Concerned that I was getting bored over the holidays, my wife handed me her Christmas gift – actor Matthew Perry’s new book entitled, Friends, Lovers, & the Big Terrible Thing – to occupy my time instead of watching entertaining but mindless hockey, basketball, and football games. After finishing the book in one day, she then gave me former US President Barack Obama’s memoir called A Promised Land.
Having been confined to reading research reports, strategies, policies, articles, position papers and other work-related literature for the better part of the last couple of years, I had almost forgotten how much I like autobiographies by entrepreneurs, executives, athletes, musicians, and even politicians. In fact, I’ve always been fascinated with how notable individuals got their start, how they were raised, why they chose a certain vocation, what motivated them to achieve great things, who helped them along the way, what lessons they learned, and what legacies they hoped to leave the next generation. The two books I tackled over the break re-ignited my passion to learn from both the mistakes and good decisions of people like President Obama and Matthew Perry.
Since returning to the office after the Christmas break, I’ve been reading several short bios of professional colleagues to learn of their career journeys and gain insight as to what drives them to do incredible things within and on behalf of the tourism industry. Suffice it to say, I am often captivated by what I discover. The level of skill, expertise, wisdom, and experience, as well as the list of accomplishments by people in our sector is remarkable…even if only summarized in a one-page bio instead of a full-blown autobiography.
So it stands to reason that when I see BC tourism leaders launching innovative projects or setting lofty goals for their businesses, organizations, sectors, or communities, I am rarely surprised. There are countless stories of where unassuming tourism professionals in British Columbia have led their organizations to set the benchmark among all business sectors for several societal priorities such environmental sustainability, reconciliation, wildlife protection, safety, accessibility, and inclusion while at the same time providing secure employment, generating revenue and economic benefits, and contributing corporately to local endeavours.
One such example is Helicat Canada’s (HC) unpretentious Executive Director Ross Cloutier (who I interviewed for my new podcast) who has an extensive and impressive track record in tourism all over the world. Earlier this week, Ross, along with President Rob Rohn and the board of HC launched their new Sightline 2030 vision focussed on the tenets of safety, stewardship, and service which aims to build upon their sector’s expertise and goals that support wildlife abundance, the transition to renewable energy sources, protection of the environment for future generations, as well as meaningful and lasting relationships with First Nations.
Sightline 2030 (more details below) encompasses specific objectives, investments, strategies and tactics in areas such as snow science and safety, social impact and responsibility, wildlife and environmental research, waste reduction, carbon neutrality, employee health and well-being, and more.
By recognizing the overall value of its sector to the tourism industry (particularly in rural BC) and given the role it plays in avalanche research and training, search and rescue, wildlife data collection, and environment stewardship, Helicat Canada in many ways has charted a new course for others to follow thanks to impressive leaders like Ross and Rob. Pay attention to the progress of 2030 Sightline in the months and years ahead.
Until my next holiday I’ll continue reading more impressive bios of tourism leaders, conference speakers, and future TIABC podcast guests…all of whom I know are accomplished and inspiring in their own right. And once I finish all 701 pages of President Obama’s book, I’ll start looking for another autobiography to enjoy.
If you’re thinking of sending recommendations, know that I refuse to read the picture book memoir published last year by another former head-of-state given my need for deeper content. Oh and by the way, on day one of my brief vacation next month I’ll be forced to make a choice between reading another autobiography sitting next to my wife at the beach or watching the Super Bowl. Please don’t text me the final score so I can view the recording when I return home.