Canadian Leadership Congress Forums was founded to help Canadian pension leaders build strong relationships and learn from one another – sharing best practices is a big part of this process. Like all CLC events, the 2023 Challenge of Change Forum will feature case studies by several Canadian pension decision makers, including Sean Hewitt, CEO of TTC pension plan. Sean will talk about why it’s important to keep pension plan members at the forefront of organizational strategy and how trust and communication are more important than ever right now.
In advance of the event, we asked him three questions:
Can you tell us about the topic of your session?
“I’ll be speaking about the importance of member relationships at our pension plan, and how we’re helping our membership understand the benefits of our plan and how it supports long term sustainability as well as our mission, vision, and values. That is really important in a challenging market environment. Our plan is strong and positioned for long‑term sustainability and we entered 2022 in an excellent financial position. But, of course, persistent inflation may challenge our ability to provide the level of intended benefits which includes full cost of living updates for our retired members in the future.”
What is the top challenge you see for your plan in 2023?
“Persistent high inflation particularly combined with a sharp economic downturn will be a challenge for the pension plan but it will also put additional pressure on member communication. Capital markets have been very supportive over the last decade or so and we’ve had very strong returns to provide our pensioners with full benefit updates. So, there is some expectation that this is always going to be the case. A recession combined with high inflation will put that relationship to the test.”
Any tips on how to communicate with members about some of these issues?
“Having a communication strategy developed in advance is really important to manage change. Getting out to the worksite is really important – putting boots on the ground. Also, adjusting your message to something that can be understood by the membership – these aren’t pension people, particularly our members who in many cases don’t have a financial background. Putting it into terms that can be understood because pensions are extraordinarily complex so an understandable message is key.”
What are you looking forward to most from the conference?
“Meeting other pension plans and understanding the challenges that they are having is a big goal for me. I always find that the more I put into these events, the more I get out of them. I look forward to connecting with others and to learning from them.”
The 2023 Challenge of Change Forum is being held at The Algonquin Resort in St. Andrews, New Brunswick from May 31 to June 2. Interested in joining us? Please contact Joanne Boccia at firstname.lastname@example.org.