July 2017 Keynotes President’s Message

When an idea GROWS…we all learn, share, grow and belong

When a new idea or initiative is communicated there are many reactions from members. Some say, “What took so long?” Others, “Why is this idea being proposed?” And yet others, “I see such potential in this idea.”

No matter what your response was to the launch of CAPS Cares Advocates, Promoting healthy minds and well-being, without the support of the members and chapter leadership, its life is short lived.

This idea is rooted in the benefits to our association to contribute to the community by offering free public events. CAPS Cares Advocates thought we should promote the mental health conversation. Not as experts, but by taking our life experiences and sharing our stories, and our resilience in order to perpetuate positive thoughts for people that attend the event.

The idea, has five goals:

  1. To contribute to the community.
  2. To enhance CAPS “experts who speak” brand equity
  3. To connect our members to each other and the community
  4. To learn more about each other, as people and experts
  5. And to create media buzz around an association that cares about the communities in which they live.

Bonus benefit: to attract qualified members and prospective clients.

Some Advocates have not received member support for the idea, other Chapters didn’t have the bandwidth to take this on, and some are still pursuing opportunities.

So where are we in regards to these free public events promoting healthy minds and well-being?

Two Chapters have launched the initiative and had a taste of its potential.  We applaud them and congratulate them on their success.

The first chapter to host an event was Manitoba.  It was an exciting opportunity and experience for the speakers who participated. To learn about the Manitoba Chapter experience, led by Dianne McCoy, visit https://www.canadianspeakers.org/category/caps-cares-corner.  You’ll find information about the event and lessons learned.

Below Barry Green, CAPS Cares Advocate for the Atlantic Chapter shares his experience with their event.

 CAPS Atlantic has had its first foray into the public initiative of CAPS Cares: Promoting Healthy Minds and Well-Being.  It did so with an event in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador offered by members Barry Lewis Green, Joel Sweeney, Corina Walsh, Gary Summers and Bruce Templeton.

Barry GreenThe event was held at the Prince Philip Drive Campus of the College of the North Atlantic with some 25 people in attendance.  It was offered on June 29 ahead of summer to get a jump start on future events offered at the College in September and going forward.  Supported by the College and Enactus CNA St. John’s, the feedback was positive and there was interest in both attending more and promoting other events.  For the opening event, we had 5 speakers address for 15 minutes with a Q and A to follow.  Here are our learnings:

FIRST, the nature of the event has the real potential for advancing the brand of CAPS in a Province where the branding needs advancing.  With but 7 members locally, this event serves to give back to the community while lifting awareness around CAPS as a professional organization.  Already we have some 25 people interested in both attending and spreading the word… and a College, which is supportive for the upcoming college year.

College of the North Atlantic is the province’s public community college with some 17 campuses and a mandate to deliver on vocational training across industries.  It has expressed interest in supporting such an event on campus as a resource for students, staff and the general public.  We see a strategic partnership here, in the making.

Enactus is a youth leadership organization with chapters across the country and we are realizing that these are young people interested in (a) social enterprise (b) leadership and (c) making a difference.  We see real potential in partnering with such energy and drive going forward.

In addition, the event can truly be a service initiative, helping advance conversations around an array of topics relating to healthy minds and well-being.

The event also served to galvanize a speaker community around a focal point and build a sense of connection and community that was needed.  That connection builds collaboration as well as opportunities to learn of one another and to help promote each other on a larger scale.  Already, we are seeing our local members connect and build bridges that can create a synergy for building collective and individual success alike.

Other learnings include 90-minute duration is optimal, more engagement less speaking, a library setting might be ideal… and we will be moving to a 2-speaker model for future events.  All in all, we are encouraged by the prospects for such an event on a quarterly basis to build CAPS awareness, contribution and membership community… and place CAPS on a larger map, locally and nationally.

Barry Green, CAPS Cares Advocate Atlantic


For an idea to grow it needs someone willing to invest time, energy and insight into it, or else an idea dies on the vine.

Congratulations and thank you, Barry Green and Dianne McCoy for nurturing it, and leading your Chapters in healthy minds & well-being conversation. And thank you to all our CAPS Cares Advocates and members who are working within your Chapters and communities on this “idea”.

I would also like to extend a big thank you to Frema Engel, the Peer Support Program Chair, for your continued collaboration. You have been a joy to work with. You have inspired continuous conversation within our CAPS community and the community at large. The message is clear — it is ok to share with our trusted colleagues and our community at large. The result? We are stronger together.


CAPS truly does CARE.

With appreciation,


Suzanne F. Stevens, CSP
2017 CAPS National President
Canadian Association of Professional Speakers