May 2013

It takes two in Toronto

CIM Branches thrive in Canada’s premier mining metropolis

By Alexandra Lopez-Pacheco

 

More than 200 students and industry professionals network over fine cuisine at the CIM Toronto Branch’s Annual Tastes of Toronto event held at the National Club on Thursday, October 18 | Courtesy of CIM Toronto Branch


With many of Canada’s and the world’s major mining companies headquartered in Toronto, the city is a hub for people dedicated to the mining industry. Canada’s largest city also owns the distinction of being the only Canadian centre with two CIM branches. The CIM Toronto Branch has, for years, brought the city’s mining professionals together to network, share knowledge and create a sense of community and an environment of collaboration. However, to better serve members of the sprawling metropolis, some of its constituents recently spun off to form the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) West Branch.

Toronto branch

The Toronto branch hosts numerous events throughout the year, including student networking sessions, mine tours and monthly luncheons that feature guest speakers. It also holds Networking by Design events in collaboration with CIM Mining Professionals – The Next Generation, Women in Mining, Hispanics in Mining (Hispanomine), Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and, more recently, Women in Capital Markets. And, the branch’s 36-team Frank Grieco Golf Tournament, which will

be held at the world-renowned Glen Abbey Golf Club on August 28, remains one of the biggest annual events in the industry.

“One of the reasons we’ve been so successful in having a very active membership is that we’ve always attracted many senior executives who bring that calibre of experience and who also are able to recruit from their own ranks,” says Tom Rannelli, chair of the Toronto branch. “And we’re constantly asking all of our members for feedback.”

By listening to and working with its members, the branch has leveraged its collective knowledge of best practices and used it to continuously improve its services. It has set out a strategic plan focused on how to best serve the branch’s membership and the mining industry as a whole. Currently, Rannelli explained, CIM Toronto is committed to increasing its active participants from 922 paid members today to all the 1,500 people on its mailing list by ensuring it is offering value to every single one of them.

The Toronto branch is also looking at how to better accommodate the needs of its executive members, who are strong supporters but do not always have the time to attend every get-together. Already, the revamped Taste of Toronto event, designed to give busy executives an opportunity to reconnect with each other while enjoying international cuisine, has been successful, but the branch plans to add other cultural and possibly sporting activities to its calendar to further address this need.

GTA West branch

In 2009, the Toronto branch’s focus on serving its membership resulted in some members identifying a geographical dilemma. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has grown exponentially over the years, sprawling out particularly to the west of Toronto, where some 30-odd mining companies are headquartered. “A small group of us got together and said there was a good opportunity to bring CIM to the west end of GTA,” said Catharine Shaw, one of the founding members of the CIM GTA West Branch and its past chair. “Part of that was the success of the Toronto branch, which historically was the hub of membership for the GTA. However, in recent years, from a logistics standpoint, Toronto has been increasingly more difficult to reach for those living or working outside of the city, due to travel, cost and time. So a lot of potential members or people in the industry from the west end were not always able to attend events.”

In 2010, the GTA West branch was born; it now has 70 paid members and a contact database of more than 400 people. “We wanted to address those needs and wanted to establish a branch for the GTA West. But we also wanted to work with the Toronto branch because they’ve had such great success and offer each other reciprocal membership campaigns to expand the CIM footprint,” Shaw said.

The branch offers monthly luncheon meetings in Oakville, featuring expert speakers on topics that include supply chain best practices, commodity outlooks, innovations in mining, and aboriginal relations. This year, the GTA West branch is launching its own golf event at the Millcroft Golf Club in Brampton on June 13.

“Both branches share announcements, so all [of] our members have the opportunity to attend all the events,” said Shaw. “At GTA West, we try to follow Toronto’s lead because they’ve been at it a long time and are really good at it. We’re increasing CIM’s reach and providing a venue for the companies that participate to network and to promote the industry in a very positive way.”

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