Format of Ottawa Sport Summit tweaked to offer strategic planning workshop for local sports organizations

Ian Mendes and Julien Leblanc will co-host the Sport Summit on Apr. 13.

By Dan Plouffe

It’s a question many volunteer-driven local sports groups will immediately identify with: “Do you have time to work on the business when you’re working in the business?”

“The reality is they’re just so busy doing their day-to-day stuff that it’s not a luxury most organizations have,” signals Ottawa Sport Council executive director Marci Morris, setting the stage for her group’s upcoming Ottawa Sport Summit on Apr. 13 at Nepean Sailing Club where they’ll tackle the topic of strategic planning. “But at the end of the day, if they want to stay in this game and continue to work on it, they need to sit back and take the time to do the planning.”

The topic for the 7th-annual gathering of the local sports community’s leaders and members came about when the Council offered a webinar on strategic planning that was “incredibly oversubscribed.” Participants were keen to go through the process of strategic planning – “What’s the plan for the next 5 years? Where do they want to go? How do they want to grow? How do they want to make things more accessible or inclusive?” Morris outlines.

The day-long Summit will again be hosted by Julien Leblanc, an OSC director who often facilitates strategic planning sessions for companies in his day job, alongside TSN 1200’s Ian Mendes, who will provide insight into how best to communicate plans to key stakeholders.

They’ll begin with an introduction to strategic planning, then help groups determine what their global purpose and objectives are, decide where to take the vision and in what timeframe, and finally create the roadmap for how to get there by defining specific required actions.

Organizations are encouraged to bring a minimum of 2-3 representatives – key staff or board members – to the event, which differs in format from previous Sport Summits.

“Instead of us giving information, it’s very much a workshop,” highlights Morris, though it will maintain the opportunity to network with peers and learn from their experiences. “But the goal is that everyone’s going to leave with a strategic plan for their organization.”

The Summit coincides with the Sport Council going through their own strategic planning exercises as they near the 10-year mark.

“It was great to figure out that our rally cry still applied – which is ‘We believe there should be only positive experiences in sport’ – and that we were doing what we always thought we should be doing to reach our goal,” Morris notes. “I’m delighted that this is our 7th annual, and I’m delighted that all of them have been considered very relevant.”

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