ConnexFM has formed a new Retail Council to put a spotlight back on the association’s roots.
By Caroline Heller
There have been a lot of changes in the world over the past few years, including at ConnexFM. New councils formed, allowing the association to address the needs of members in specific verticals like healthcare, technology, Canada, and food and beverage. These councils have been a huge success as members have come together to find their unique voice and share their commonalities.
Recently, ConnexFM announced the creation of another council — the Retail Council. Although historically retail has always been the foundation of ConnexFM, especially when the name of the organization was PRSM (Professional Retail Store Maintenance), the formation of this council emphasizes a renewed focus on the retail side of business, and the Co-Chairs of the new Retail Council are here to share its goals for 2023 and beyond.
“There are some things we used to do as an organization that we’ve kind of lost over the past few years, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Retail Council is charged with resurrecting those initiatives,” said Co-Chair Steve Goyette, CFPS, CET, Vice President of Business Development at Telgian Fire Safety. “Our initiatives have a retail focus, but in some ways, they will benefit all members too.”
Goals and Objectives
The Retail Council has three primary objectives right out of the gate:
Reinitiating retailer-to-retailer roundtables
In the past, the organization had events where Multi-Site facilities manager (FM) professionals could get together outside of the National and Mid-Year conferences. “These were smaller, periodic meetings that would occur across the country throughout the year,” Goyette said. “They were great opportunities for retailer FM professionals to organically share strategies and ideas over a meal.” The Retail Council intends to bring back these social events so that members can convene and network more frequently.
Launch a virtual networking platform
ConnexFM recently retired its Communities platform, which allowed members to post questions or comments and get feedback from other members on a variety of issues. The Retail Council intends to replace this with something new. “We have an opportunity to recreate this platform and make it better than ever,” Goyette said. “There were some real drawbacks to the old system and the participation wasn’t as high as we wanted it to be.”
The goal with the new platform is to help Multi-Site FM members who are early in their careers — members who don’t have 20-plus years of experience. “They’ll be able to post questions anonymously or reveal their name, and respondents will be able to do the same,” Goyette said. “We’ve got some ideas on how to incentivize participation as well.”
Be the primary liaison for the Supplier Relations Committee
“When the Supplier Relations Committee has ideas that they want to run by Multi-Site FMs, rather than run those ideas or inquiries by one or two retailers they know, they now can run it by the Council,” Goyette said.
“We have a unique mix of members. We have retailers and suppliers, and it’s a very symbiotic relationship. We need each other,” said the Council’s other Co-Chair, Kirk Beaudoin, FMA, RFMP, a facilities expert of almost 30 years.
A Home Base for Retail Members
Both Goyette and Beaudoin bring with them many years of experience, but also a drive to serve the retail industry.
“I’ve been involved with PRSM and ConnexFM for over 15 years now. I’ve done everything from write articles to serving on committees or the Board, including serving as President of the Board for a year,” Beaudoin said. “Every new opportunity I’ve participated in with ConnexFM, I’ve always gotten something back.”
With roughly 30 years of experience, Beaudoin sees a real opportunity to help younger facilities managers entering the industry in his role as Co-Chair of the council. “I certainly wish this association was around when I started my career,” he said.
Goyette has been a part of ConnexFM for the past 7 years and is excited about the opportunity to give back in his new role. Although he has always been employed on the Supplier side, the original part of his career focused on retail clients. “To this end, serving on the Retail Council is something that is close to my heart,” Goyette said.
The Retail Council hopes to provide both Multi-Site FMs and Suppliers with a variety of services to meet their needs. “At the end of the day, we want to be the home base for all retail members. We want them to know that there is a council that represents their distinct needs and issues,” Goyette said. “Whether they’re members of the Council or not, they should know that they’ve got a body of people to come to and lean on. We aren’t waiting for conferences to get together. They will have the Council available to connect with regularly.”