September 2013

Participation is a priority

President Bob Schafer wants membership to help define CIM

By Krystyna Lagowski

When Bob Schafer joined CIM Council three years ago, he was already thinking about how he would help update the strategic plan for the organization. He recognized that the task would take longer than his eventual one-year term as president, which began last May. And he knew he wanted to call on the voice of the CIM membership to drive its growth.

“CIM is the membership,” Schafer says. “Our objective is to make sure we’re in sync with what our members want, what they need to be successful in their careers, and to advance the capacities of our industry.”

For Schafer, it is crucial that CIM members help define the organization’s priorities. It is the reasoning behind the member survey that will be carried out in the coming months and will be evaluated later this year. The results will be reported prior to the next CIM Convention in May 2014.

“We’re taking a landmark approach to create our plan,” Schafer explains. “Most organizations will sequester their executive committee for a couple of days with a facilitator and create a mission statement. But we want to do it right. We want to have our members involved with what the strategic plan ought to be.”

What does it mean to belong?

Over the past five years, CIM’s membership has increased by 5,000 to 14,500 members. “Our industry’s been on a major upswing globally,” notes Schafer. “So it’s imperative that we look forward in a particularly meaningful way.”

He believes CIM plays a leadership role in the promotion of operational best practices and also in the area of standards, such as the definition of mineral resource and reserves within the Canadian mining industry. “We want to make sure we maintain that leadership and give our membership something to be proud of,” Schafer says. “Maintaining our capabilities and expertise, education and knowledge transfer – especially in technology – is a priority.”

But fellowship, the opportunity to connect with colleagues, network and trade ideas, is another compelling benefit of CIM membership. “That feeling of belonging to an organization that represents your interests, working and reacting together to internal or external forces, that’s very powerful,” says Schafer.

Road show

Concurrent with the survey, Schafer, CIM executive director Jean Vavrek, and other council members, will also be visiting and consulting with CIM societies and branches in each of the districts to gather input from members. In most cases, the meetings are planned to coincide with existing activities and events. “We’re targeting any opportunities where there is a real opportunity to interact with members,” says Schafer.

He hopes to inspire more members to take leadership roles in CIM. “Right now, participation is mostly from middle management, but we’d like to get members involved right out of university,” says Schafer. “As these young members maintain their activity throughout their careers, they’ll see the value of the organization and move on to senior positions within CIM – and then encourage the next generation to get involved.”

New faces

Coincidentally, this year’s executive council is marked by seven new faces representing CIM’s member societies, as well as two new district vice-presidents. Jim Popowich, CIM’s past-president and director at large, is pleased to see the potential for fresh ideas to help move the organization forward. He notes that although the council members may be new to their positions, they are more than familiar with CIM. “The societies are going to select people who know what’s going on,” he says. Additionally, both council and vice-presidents now serve for two years, instead of one. “You get better continuity,” Popowich explains.

Jo-Anne Boucher, the chair of CIM’s Maintenance, Engineering and Reliability Society, and the general manager at Bestech, is one of the new faces. “This is a fantastic networking opportunity for me and my company,” she says. “I’m highly motivated by volunteerism and by giving back to society and this industry.”

Already, Boucher has volunteered to be on the diversity committee. “I believe that council should lead by example,” she stresses. “As a female in a male-dominated industry, diversity strikes a chord with me. I can bring a different perspective to the team.”

Diversity will be in the spotlight at the 2014 CIM convention in Vancouver, where the theme will be “Mining 4 Everyone.” “Mining is multi-dimensional; it takes communities working together to make it successful,” explains Schafer. “We want to get as many people involved as we can.”

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