This year's CAAR Conference features an exceptional lineup of insightful speakers and excellent entertainment. The Communicator spoke with two of our featured speakers to get a preview of what conference delegates can expect.

Donald CooperDonald Cooper: Accelerate Your Business
Thursday, February 15, 12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

Examine strategies for agri-retailers to create, deliver and communicate compelling customer value and experiences with Thursday’s keynote speaker, Donald Cooper.

“Value and experiences are what will ‘grab’ our target customers, clearly differentiate us from our competition and grow our bottom line,” he says. “If we can’t be clear about our value, we have no value story.”

The idea of clarity is a key concept Cooper will address in his presentation. No matter the size of your business, he says your first and most important job is to create clarity for your management team, employees and customers.

“If we, as a business, don’t clearly know who we are, where we’re going and what we stand for, how will our target customers know who we are? How can we be focused and intentional in running the business, and how will we know what talent we need to attract, develop and retain to make it all happen?” he says.

According to Cooper, one of the biggest complaints from business owners today is there’s no such thing as customer loyalty anymore.

“But that’s simply not true,” he says. “What is true is that people are loyal to what’s best for them – or what they assume is best for them. So, whatever we sell, we need to do the work to become the ‘wise choice’ for our target customers.”

To make that happen, Cooper says business owners must put themselves in their customers’ shoes and understand the realities they face and how that influences their wants and needs.

“Then, we have to communicate our value in everything we do. There’s no point in being the best if we’re also the best-kept secret.”

Cooper got his start working for the family business, Cooper Canada, in 1965. After 18 years, he left the company and reinvented himself as a visionary fashion retailer. He was the founder and president of Alive & Well, a “warehouse boutique” concept store in Markham, Ont. for 12 years.

After moving on from the fashion industry in 1995, Cooper began working as an international business speaker and coach, helping businesses, leaders and managers in 40 different industries achieve a more successful future. He was inducted into the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame in 2003.


Dave HemstadDave Hemstad: CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet Entertainment
Wednesday, February 14, 9 – 10 p.m.

Standup comedian Dave Hemstad brings a dynamic and engaging stage presence to every show, whether he’s performing for two people or 2,000. His style is described as intelligent, light and clean – but never cheesy. With hilarious delivery, quick wit and a self-deprecating sense of humour, this three-time Canadian Comedy Award nominee observes the frustrations of day-to-day life with a comedic touch.

You may recognize Hemstad from his appearance on CTV’s Comedy Now! or as a regular on CBC’s The Debaters. Appearing on national television since 2002, he has numerous acting credits under his belt and has performed at comedy festivals across the country, including Just for Laughs in Montreal, the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and the Halifax Comedy Festival. In fact, Hemstad is proud to have performed in every province and territory in Canada!

Hemstad will provide the post-ceremony entertainment at the CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet, and is sure to leave you chuckling long after the show is over.


Click here to read more about the 2018 CAAR Conference


Purchase Your Banquet Tickets Today!

With excellent entertainment, a celebratory atmosphere and delicious food and drink, the CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet is an ideal way to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Bring your spouse or significant other to the banquet for an unforgettable evening surrounded by friends and colleagues.

Don’t forget to purchase your tickets for the CAAR’s Choice Awards Banquet when you register online – banquet tickets are not included with your conference pass.

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