This has been a most unusual year. The first six months from last summer and fall promised to be the best ever with growth in membership and record levels of revenue. We entered 2020 on a high note with an asterisk: Our integrated world economy and inter-country travel would likely spread the Coronavirus worldwide. As we emerge from lockdown and reach our fiscal year-end July 31, I am proud to share with you the Associates have remained operational and moving forward. Like you, resilient leaders pivot and adapt no matter what obstacles are in our way. I am most proud of how you have offered continued support to the Associates, to each other and to the Asper School of Business. Together, we weather the storm and work to be stronger on the other side.
My sincere thanks for your ongoing support of the Associates and the Asper School of Business as our students and community need us more than ever. We have worked hard to help Asper students in need, securing an additional $50,000 in bursaries to help students who lost their jobs and the co-op placements faced with financial difficulties. Thanks to you, we have been able to invest in students when they need us most. Furthermore, we were also pleased with the success of our lengthy lobbying effort to increase enrolment at Asper, more on that below!
As mentioned the Associates have remained operational throughout this time period. Our office team comprised of AnnaMaria Toppazzini, Karina Shaw and Peirce Dickson have diligently worked within the confines of the “new normal” coordinating and conducting committee meetings and events, and pivoting to offer programming to our members and support to the school. We are very fortunate to have such a great leader in AnnaMaria and a great team.
While fiscal 2018-19 was our most successful ever, the world-wide reality is reflected in this report with IDEA postponed and a few deferred memberships. However, this year has also been a success in many ways, reflected in the highest amount of new memberships, diversity in our membership and new platforms of communication.
Presented below is a little more detail on some of the points above and what’s ahead. A reminder, all in-person events at the Asper School and those involving students are cancelled until further notice. The popular BComm dinner, for example, will not take place of the first week of School. We are looking at alternate ways to connect with first year Asper students. Again, I thank you for your continued support.
IDEA 2020 – New date postponed to MAY 27, 2021
Unfortunately, due to COVID distancing restrictions and after an exhaustive review, the IDEA committee has decided to further postpone IDEA to May 27, 2021.
Although we are disappointed, we look forward to coming back with full force in the spring! IDEA 2021 will uphold our reputation as Manitoba’s premiere business event. We look forward to having a fantastic tribute to our Dr. Rady, whom the Associates nominated to receive the Order of Manitoba. He will receive the honour at the dinner! While many suggested we hold a virtual IDEA, we have all come to realize we miss the shared IDEA experience. The dinner, the conversation, the tributes and each other! I want to specifically thank Arni Thorsteinson and his IDEA committee for their leadership during this challenging time period.
We look forward to all of you joining us on May 27, 2021 and salute your continued support of the Associates and the Asper School of Business. Whether financially or through your many ways of volunteering, we appreciate all you do to support each other, Asper students and faculty and our great Manitoba community.
Interestingly, about 45 percent of new Asper students come directly from high school. The remaining are Advanced entry students transferring from another University of Manitoba faculty or other educational institutions. We have been advised for the Fall 2020 admissions, direct entry requires a minimum High School grade of 89 percent. The GPA cut-off is 3.038 for the Advanced entry students. That standard had not been compromised with the increase in enrolment. The increased enrollment means Asper can attract more high-achieving students who would either end up attending other schools outside of Manitoba or wait until they could attend. We expect this decision will continue to help grow our Manitoba economy in the years and decades ahead.
The Asper School of Business is conducting a major review of the BComm curriculum. In order to meet the needs of the business community, the Associates have been asked to assist in this process. I am pleased to report 37 Associates took part in these focus groups reviewing the current degree program’s strengths and areas in need of improvement. The disciplines reviewed include Accounting, Finance, Actuarial, HR, and Supply Chain. We look forward to an updated curriculum reflecting the current and future needs of an ever changing economy.
I am proud to report we welcomed 42 new members this year, surpassing previous records of new members in a single year. Had we not had COVID, this number would have been even higher. We are pleased to report 41.5% of the new Associates are women. A list of the new Associates and the companies they represent is presented below. Thank you to the enthusiastic Denise Zaporzan and her team for driving us forward.
Thank you to Howard Morry and his Engagement Committee for their work in planning with earnest for the 2020-2021 programming year seeking to provide an engaging mix of webinar and in- person events adhering to all social distancing rules. Some Highlights:
August 25, 2020 – Inuit Art Centre Tour at the WAG – our first in-person event since March! Sneak preview/behind the scenes of the new Inuit Art centre followed by a rooftop cocktail reception.
AGM honouring the milestones of members and welcoming back our special guest speaker Dr. Michael Benarroch – November 12, 2020.
Four Emerging Topics Series have been set. Two via zoom webinar and two in-person at the Executive Education Centre. Dates are: September 16, November 19, February 3 and March 17.
I encourage you to participate in as many events and engagement opportunities with the School as you can. If you are interested in mentoring or presenting in-class where you have expertise, please email the office. We would love to have even more participation!
While most of you have renewed your membership, we look forward to your continued support knowing you receive a charitable tax receipt of $1075. Your challenges are our challenges and we are mindful of the pressure we are all under.
A special thanks to our board of directors. They are an extremely engaged and committed group and I am fortunate to be surrounded by such talented people.
Colin Ryan, CFA, ICD.D
Chair, The Associates
Executive Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager
Director Wellington Altus Holdings Inc.
Wellington-Altus Private Wealth Inc.