Executive Director's Report

Winter 2001 CSANews Issue 41  |  Posted date : Apr 03, 2007.Back to list

This past fall, both the U.S. and Canadian media constantly and strongly queried us as to whether snowbirds still planned to head south following the events of September 11th. They appeared determined to find a negative story but, in all cases, we provided the strong positive responses of our members. When we observed a negative spin in the Florida press regarding a belief that Canadians were not coming, we responded directly to the governors of Florida, Texas, Arizona and California, telling them that snowbirds would be returning to their winter communities. We decided that perhaps more action was required to get this message out, and our efforts included outreach activities we had not considered in the past.

Tony Knill, Bob Jackson and Paul Jenkins (PHOTO Tim Stepien / Palm Beach Post)Part of this outreach was to the Canadian Consulate in Miami, Florida. We are extremely lucky to have found a friend in Jan Lawson, consul for the Canadian Consulate. She set up a series of meetings for President Bob Jackson, Second Vice-President Paul Jenkins and myself. If ever CSA had a champion, it would be Jan - professional, dynamic, intelligent and funny -- she was the perfect host for our delegation, providing us with wonderful opportunities and venues to 'spread the word.' She organized three editorial boards with the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post, and we received good press coverage as a direct result. Through her intervention we met with Leslie Herren, international trade co-ordinator and member of the mayor's office in Miami Dade County, and William Talbert, president and CEO of the Miami Convention and Visitors' Bureau. An informative meeting was held with the mayor of Fort Lauderdale, the Honourable Jim Naugle, and Bob Jackson was highly honoured when he was presented with the 'key to the city." Meetings were also held with the vice-president of the World Trade Center Fort Lauderdale, Carole Patella, the Palm Beach County Commissioner and World Trade Center Chairman, Al Zucaro, and Bill Fountain, executive director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority. Our message to all was firm ­ snowbirds are coming south but, in order to entice them to their particular communities, they must make it easier for snowbirds to make a choice. With the drop in the Canadian dollar, they must develop marketing strategies that give Canadians value for their dollar, and tell them where the deals are and how to get them -- in advance. Perhaps our most important introduction was to Tony Knill, the new Canadian Consul and Trade Commissioner of the Miami Consulate, a charming and dynamic man ­ Miami and Canada are lucky to have him. We look forward to working with both Jan and Tony in the future.

On behalf of your staff: Barb Moss, Gabriel Ponikowski, Laraine Polevoy, Bonnie Donovan and Alec Boyte, please accept our best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season and a prosperous new year. We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to our board of directors for making the past term an enjoyable one for all of us. A special note of thanks to President Bob Jackson and his wife, "Saint" Joyce, for their ongoing support and endearing humour which always snuck up to brighten our days. We look forward to working closely with our new president , Ellen White, and the new board of directors.