Gary's thoughts ahead of the Globalisation and Localisation Association's annual conference.
Next week, I am attending one of the highlights of my business year. The GALA conference has come around again and, despite it being some years now since I served on the board, I still look forward to this annual event. Of course, the opportunity to meet once again with friends, colleagues, peers and competitors is one not to be missed – and I will make the most of the social opportunities that arise. But it is also my long-held and often stated belief that a strong and engaged trade association is important for a growing and progressive industry. My advice to business owners and practitioners who stand on the side and complain about the state their industry is in is for goodness sake engage!
As well as providing collective products and services - conferences, networking, training and educational materials, technical advice, publications – good trade associations give leadership, are curators of best practice and can be an effective and co-ordinated voice for the industry. I know personally most of the people involved in GALA - staff and volunteers – and know them to be dedicated, competent and skilled. If we are to take this industry forward in the way that we need to it requires the engagement of its business leaders with GALA, all they need is that we give them the chance.
As localization businesses we have a daily focus on how we need to be faster, cheaper and add value for our clients whilst maintaining the quality they correctly demand. There are challenges and opportunities as technology develops, we all need more sales and look to drive increasing production capabilities. People management, market positioning and effective product development are issues for all businesses. But if we lift our head for a moment and look at the bigger picture, it is crazy that an activity that is so critical for international trade is still managed by an industry that remains in the ‘Cinderella’ category. Anyone who has tried any coordinated PR activity in our industry and has come across the general indifference of journalists, opinion leaders and editors can attest to this. Supporting our trade association is an important part of changing the perceptions and lack of awareness in commerce generally.
This year the focus of GALA Amsterdam is applicable, evidence-based business practices that enable us to thrive in the new industry landscape. I’m not sure what that means yet, but I am sure it will be as great as ever!
See you all there.