Change and partnerships promoted at ATCO community symposium

Speakers of Change – ATCO Symposium keynote speakers (front from left) Kim Rowe

Speakers of Change – ATCO Symposium keynote speakers (front from left) Kim Rowe

Change and partnerships were the key points promoted to about 150 community leaders during the 2010 ATCO Community Symposium in Stettler on May 13, an event locally co-sponsored by the Town of Stettler and the County of Stettler.

“Municipalities that work collaboratively with volunteers and volunteer organizations can greatly enhance the quality of life,” said Town of Stettler Mayor Dick Richards, who participated in the symposium that also attracted people from other municipalities, community service organizations, who explored and discussed new trends, insights and best practices for board leadership, organizational management, volunteerism and fundraising.

“We were pleased to co-host this symposium to offer insight and prompt discussion of topical and timely issues that are key to preserve and improve life in rural Alberta.”

“Our council strives to encourage and help grow community organizations and volunteers so that they may continue to exemplify, improve and celebrate our rural Alberta lifestyle,” added County of Stettler Reeve Earl Marshall.

“Co-hosting this symposium with the Town of Stettler is another step forward in defining our community.”

Keynote speakers advised participants that keeping up with unprecedented change can be challenging, and strategies that motivate, inspire and attract great people are essential keys to success.

“Our communities will not grow stronger if we continue to do things the ways we’ve always done them, because we have different people today,” said Brenda Robinson, a community consultant who spoke on Building Strong Communities in Changing Times.

Communicating is key to promote change, she said.

“If you want to build change, you have to communicate – and our timing has to be right,” said Robinson.

“Dialogue is about what could be done to get the best results, rather than what we’ve always done.”

Although it’s a challenge to shift the way people think and do things, she urged people to be open to change.

“We need to ask people to do things better and we have to think about how we can do it together.”

Other speakers shared those views.

“Change is about shifting our thoughts,” said Dawn Heartwell, certified business coach and entrepreneur who spoke on Managing Change.

“When you shift your thoughts, you open up the possibilities for different results.”

“It’s not the change that creates mots of our challenge, it’s how we hold change and our thoughts and feelings and attitudes about change that creates concerns.”

Kim Rowe of Alberta Culture and Community Development urged people to engage people and look and things differently.

For organizations, change takes one person at a time, said Heidi Miller Zerr, who spoke on Communicating for Organizational Change.

“Communicating is extremely important during change, to assist people with the transition that they experience.”

Since 2000, ATCO has partnered with rural Alberta to offer its community symposium to help not-for-profit organizations and those in the volunteer sector to stay informed about trends and best practices.