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Virtually Inclusive
Norah Black—VP, Marketing & Communications, IBAO
e’ve always advertised Convention as an opportunity to bring brokers together from across the province. It’s true the event’s always done that. But the moment we went virtual, a few things were very apparent.
Our in-person Conventions were predominantly attended by Principal Brokers and Brokerage Management. We tended to see the same faces year-to-year, the event acting as a reunion of sorts for a core crowd of brokers. And those faces tended to be predominantly white, and predominantly male.
Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve hosted four large-scale virtual events—two Conventions (!), a Spring Summit and our Young Brokers Conference. The feedback’s been overwhelmingly positive, but with a footnote, always, that virtual “just isn’t the same” as in-person. I agree it’s hard to replicate the energy of a large crowd of people, especially when you layer a reunion vibe with familiar faces.
But these virtual events have opened new possibilities for brokers from all pockets of the province, of varied experience levels and from different demographics. In this way, going virtual has made our events much more inclusive, bringing brokers together quite literally from across the province. Consider an entry level broker from a remote community who might not get the opportunity to attend Convention. The cost of travel and accommodations has typically been prohibitive to send this demographic to Convention. The farther they’re travelling from, the higher the cost.
In this way, going virtual has made our events much more inclusive, bringing brokers together quite literally from across the province.
This past year and a half we’ve seen a record number of first-time attendees at our events. Potentially because we knew we had the possibility of a broader demographic and wanted to capitalize. But more likely because sending employees to our events should be an easy decision—education hours provide valuable insight that can directly benefit a brokerage. And by sending more entry level brokers for the first time, you’re potentially inspiring and empowering an entirely new cohort of brokers, introducing new ideas and harnessing the generational diversity of your brokerage.
When we’re able to do in-person events again, the pressure’s on to make a virtual experience available for those who can’t attend in-person. By continuing to create more accessible event experiences, we hope to enable all brokers to benefit from the education and inspiration they offer.
Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario
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