My Club and Hotel Controllers Conference Experience

I have to admit that on my way to conference I had a moment where I thought ‘what if I won’t know what to write about?’ Well I am just halfway through the first full day of sessions and my fear is materializing, not because I have nothing interesting to write about, but because I was told that I only have to write one post during the conference and I am having a hard picking my best experience.

Everything I have witnessed so far has been amazing, from the HITEC opening keynote speaker, Douglas Merrill, who inspired me with his smarts and eccentric presentation. He turned my perception of information security upside down. I was amazed by the architecture and atmosphere of  the Belasco Theatre, where the HITEC opening party was held on Monday night and by the various education sessions I have attended so far. Probably the most mind-blowing, was the magician that charmed me and my colleagues at the entrance to the exhibit hall.

I would like to be able to write a blog entry about each, but since I have to pick, I am settling on the one speech I found most surprising. I never expected my day at a controllers’ conference to kick off with a comedy act. The session I am referring to was the keynote for Tuesday, by Jan McInnis, “Finding the Funny in Change,” which addressed how to use humor to handle change.

Most of us controllers are conservative by nature, even our job title is somewhat antithetic to change and creativity. We like to be in control of every aspect of our work, but in order to keep up with the fast paced technology developments we must learn to adapt to change and not be afraid of it. The main focus of the speech was on the benefits of humor when used in high stress or uncomfortable situations, when dealing with board members or employees. How we can use it as an ice-breaker to relieve tension or to capture the attention of a difficult audience. We listened to tips and tricks on how to find the humor in the situations we face, as well as the do’s and don’ts.

While I listened to the education sessions throughout the day, I tried to consciously identify the tools that Jan told us about and I observed that the best speakers always used humor at critical times to capture and engage the audience.

Monica Henegar is the controller at Capilano Golf and Country Club in West Vancouver, British Columbia and is a member of the HFTP British Columbia chapter.

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