Incoming President Keith Palmer

June 23, 2015

Remarks from Incoming President Keith Palmer at OMSSA’s 2015 Learning Symposium and AGM

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am extremely honoured to have been selected as President of the OMSSA Board, and look forward to the responsibilities of this position. I am boundlessly grateful to those who voted to have me retain my seat on the Board, and the Board members who nominated me to take on the role of President. To all of you, I say…thank you. 

Let me assure you that, within my responsibilities, it will be the needs of our members, and the needs of the people you service, that will drive the decisions of this Board.

Tonight is about leadership. A gala that will recognize achievements by those who worked tirelessly in our sector. As such, I would like to acknowledge your new Board, your new executive, the staff of OMSSA, and of course, the many of you in the room who also work tirelessly in your areas of responsibility.

Before we eat what I am sure will be a delicious meal, allow me to propose a toast to all of you and the hard work that you do. Ladies and gentlemen, no one knows what the future brings, which simply means the “good old days” are now. Enjoy your evening. 

Colin Luther Powell said, “You know you are an effective leader when your soldiers don’t just talk to you about the battlefield, but talk to you about battles they are having off of it.” As your President, this is what I want to hear: “this is how things are going.”

I have also heard it said that, “Good leaders are not evaluated by their own successes, but the success of the members on their teams.” Saying this, I want to remind folks that I may be your incoming President, but never for a minute forget about the team that has been established that is your Board. It is not just about the success of the Association, it is about your successes.

Our standing committees, networks, 47 Leaders table, and other avenues are venues that OMSSA will use to assist members in their quest to realize the objectives of their local strategic directions. 

So what will this Board do under my leadership?  Well, quite simply, and, amongst other things, we will make good decisions. Decisions will not simply be about puppies, unicorns, and rainbows….our decisions will be thought out, tested, and holistically considered.

What will be important to me as your President is that our decisions remain sound, considerate, and made on behalf of you, our members.

The Board will drive outcomes that enhance our services, recognize our capacities, and positively address the plight of individuals and families you serve. Our decisions will be guided by fundamental principles around leadership, sustainability, and quality services for our members.

We have a lot of work to do, and Elaine, Anne, Catherine, Eddie, Kerry, Louise, Dan, Greg, Stella, myself, and the OMSSA staff, are committed to forming partnerships with stakeholders that are right for you and our Association.

I want to take this time to thank David Rennie, David Landers, Douglas Bartholomew-Saunders, Janet Menard, and Catherine, five very knowledgeable past Presidents who held and passed the President’s torch during my time on the Board. 

I learned a lot from those past presidents, and it will be their individual styles that will provide me with even more experience that I can reference in my efforts to effectively lead this association. 

To our inspiring leaders, I believe it was in the mid to late 90s when OMSSA had its conference in Hamilton, and visited the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. It was my first OMSSA conference. I knew little and wanted to learn lots. Like many of you who are here for the first time, you likely suffer what Steven Brookfield calls the “Imposter Syndrome.” A mindset where you often ask yourself, “what am I really supposed to do while I’m here?” “who do I talk to?” “what do I talk about?” and “where do I sit?”

To those of you who are in the room for the first time, I say to you, you are not an imposter, you are supposed to be here. You are our future, you are family.

While you are here, or any time after tonight, never be afraid to engage anyone you meet at this conference. Feel free to start with me as your new President! Find out who your Board members are, and talk to them. We would be delighted to talk to you. Learn about OMSSA, know what we do, tell us how we can help you and what matters to you. 

There is quote that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”  

I look forward to serving you as your new President.

Thank you, and have a wonderful evening.