President’s Message December 2017

An Exciting New Era for CAPS

Well, our 2017 convention has come and gone and, on behalf of our entire association I would like to express our sincere gratitude to our co-chairs; Rhonda Scharf, CSP, HoF and Lisa Leitch, CSP and all of the volunteers who stepped up, worked hard and delivered an excellent convention! We honour you all and we thank you for your commitment to CAPS.
By now you have probably heard that some major changes were voted into place at the CAPS convention in Ottawa. Most notably was the following changes effective April 1, 2018:

  1. The membership revenue requirement to qualify for professional membership will be increased from $25,000 to $50,000. (The raising of the minimum level for professional member status has been a discussion point for more than fifteen years. We haven’t raised the standards for 20 years.)
  2. To help ensure that our CAPS community shares common interests and challenges as professionals and entrepreneurs, the candidate category will be discontinued .
  3. To reflect the changing nature of the speaking business and many of our members’ business models towards e-learning programs, webinars, and video production, qualification for membership has been expanded to include experts with a message to monetize using the spoken word. This will also provide the opportunity to draw new, diverse and younger members who tend to be using a variety of technologies to disseminate their expertise.

Naturally, these changes have generated much discussion and many questions. So lets take this opportunity to provide some clarity around these changes.

Grandfathered In
It’s important to be clear that these changes will not affect existing CAPS members in any way.
All CAPS members in good standing as of March 31, 2018 will be grandfathered into the existing membership framework, including candidate members.  Current Candidate members will be able to complete their two-year qualification period, to move to professional member status, under the existing revenue target of $25,000 in the year prior to application.

Salaried Speakers and Exceptions
We understand that there are some salaried speakers, or other individuals, who are also entrepreneurs and who may qualify for CAPS membership because of special circumstances. To accommodate these exceptions, a special panel will be convened to evaluate these applications to determine if membership would be of mutual value. The panel will make its recommendations to the national board and a decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

National Speakers Academy
As part of the changes to our admission requirements, a CAPS branded speakers academy e-learning program is being developed for anyone who wishes to learn about the speaking business.  This will allow us to have consistent standards across the country, free up volunteer time from chapter members and be a revenue generator for both national and the chapters. The current objective is to have the academy up and running by the end of 2018.
Here are just a few details regarding the National Speakers Academy:

  1. The academy will be available to both members and non-members. The tuition has yet to be established.
  2. Revenues from the academy will be shared between the chapters and CAPS national.  Exact details are being determined, however, the intent is to promote a more financially lucrative program for chapters and CAPS national.
  3. Though attendance at the academy will not qualify participants for CAPS membership, we will encourage the chapters to invite participants to attend chapter meetings at the member rate to provide added value and to encourage participants to pursue their qualifications for membership.

Of course, there will be lots of opportunity for CAPS members to get involved and be part of the academy. The 20/20 Vision task force will be making these opportunities available as they arise, so watch for those announcements.

If you have questions about any of this, I will be pleased to answer them for you in the new year. I will be taking some time off over the holidays, but I can be reached in January via my personal email at [email protected]

Welcome your 2018 National Board of Directors:
Here is your 2018 National Board of Directors.  Please do make sure and thank them for stepping up. As you know, everyone on our board is a volunteer; giving of their own time and expertise to help us all have the best CAPS experience possible.

Suzanne Stevens, CSP: Past President
Michael Kerr, CSP, HoF: President-elect, 20/20 Vision Task Force
Michael Flint: Treasurer
Michelle Ray, CSP: Membership Director
Jennifer Spear: Programming Director (non-voting, Presidential appointment)
Dianne McCoy: Chapter Liaison
Mary Charleson, CSP: Marketing Director
Peter Chapman: Communications Director
Shari Bricks: Executive Director

All of this is part of our effort to bring you the very best CAPS experience possible.  It’s my hope that we can all embrace the CAPS advantage; Learn, Share, Grow and Belong in the coming year so that each and every CAPS member has a stellar year ahead.
I very much look forward to the coming year and I wish you all a very safe and happy holiday season!


Steve Lowell, CSP
2018 CAPS National President
Canadian Association of Professional Speakers