources of insight with data analytics, undertaking a detailed review of trends in conference attendance over the last decade. We focused on the annual conference and the four multi-day regional conferences (Prairie Provinces, British Columbia, Ontario, and Atlantic). The conclusions were shared with the governors at the May 2018 meeting. A few highlights follow.

First, overall attendance has increased strongly, both in absolute numbers of delegates and in the numbers of unique delegates. This suggests that our programming is resonating with members and reaching a wider audience. Second, the live webcasts of the regional conferences have been enthusiastically adopted. Interestingly, many individuals participate in the webcast of a regional conference that is outside their home province, seemingly opting for flexibility over proximity. However, there is also compelling evidence that the networking and directly social experience at the annual conference are highly valued. Finally, the ad hoc events that we hold in response to current developments (for example, private corporations taxation, US tax reform) have been warmly received, with particularly strong webcast numbers.

All of this suggests the need to stay close to our members and continue to incorporate their feedback into the evolution of our programming. Quality of content is paramount, but innovation in delivery is also important. We will be soliciting your views in the coming months through a series of short survey questions. Please look for the messages and share your thoughts.

See you next month.


Heather L. Evans,
Executive Director and CEO

7/17/2018 9:18:21 PM