FCSI TAD Conference: Hitting the road with the President

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FCSI Worldwide President, Mario Sequeira FCSI flew 11,300 miles from Perth, Australia, to attend the FCSI The Americas 2022 Conference in Montreal, Canada. He tells Michael Jones about his experience

Based in Perth, Australia, the President of FCSI Worldwide Mario Sequeira traveled some 28-hours  to represent the Worldwide Board of Directors at the FCSI The Americas Division (TAD) 2022 Conference in Montreal, Canada.

It was a first-time experience and, he says, well worth enduring the long hours of flying (mask on). On the final day of a conference themed ‘Together Again, from the relaxing confines of the special ‘Zen Room’ (pictured, lead image) at the Hotel Bonaventure, which hosted the event, Sequeira reflected on three days of sharing, education and latest industry insights that saw FCSI TAD members reunited in person for the first time since the 2018 Conference in Denver, Colorado.

What did you make of the conference?

Mario Sequeira: The theme of ‘Together Again’ could also resonate that ‘Together we are Stronger’ and ‘Together we can Encounter’ all challenges and opportunities. It has been great opportunity to reconnect in person with many known Professional and Allied Members and also meet new personnel across the extensive Americas Division. Experiencing first-hand the high quality of the speakers and innovation on display was another testimony of the amazing intrinsic value FCSI, offers its members.

Every detail was meticulously looked after. It’s a real challenge to put on these events however Wade [Koehler] and his team executed the agenda well.

Which speakers did you really enjoy?

Mario Sequeira: All of them were inspirational in their own way. I thought Mike Lee  shared interesting insights on the ‘Future of Food. It was interesting to hear that some trends on the periphery today that may, more than likely, become commonplace in 3-5 years-time. I also loved Lee’s analogy of the challenges we may face being compared to a beautiful plate being broken. In Japanese Kintsugi art, broken crockery is glued together with liquid gold, making the plate look even better than it was before. I found that to be really powerful. When things crack or break, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world ­– you can come back better and stronger from that experience.

Jessica Holmes was really cool too. I love it when people tell real stories about their lives. Mental health is a very important topic and Jess articulated that delicate subject so well in sharing her own true story with a good dose of lighthearted humour. That takes real guts.

Peter Shankman’s insights into success-filled business were also simple and effective.

Which breakout sessions do you really enjoy?

Mario Sequeira: It was great to see all sessions conducted by FCSI members and I found them all to be truly thought-provoking. Kathleen Held’s approach to Strategic Planning was pragmatic and well-structured. While, I encountered the subject of Strategic Planning during for my MBA studies and in previous employment, Kathleen had a really good way of showing practical ways to approach it – encouraging us to also take time out to develop a strategic plan for our own personal lives, as well as our businesses.

What will your lasting impressions of the conference be?

Mario Sequeira: Simply the amazing benefits that FCSI offers its Professional and Allied Members, to build lasting relationships while enhancing our knowledge and experience.

Specifically, within the TAD Division, I met with members from across North and Latin America. It was good hear their challenges and successes and realize they are similar to those experienced in other chapters/divisions and can be solved together.

What did you enjoy about the entertainment?

Mario Sequeira: The opening party was really cool, while the event at the Sugar Shack on Friday night was very authentic and gave us a uniquely Quebec hospitality experience.

The ambience was really nice, while the music and food were great. The maple whisky was an instant hit and provided solid fuel to enjoy an amazing local cultural experience in the wilderness.

Why are these events important for FCSI?

Mario Sequeira: As an FCSI member, our point of difference is our ‘knowledge and experience’. Conferences provide opportunities to further develop our knowledge and experience by sharing, supporting and inspiring each other. Any perceived negative impact with the absence from our businesses is outweighed by the benefits of these conferences.

What did you make of Montreal?

Mario Sequeira: I visited Montreal many moons ago with my family – it’s a really quaint city. I was impressed to learn that Montreal has the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada and the second highest in North America after New York. I’m not entirely surprised, because the food and beverage here is exceptional.

Michael Jones