Building Relationships – The Cornerstone Of The National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference

September 23, 2013

Building relationships is the foundation of Communica’s business. Accordingly, we jump at opportunities to attend conferences like the National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference (NABOC).

NABOC has united Aboriginal and private sector business across Canada since 2010, providing a forum to network and discuss opportunities for growth. NABOC’s latest instalment took place at NK’MIP in Osoyoos, B.C., from September 10 to 12. I was lucky enough to attend and the abundant opportunities provided by the host, setting and attendees to foster relationships are the reason I recommend you make an appearance at the next one.

Let’s start with the host – Chief Clarence Louie, CEO of the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation. Chief Louie has been Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band since 1985 and his attitude is invigorating. During his keynote at NABOC, Chief Louie told a story of his visit to another First Nation. While in the community, he noticed offensive language spray-painted on the band-owned gas station. He called up the Chief and Council of that First Nation and told them he, as an Aboriginal, was offended that they had not cleaned this up. His forthright boldness along with his motto, “You’ll only go as far in life as your work ethic will take you,” was a hot topic with conference registrants in the room.

The setting of the conference was the perfect place to build relationships. The gorgeous NK’MIP Resort in Osoyoos provided an excellent backdrop to the two-day event. When the conference ended for the day, attendees had the opportunity to enjoy wine tastings at the resort, a round of golf or a visit to the Cultural Centre (all of which are owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band). For the exercise-enthusiast, I personally recommend the rooftop yoga while the sun rises. There is no denying that NABOC’s Okanagan location provided not only countless business opportunities, but some recreational ones too.

Finally, the diverse calibre of the attendees is often the unadvertised benefit that makes a conference worth attending. That one conversation with the “trailblazer” that I’ve always wanted to meet, but have never been in the same room as, is one of the highlights of my conference experience. NABOC excels at creating these unpredictable connections; in Osoyoos, there were First Nations from all over Canada (and the U.S.) in attendance. It was fascinating to discuss the differences from one community to the next – economic development in Prince Rupert is much different than in Osoyoos and extremely different from Washington State. The diverse mix of Aboriginal and industry representatives made for an exceptional learning opportunity as a young stakeholder engagement and communications professional. It’s often true that the networking can be more beneficial than the conference agenda itself. Whether you represent industry, a First Nation, local government, or something else, building solid relationships will help you be more successful in your endeavours. In a hospitable environment like NABOC, these relationships organically flourish with ease – we look forward to meeting you at the next NABOC.

– Kyla Humphreys, Communica Advisor, Vancouver

BELOW: The NK’MIP resort and the view of vineyards and Lake Osoyoos from the resort

NKMIP  vineyards