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The Boost

July, 2019

President's Message

Photo Pat Vos 2018 to use website and al

Pat Vos

Great news for Convention… If you bring more than 2 people to COACH U in Edmonton, for the 3rd and each subsequent person we are offering registration @ ½ price … so $1598 for 6 = 266.34 per person; wow what a deal. Register now @


Might also want to grab a room soon, hotel only has 198 rooms… it is a very intimate unique and elegant property 

And register now for convention…


The Federal Government has approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline again.  Yeah… us Albertan’s are looking forward to driving along the right of way and watching the side boom’s laying the pipe in the trench. Lots of side boom’s, lots of pipe and a big long trench, 1150 km. 

During this process, I’ve been puzzled by the contradictions. We haul oil by truck and generate carbon.  We haul oil by rail and generate carbon.


We’ve been cutting down trees that would absorb carbon and building pipe yards in B.C. to store all the pipe Trans Canada ordered, purchased and paid for from China and India; when the pipeline was initially approved by the Federal Government in 2016.  They do not have room to store on ships parked in the ocean generating carbon, nor did they have room to pile up at the docks and pay demurrage on.


Once pipelines are in the ground, they stop generating carbon. Pipeline companies pay significant pipeline tax to municipalities, and railroads, initially built by the government do not pay any type of tax for their right of way. 

To put this in perspective, Brazeau County, when I was the reeve, in 2014, collected $24,240,579.00 in pipeline tax, it is called “linear”.  Brazeau County is .45% the size of Alberta, yes that is .45%. Linear taxes assessed by and paid to municipalities provide many millions to schools, millions to seniors, build and maintain roads, supply water, wastewater, parks, recreation, firefighting, and disaster services, etc.

Many municipalities that the TMX pipeline will go through have forgone significant annual revenue from the 3-year delay in getting the pipeline built all the while contributing to increased carbon emissions.

Another contradiction is importing oil from other countries that have no rules about carbon emissions; forcing Canadian producers to sell their oil at a discount. = fewer royalties to producing provinces, and “social approval” from Canadians that it is ok not to respect “worldwide” carbon issues.

While traveling in, around and through the Manning, High Level, and Steen River fire zones we discovered that the provincial municipalities have a “work share agreement” to provide municipal firefighters to protect structures.  Municipal firefighters came from all over Alberta in shifts to help. They did not lose one house in High Level.  They kept all the properties on the outer boundaries under sprinklers while the fire burned to the edge of town.  WOW, they did an amazing job.  The Forest Service was able to focus on what they do best, they worked and continue to work on putting out the fire in the forested areas.  Sobering experience driving through. 

I wanted to see, so once the roads were opened again, we did a waterfalls tour in the NWT.  Stayed in Fort Providence, Fort Simpson, and Hay River and found 8 sets of waterfalls.  With the main road north closed, the Mackenzie highway tourism was definitely affected.  If you look at the above link we stayed at a cabin looking at this bridge, it crosses the Mackenzie River just before Fort Providence.  Golfed 3 times, saw many groundhogs and a few black bears.  Very enjoyable 4 days 3-night trip.

My reading list, in order of my preference:

“Fully Human, 3 Steps to Grow Your EMOTIONAL FITNESS in Work, Leadership, and Life”  Susan Packard

Cindy Roma suggested this book, and I love it, will use it to build a webinar

“Dare to Lead, Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.  Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work”, Brene Brown, PhD, LMSW

Took me awhile to read this, complicated and required thought and reflection probably should read it again to really grasp all of the data and concepts

“Evil, The Science Behind Humanity’s Dark Side”, Dr. Julia Shaw

Something attracted me to this book, it is really well written and a page-turner, there were times I needed to put it down and take a break from it, but is still a really good read.

Our Wellness Journey continues with personal forward movement.  The jury is out on measurable financial results.

Speaking of measurable, our in-house call quality scoring has improved since we banned cell phones while on duty.  Guess our addiction to distractions is more powerful than our addiction to our paycheques.

President's Message June

Membership Development Committee Report


Gary Blair

Respectfully submitted by Gary Blair


Our monthly Member Spotlight for July is Bill Tucker of Answer365.  Bill has one very interesting story to share – don’t miss it!

Anyone interested in being our next Member Spotlight, please be in touch directly  Keep in mind, the Spotlight is for owners, senior management, the operations team at any level, sales staff, programmers, supervisors or agents.  Remember, we want to throw open the doors and make introductions that strengthen the connections within the industry!

The month of June saw two new members join our ranks.  If you haven’t done so already, please give a big shout out to:

David Ellsworth of Medical Answering Service of Oregon, in Portland, Oregon. 








Earl Klay of Voice Nation in Buford, GA



Welcome, David and Earl - hope to see you both in Edmonton this September at the 55th Annual CAM-X Convention & Trade Show for an old-fashioned CAM-X conference welcome! 

Logo Medical Answering Service of Oregon
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Convention Committee


Garrett Bidewell


Garrett Bidewell, Convention Chair

Happy Canada Day and 4th of July everyone! It’s Summer Time!!


We kick off July by celebrating the birth of our countries.  In Canada, we had three colonies and Constitution Act (then called the British North America Act). The U.S. with the Declaration of Independence declaring the 13 American colonies are free from a monarch control. It’s a race to find the best place in Edmonton to watch the Fireworks on Canada Day. I find the legislative grounds to be the most scenic. Hundreds of friends and family members gather together to celebrate the glory of Canada. We watch these festivities every year as a family as you do, As we all do. 


Summer is a great time to be with friends and family, whether its BBQ’n and drinks, soaking up the sun on the back deck or roasting marshmallows over the campfire. Enjoying time with friends and family, that’s most important. I find with the warmer weather and late nights around the campfire we have ample opportunity to not only tell our stories of the past and reminisce but to create new ones. 


As you know these experiences which shape our stories fall nicely in line with this year's Convention theme of the Power of Storytelling. We are proud to offer you an inspiring range of topics this year. Additionally, we have some of the industries greatest minds and highest achievers giving what we call CAM Chats, our version of  TED Talks. Come, Learn and experience this wonderful city and an amazing hotel.


COACH U is happening at the beginning as well, giving your team a take away full arsenal. An intense workshop around Exceptional Leadership will kick it off, followed by networking topics such as Bud to Boss, disciplinary feedback and SMART goal setting. Doug Swift, 2009’s winner of Tom Ryan Award for Integrity, Ethics, and Quality above all is giving a keynote closing on Culture in the workplace. This year's COACH U is going to be motivating. If that was not enough, COACH U attendees will get the first day of the convention too, which we have packed full to make this an unforgettable event. Don’t miss out!


Looking forward to having a few cocktails with you in the Confederation Lounge!


Your conference chair, Garrett Bidewell.


Garrett & Linda Fathers of Confederation
Two Grey Suits

Two Grey Suits 

Toxic Leadership

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This article is part of the TwoGreySuits Managing Employee Performance Series and is offered by our partner, TwoGreySuits as a service to our members.


Many people, at some point in their careers, will encounter a toxic leader. This is a manager who bullies, threatens and shouts, and whose mood swings dictate the office atmosphere. Toxic leaders are bad news for organizations. They bleed the energy and enthusiasm of employees, and often lower organizational productivity and damage corporate reputation. For small or start-up organizations, the toxic leader may even prove fatal to the business. To tackle the toxic leader, organizations must first understand who or what they are dealing with. What Makes a Toxic Leader Tick?


What Makes a Toxic Leader Tick? This can be a difficult question to answer, and has been widely debated. Some people believe that the need for power and recognition is what ultimately creates and motivates the toxic leader. Others think that incompetence or insecurity drive toxic behavior in some people. The toxic leader is often described as self-centered, often petty, abusive and interpersonally dangerous and harmful. Toxic managers can appear in different guises; the control freak manager, the unethical manager, the overly aggressive manager or the dictatorial and passive aggressive manager. Regardless of the guise, employees always know one when they are faced with one. Toxic leaders prefer an unstable environment where their own unpredictable behavior is the norm. They are often moody and their emotional sensitivity is high. They are difficult to work for, because they often change their minds, can’t sit still and pay little or no attention to others. Toxic leaders often shout, weep, sulk, and gush, often without any apparent sense of embarrassment.


What We Can Do… The best way to tackle toxic behavior is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Organizations can accomplish this by:


• Developing an organizational culture that strongly discourages toxic behavior. Have a stated set of organizational values, then interview with the goal of determining whether the candidate subscribes to those values. Detailed reference checking is also essential. Utilize a rigorous hiring process that screens out those who are likely to be, or become, toxic managers.

• Rewarding and promoting leaders who demonstrate that leadership success is not attained via toxic behavior.


Where toxic behavior is apparent, it is important to talk to the individual to try to get to the root of the problem. For instance, their behavior may have become toxic due to an ongoing stressful situation in their personal life. If an organization decides to try to help a toxic manager, they should be offered coaching with a qualified professional, who can get to the root of their toxic behavior and help them to change. It is also advisable to encourage the individual to have a medical examination to assess whether any underlying condition could be driving their toxic behavior, e.g. anxiety, depression, etc.



We are not perfect. We all have our own particular behaviors, some that are engaging and others that are less so. It is important to be able to spot even the earliest signs of toxic leadership, and intervene to prevent such behaviors from harming employees and the organization even further. The HR Power Centre’s Recruitment and Performance Management modules can be particularly helpful in dealing with these issues.

Take a few minutes to explore the HR Power Centre at It contains on-line Employee Engagement training, everything you need for effective people management in the HR Power Centre, and, when you need answers fast, you can talk to a senior HR Professional 24/7 through the HR Hot Line.

Signing up is hassle free.   Contact  It's as simple as that.  

Hassle-free, effortless HR Solutions for your business ...Because HR Happens


Respectfully submitted by Linda Osip

Our Education Committee has created an amazing calendar of Learning Opportunites for your teams in monthly Webinars and Lunch & Learn sessions.  All recordings are available through the CAM-X office.


Recent Events:

2019 AOE with Linda Osip

Employee Engagement with Gloria Tonne

Amazing Customer Service with Leisa McDonald

Feedback Conversations with Sheila Jessup

Dealing with difficult and stressful calls with Sherry Oxner

Life Work Balance with Leisa McDonald

Bud to Boss with Cindy King

June 5  Goal Setting with Cindy King

June 19 Culture in the Workplace with Leslie Wilson

Future Events:

July 3  Call Distribution with Pete Clement

July 24  Multi Generations in the Call Centre with Bryce Reid

September 17 & 18  COACH U Leadership Training  

Special Pricing:  1st and 2nd Delegate at $399.00,  Additional HALF PRICE $200.00 

COACH U – Julianna Cantwell

Exceptional Leadership (Level 1) (full day)

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

 Understand the differences between a technical and leadership role

 Differentiate between formal and informal leaders

 Adapt their leadership style to match the individuals they are leading

 List the three communication factors and know how they impact every interaction

 Identify the six levels of listening and how they affect communications, rapport and relationships

 Separate facts, feelings and assumptions to communicate more effectively

 Provide both positive and constructive feedback to others

 Use conversation to carry out an effective dialogue with others

Closing Keynote:  Doug Swift

Opening Keynote for Convention:  Carrie Doll

Awards Luncheon Included!

Afternoon Certification program

September 18 & 19  55th Annual Convention & Trade Show

Keynote:  Carrie Doll - The Power of Storytelling

Developing Leadership to Replace You! with Jamey Hopper

Seasoned Mistakes! with Paul Lloyd & Doug Swift

Tech Wizards:  The future of new contact center technology - AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC

Plan to Brand Workshop with Beth Divine

EOS - Entrepreneurs Operating System with Desiree Bombenon

CAM Chats (our version of TED Talks) Passionate conversations with Bill Tucker, Bill Hildreth, Sydney Ryan, Cindy Roma, Michael Leibowitz & Scott Lyons

Awards Luncheon, Gala & Silent Auction

Spectacular Networking!!!

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 Show your staff they are worthy: 

CSR and Supervisor Certification

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The Award Committee ​

  • At our meeting last week we finalized our focus group questions

  • We are currently dividing up the membership for committee members to make calls

  • Calls should get started before the end of the month

  • Find out more about AOE Plus - contact Linda

Pre Employment Testing Demo Available

Contact for instructions

Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

Bill Tucker

Boost July Member Spotlight photo Bill T

Member Spotlight – Bill Tucker with Answer365


Member Spotlight Q & A

Q.   When did you join/start Answer 365 and what brought you into the call center industry.

A.    I started to work for Transport Canada after graduating with my BSc and after three years decided to return to University to take an MBA. After graduating I returned to Transport Canada, moving to Halifax International Airport. At this time I started to look for business opportunities and investigated a number of them over the five years it took me to find a suitable one. During this time I had a stint at Goose Bay Airport before moving back to Halifax with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.  After moving back to Halifax, I renewed my efforts to find a suitable business opportunity.

In early 1985, I met Bob Lund who was looking to sell his telephone answering service businesses in Halifax, Dartmouth and Charlottetown. After negotiations, we finalized a deal and on August 1, I had my business opportunity. I remember vividly lying in bed the night after the close wondering how the hell I was every going to be able to pay back all the money that we borrowed. It was we because I had a partner, who was a lawyer and a friend.

I was interested in the business because it had good cash flows and appeared uncomplicated to manage. 

Q.   Can you tell us a little more about the evolution of your career path with Answer365.  

A.    My career path is the path of the business over the years. In the early years the business operated as four offices, two collocated in Halifax, one in Dartmouth across the harbor from Halifax and one in Charlottetown. All were cord board operations. The most sophisticated thing we had in the business was a telex machine. In the first year we purchased the companies first computer, to do the billing and accounting functions. The computer was $10,000. and had a 10 megabit hard drive (which I thought we would never fill). Also in the first year we found a local partner to run our Charlottetown operation which we rebranded to Message Centre PEI. The overall quality of our services was poor.

In 1989, we purchased and renovated a building. In 1990 we purchased a Tascom system and installed it in our new building. Our plan was to move to our new building and start to use the new system and at the same time combine three offices. The move turned out ok, but the rest of it turned into a disaster. We did a very poor job of programming accounts, training and managing, so our service really suffered. It took a long time to recover from this move. It was an expensive lesson, but in the end of the day a very valuable one. My best move in 1990 was getting married.

Over the next few years we stabilized the business and experienced some revenue growth. My partner and I were playing in different businesses that often took my focus off our core business. In 1997, we were having operational management issues, so I asked my wife Sue to come in for a few weeks to help us out. Sue had been in operations management in her previous banking career. This was a very good move for me and the business. Twenty two years later she is still here. This was the start of getting better management and delivering better services.

In 2002, I had a not so pleasant divorce from my business partner. Our goals and plans for the business had not meshed for a number of years, so splitting was the best. While I was negotiating the split and arranging financing, I was also working on two other deals. I wanted to separate our alarm business from the answering service business and I wanted to sell off the interest in our Charlottetown office. All the deals were completed over a span of four months. The major result was that I could now focus 100% of my energy to the answering service business.

Once we got the business growing in the right direction, Sue and I decided we had to recruit more management talent and to focus on building the business. We were fortunate to find some very good people and they have helped build the business. In 2008, I joined my PEG group of Gary Blair, Corals Lance, Brad French, Paul Lloyd, Cindy Roma and Sidney Ryan. Cindy and I joined at the same time and I remember talking to Cindy about our fears of undressing our businesses in front of friends. Pat Vos would join our group a short time later. I cannot say enough about how important this group is to me and my business.

 When you get to the point you are putting on the second roof on your building, it’s time to figure out a succession plan. Right up there with bringing Sue into the business for a few weeks, was the hiring a young Ian Cooke right out of school. Ian has had a major impact on our business and is now Vice President and an owner.

Answer 365 has had a steady growth over the past number of years and we continue on that track. In the past year, we acquired Allstar Answering Service in Moncton.

Q.   What was your first CAM-X experience.

A.    I purchased my business on August 1, 1985, and I attended my first CAM-X function that fall. This was the year the Association rebranded to CAM-X. The group was warm and welcoming and in no time I had developed many friendships. Within two years I was fortunate to join the Board for the first time.

Q.   Can you tell us more about how you’ve participated or benefitted from your CAM-X Membership.

A.   I have been an active member if CAM-X since I entered the industry in 1985. I joined the Board within a couple of years. While attending our CAM-X convention at the West Edmonton Mall in 1988, I was approached by Don and Doug Swift. For some reason that is unclear now, the Swift organization was leaving CAM-X, because of some type of conflict. This did not mean that Don and Doug were not big supporters of CAM-X. Doug was slated to be the next President of CAM-X, so Don asked me to take on the President’s role for the upcoming year. To put this ask into perspective, Don was the leader in the industry, so Don’s ask was more of a directive. So after three years in the industry I was a wet behind the years President. I was fortunate to have some very experienced people on the Board including Ted Moses and Judy Craik. I was also fortunate to have Brenda Preston as my Executive Director.

After my time on the Board we were active on Committees and at Conventions.  In 2011, I had a call from Gary Blair to ask me to stand for the Board. After some sole searching I realized it was time for me to give back to the Association and to learn from being a Board member. However, I had one caveat that I did not want to be President again. So at my first Board meeting I was corned by the same Doug Swift from 1988 and Brad French, and they took advantage of me, so I agreed to be on track to another term as President. The truth was that there were limited options so they got stuck with me. I really enjoyed my second term as President. I was much better prepared than the first time. Again I was fortunate to have a great Board, which made the job easy and an awesome Executive Director Linda Osip.


Q.   What does your business look like today vs. ten or more years ago. 

A.    The technology has improved but the biggest difference in our business today is the people. We made a conscious decision a number of years back to improve the people we hired at all levels in the business and that has made a substantial difference in our business. Get good people around you and good things will happen!

Q.   What platform do you use?  Are you a member of the user group and why?

A.    Amtelco Infinity.  We are members of CAM-X, ATSI and NAEO. I think membership in each of these is obvious. If you're not on the inside and connected to others in the industry you will fall behind. I have seen that many times. In addition to my involvement with CAM-X, Ian Cooke has been engaged with NAEO in the last number of years, and last year was NAEO’s President.
Q.   Tell us a little personal background about you, your family and your hobbies or interests.

A.    I am the middle of seven children, which includes five girls. I grew up in Halifax and started University in Halifax then went to Mount Allison University for a BSc in Chemistry and then on the Saint Mary’s University back in Halifax for my MBA. I worked for the Transport Canada in Moncton, Halifax Airport and Goose Bay Airport before moving to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. After that I purchased into the telephone answering business.

I was married to Sue in 1990 and we have two adult daughters, Laura living in Calgary (where we have a large family contingent) and Annie lives in Halifax. 

I have been Coaching Hockey for the past 34 years, the first number with boys and the past 20 with girls, including the past 10 with the Citadel High School Girls Hockey Team. As of this spring I have retired from Coaching mostly due to my travel schedule.

I have five passions, family, sailing, skiing, travel and my business.


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