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November 2012

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Greg Powell's final address as GAMA Canada President

By Greg Powell, CD, BA (Psych), CFP, CHS
Past President - GAMA International Canada

Dear GAMA Canada members,

It is with mixed feelings that I write this, my final communication as president of GAMA International Canada. While it is of course a pleasure to address you all as colleagues, with the learning gained from this amazing role in the last four years, my feelings are tempered somewhat by the knowledge that it’s also a farewell.

When I assumed this role in 2009, my goal was simple: to make GAMA Canada known as both a resource and rallying point for the leaders of the financial services industry in Canada. Together we have hit our marks, and I just know the next president will help GAMA Canada take that always important next step.

As we developed our tactical strategies, we had to make some hard decisions to ensure we reached our goal. This happened alongside an evolving vision and partnership with Advocis.

Our gains have far exceeded our losses. For example, even though we had to let go of the CMP designation we created, we saw a 150% increase in membership and tenfold increase in LAMP attendance.

For decades, leaders have recruited, trained and coached agents into one of the most difficult but rewarding careers in the world. Thankfully, GAMA Canada is able to offer the hands-on assistance and resources that will help these agents build their careers. The GAMA members we represent help literally thousands of new agents every year. Although not everyone can succeed, GAMA Canada is bound to do everything in its power to ensure all agents succeed.

Your role is critical — to your respective companies, to our industry, and most definitely to Advocis. Leaders in our industry drive agent membership. Without us, the industry would grind to a halt. An agent candidate will sometimes need to be repeatedly called to look at their career status. Without such perseverance, the longevity of our industry — and ultimately the financial well-being of Canadians — would be jeopardized. It goes without saying that the leader’s role is a hugely important one.

Advocis may train and support professional agents to do their job, but who puts these people in the room to start with? Those who have what it takes to be great in our industry do not generally find us — we find them. To block that channel in any way would place the industry at risk and may over the long term condemn countless Canadians to making uninformed financial choices.

Whether leaders are in bank, career or independent channels, GAMA gives them the resources and training they need to succeed. We are all peers in this industry and it’s true what they say: a rising tide does indeed raise all boats. I say we leave the logos and brands at the door and get to work moving this industry forward.

I want to express my gratitude to all who have served with me. I can not, in this space, thank everyone, from the irreplaceable Advocis National staff to Greg Pollock and the TFAAC chairs to the GAMA representatives in the chapters to executive board members both past and present. I do want to make a point of thanking my VP and successor Rob Popazzi as well as my amazing 2012 team, comprised of Joe Flynn (past president), Jim Ruta (treasurer), Carla Ayles, David Gray, Shawn Bellefeuille, Marian Mocanu and Ejaz Nadeem. Without the contributions of all of these people, we would not have scored such remarkable wins in 2012 as reducing our Adserve costs, hosting Canadian receptions at LAMP, penetrating into the independent channel, and opening the door for French-Canadian agents through translation of documents and presentations.

I’d like to take this opportunity to also express my gratitude to the director of GAMA International Canada, Celia Ciotola, who has been with me as a support, a colleague and a friend throughout my last four years.

Leaders who belong to Advocis and GAMA know how much they owe to the industry and believe it’s important to extend a helping hand to others. I know you are as proud of belonging to this community as I am. Let’s all continue to help this industry grow through influencing, innovating and impacting.

I am proud to have served within your ranks.

Are you interested in volunteering for GAMA International Canada?
If so, email cciotola@advocis.ca

Contact information for GAMA International Canada
390 Queens Quay West, Suite 209 • Toronto, ON • M5V 3A2
Tel: 416.444.5251 • Toll Free: 1.800.563.5822 • Email: Contact us
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