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The Boost

November, 2019

President's Message


Garrett Bidewell

Hello CAM-X members

Thank you for taking the time to read this month's President’s Boost message.

I wanted to share a story that has stuck around our company since as far back as I can remember. It’s about our experience with losing the AOE. It made a lasting impression within our culture and I thought you would like to hear about it.

“The Award of Excellence for Select Communications aka Select Call Centre"

Les & I originally applied to be included in the AOE with CAM-X (our one and only Grande Prairie office) because we thought it would (1) be good for our morale, (2) it would highlight how ‘good’ we knew our operators were, and (3) it would be a great advertisement for our answering service. It was all 3 and we were quite pleased!

Then came a ‘reality check’ and one year we were eliminated. It was, to say the least, a shock, a disappointment and an embarrassment to us, the owners, to our supervisory staff and to our operators. As the owner/partner with Les, I was managing the staff at the time and the humiliation was personal. As a result, we began to r-e-a-l-l-y monitor the calls, check more thoroughly the messages and messaging, the hold times, etc. etc. and it was arduous. A real wake-up call to be honest. Away went complacency and assumption and in came real credible ‘accounting’. That close attention to more details brought a sense of exoneration - we were back on track. BUT, I wasn’t ready to “pay $” to have it tested, yet! I waited for 2 years and we again applied.

"Our winning record is now a matter of history and it is a true testament to how effective the Award of Excellence is for, again, achieving those first three objectives. When staff, managers, and visitors come into our office(s) now they are in awe of the number of plaques! The staff has a greater sense of teamwork to personal accomplishment. Our customers have reason to be confident in their communications’ choice. Our operators, managers, supervisors and support staff have earned and deserve the recognition of a job well done.” Sandi Bidewell

What I have come to learn from this is how it’s not about how much or how bad you fail, it’s about what you do after. How quickly you learn and adapt. Being a part of CAM-X has given our organization a real opportunity to see what others do, how they succeed. Without this it makes navigating economic downturns difficult. As we are currently in one and quite possibly seeing it get worse with Alberta’s current situation.

I see real change on the horizon, With the minimum wage at $15.00, changes in the way people are communicating (text more than calling), company’s can now offer automatic answering through there phone systems. To only name a few, these changes can really cut into our businesses. Adapting our services to fit the needs of today's clients is a must.

We learn from other members and I urge all of you to do the same, make plans to come to this year's convention, learn, make friends and help prepare your organization for the foreseeable future.

Looking forward to seeing you all there! Never been to Kingston, It looks fabulous!!

Your President, Garrett Bidewell.

President's Message

Membership Development Committee Report

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Garrett Bidewell

Leslie Wilson

Respectfully submitted by Leslie Wilson & Garrett Bidewell

The tables are turned this month for our member spotlight, instead of asking for information, we have the privilege of learning about Gary Blair with i24, humble beginnings of typing invoices and washing floors in his youth.


Hello Boost and CAM-X. I am pleased to say that with changes in the board and new members, I have the honor of Co-Chairing Membership Development with Garrett Bidewell. I am Leslie Wilson in Wetaskiwin, Alberta and I look forward to getting to know more of you over the next while. Please, when you see an email from me requesting answers to a few simple questions, don’t be so quick to delete it. I just want to get to know you better and let everyone else in CAM-X get to know more about a friend.


Anyone interested in being our next Member Spotlight, please be in touch directly or .  Keep in mind, the Spotlight is for owners, senior management, the operations team at any level, sales staff, programmers, supervisors or agents.



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Convention Committee


Brad French


Convention 2020 Kingston

Respectfully submitted by Brad French, Convention Chair


I am really excited to be hosting the 2020 convention in Kingston, Ontario.


Kingston is located where the St. Lawrence River and Rideau Canal meet Lake Ontario in the heart of the thousand islands.  Not only do we already have a great start to convention topics and speakers, but we also have some great events planned including a dinner cruise through the 1000 Islands, tours through Historic Kingston and of course a site tour of my new office.


I would like to thank my convention committee, Gary Blair, Gary Pudles, Steve Newell, Desiree Bombenon, Dana Lloyd and of course Linda Osip.  I am super excited to be working with this incredible group this year.


COACH U Leadership training will be held in conjunction with Convention again this year.  It starts on September 29 through 30.  The 2020 convention will be from September 30th to October 2nd.  Mark your calendars as this is one convention you will not want to miss!

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CAM-X News
Two Grey Suits

Two Grey Suits 

Facebook Mistakes - The Career Killers

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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.


Facebook is arguably the most popular social networking site out there, with literally in the  billions of users now. And while the site is known for the casual social aspect, many users also use it as a professional networking tool. With that kind of reach, Facebook can be a valuable tool for connecting to former and current colleagues, clients and potential employers.


In fact, surveys suggest that approximately 70% of employers are using Facebook to screen potential employees – even more than those who check LinkedIn, a strictly professional social networking site. In this seemingly newer era of authenticity, it seems we perhaps have gone too far without realizing who is capable of seeing our social media persona. What you say and how you act does matter, make no mistake! Don't make these Facebook mistakes – they might cost you a great opportunity.


Progressive companies are implementing policy guidelines of what is appropriate to say in regards to your employer via social media. Be careful, you may be surprised about how sensitive your employer is with what you even already have posted on your Facebook account. Here's a sampling:


1.  Inappropriate Pictures

Prospective employers or clients don't want to see pictures of you chugging a bottle of alcohol or dressed up for a night at the bar. What you see as perhaps innocent pictures of your personal life will likely not help to support the persona you want to present in your professional life.


2. Complaining About Your Current Job

It could be a full note about how much you hate your office, or how incompetent your boss is, or it could be as innocent as a status update about how your coworker always shows up late. While many complain about work at times, doing so in a public forum where it can be found by others is not the best career move. Though it may seem innocent, it's not the kind of impression that sits well with a new employer or boss.


3. Posting Conflicting Information to Your Resume

If you say on your resume that your degree is from McMaster, but your Facebook profile says you went to U of T, you're likely to be immediately cut from the interview list. Even if the conflict doesn't leave you looking better on your resume, disparities will make you look at worst like a liar, and at best careless, and certainly not authentic! 


4. Statuses You Wouldn't Want Your Boss to See

Everyone should know to avoid statuses like "Ian plans to call in sick tomorrow so he can go to two interviews on Wednesday." But you should also be aware of seemingly harmless statuses like "Sarah is watching the gold medal hockey game online at her desk". Statuses that imply you are unreliable, deceitful, and basically anything that doesn't make you look as professional as you'd like, can seriously undermine your chances at landing that new job.


5. Not Understanding Your Security Settings

The security settings on Facebook have come a long way since the site started. It is now possible to customize lists of friends and decide what each list can and cannot see. However, many people do not fully understand these settings, or don't bother to check who has access to what. If you are going to use Facebook professionally, and even if you aren't, make sure you take the time to go through your privacy options. At the very least, your profile should be set so that people who are not your friend cannot see any of your pictures or information. 


6. Losing By Association

You can't control what your friends post to your profile (although you can remove it once you see it), nor what they post to their own profiles or to those of mutual friends. If a potential client or employer sees those Friday night pictures your friend has tagged you in where he is falling down drunk, it reflects poorly on you, even if the picture of you is completely innocent. It's unfortunate, but we do judge others by the company they keep, at least to some extent. Take a look at everything connected to your profile, and keep an eye out for anything you wouldn't want to show your mother.


Facebook Can Help You Get Hired - Or Fired


The best advice is to lock down your personal profile so that only friends you approve can see anything on that profile. Then, create a second, public profile on Facebook purely for professional use. This profile functions like an online resume, and should only contain information you'd be comfortable telling your potential employer face to face. Having a social networking profile is a good thing – it presents you as technologically and professionally savvy. Just make sure your profile is helping to present your best side.



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  • 24/7 HR Hot Line

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.

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



Respectfully submitted by Linda Osip

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


Future topics:

  • Mental Health Series

  • Agent Series – Front Line Staff Issues:

  • How to boost critical thinking skills in agents

  • Group cause analysis

COACH U Leadership Training

September 29 - 30, 2020

Kingston, ON

Details to follow 

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 Show your staff they are worthy: 

CSR and Supervisor Certification

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Awards Update - in case you missed the Annual General Meeting in Edmonton, AB

CAM-X AGM 2019 Awards Report

Respectfully Submitted by Gary Blair, Committee Chair


2019 earmarked an incredible milestone for CAM-X – the 30th anniversary of the AOE program!


The AOE program was pretty simple when first launched back in 1987.  Indeed, most CAM-X members were still operating cord boards at the time the AOE came into existence and the few operating computerized platforms were only able to offer slightly less rudimentary service.   Of course, both the program and the industry have evolved massively since.  That said, regardless of what equipment was used over the years or the increased complexity of client applications and IT/programming needs, bottom line, the AOE programs have consistently helped us keep our eye on the prize – the caller experience!  According to our members, thirty years and millions of calls later, the AOE programs continue to evolve and to be a driving force and goal post for professional call management.  

In this milestone year, the Awards Committee renewed it’s a commitment to remaining relevant.  We created a focus group and polled members, both large and small and from coast to coast.  Our goal was simple.  To uncover what, if anything, excellence looked like to our members in 2019, and if need be, tweak or modernize based on what is now considered best practices in conducting business by phone. 

Not surprisingly, the feedback was universally consistent and very positive.   More surprisingly, we discovered that there were significant gaps in the understanding of some fairly key elements of the program by several members of long-standing.


So, as much as any suggestions for improvement, the committee determined we could best help program participants through educational touchpoints.  In this light, we’re now planning the creation of a series of “Award Updates”, tips and tricks if you want, for the list serve, to ensure that members know all that they need to in order to achieve maximum benefit out of participation. 


On another note, the new AOE Plus award, which grades the outbound or “delivery” side of calls, has now wrapped up a second program.  It continues to be a great success to date and has received a lot of positive feedback.  As a new program, we also learned a few more lessons on how to make it that much better.  One of those lessons was that a new awards program needs a new trophy and that starts now!  Winners of the CAM-X AOE PLUS will, therefore, receive a completely different award.  This now means you have the opportunity to receive an AOE plaque, an AOD award, and an AOE PLUS award should you choose to participate in all three programs!  We’re calling it the CAM-X Trifecta! 


Last but not least, 2019 saw an even higher achievement of awards among participating centers, year over year, and we are very happy to celebrate this news in our 30th anniversary year.  It only seems apropos! 


As a 2018-19 committee chair I want to give a big shout out to the amazing Awards Committee members who made all of this possible for you:  Deborah Anders, Maria Iglesias, Gloria Tonne, Trish McMaster, and Linda Osip.  Who could ask for a better team!  Thank you, ladies!   

Pre Employment Testing Demo Available

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Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight

Gary Blair

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Member Spotlight – Gary Blair of i24 Call Management Solutions

Q.  When did you join i24 Call Management Solutions and what brought you into the call center industry?

I24 was started by my grandmother and my parents, all of whom collectively plotted to, err, brought me into the business.  😊  It seems hard to wrap my head around the number these days but that was 42 years ago, in 1977.  Technically speaking it’s actually 50 years ago since my parents had no qualms about putting me to work after school and on weekends (unpaid) washing floors, typing (yes, typing) invoices, filing paperwork and just about anything else they thought useful in my career path development. 😊  So, the 42 years actually marks my full-time career in the industry.


Q.  Can you tell us a little more about the evolution of your career path with i24 Call Management Solutions?

I can honestly say that I have done it all.  As you saw from my previous answer and contrary to popular belief, I didn’t start at the top.  I didn’t even start at the bottom; it was more whatever is actually below that!  My dad’s philosophy was you needed to do every job in a company in order to thoroughly understand and manage it properly.  So, over the years I progressed through stints in collections, billing, operations, programming, IT, sales, marketing, human resources and now, senior management.  In hindsight, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but it certainly helps one develop a very large and oftentimes strategic overview.


Q.  What was your first CAM-X experience?

I don’t clearly recall my actual first CAM-X experience but, being a kid and really green around the gills, I do remember being hyper intimidated by all these older, smarter and louder people in the room.  It could have been that that first experience was a conference or perhaps conference was my second, but in any regard, it was early on when I met one man who became an ally and mentor, even though we were pretty fierce competitors at the time.  That man was George Leebosh, a true gentleman and someone who worked tirelessly on behalf of both TAS Pagette and the industry at large.  George went on to be inducted into the CAM-X Hall of Fame and it is one of my fondest memories to have presided over that induction.  TAS Pagette by the way eventually would pass through a number of owner’s hands and name changes, the current owners being Stericyle. 


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

I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  This industry of ours has to be one of the most unique in the business world.  The sharing and caring between members, not to mention some of the great friendships and partnerships formed, is quite unlike any other.  At least it is from what I can garner when speaking to people in other industries when I talk about the TAS/Call Center world.  Safe to say that i24 would never be the company it is today were it not for all that we’ve gained from our membership of over 47 years.  My dad knew intuitively when he opened the business that joining the industry association would be a good move and boy, was he ever right to join this one.  I’ve sat on the board of directors on six separate terms, serving with some amazing people and under some amazing Presidents.  I was President myself during 2009-2010 and have been active on more committees than I can count.  I’ve learned and shared and taught and learned some more.  Suffice it to say that the line between i24 and CAM-X is a very blurred one, and blurry in the very best sense of the word!


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

Nothing at all is the same about it!  We started out as Alert Answering Service Ltd.  Then we changed our name to Tele-Page when we entered the paging business, dropping it for Image24 as paging was dying and then a little over three years ago rebranded to i24 Call Management Solutions as a stand-alone TAS/Call Center operation.  In the last dozen years, we changed our name, twice, our switch, our look, our website, our offices, a couple of staff members and last but certainly not the least, our culture!  These days we put as much emphasis on our own quality of work-life as we do on any other measurement of success!  We have fun, mostly, and mostly intentionally.  Life is short, success is sweet, and who knew that success could also be so much fun!      


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

We use Amtelco’s Infinity platform and have for eleven years.  Being located in Montreal, the 2nd largest French-speaking city in the world after Paris, France, in addition to our direct customers, we have many call centers as customers as well, for their French language needs.  At the time we migrated to Infinity most of them were already using Amtelco switches, so it made life just that much easier.  Our PEG group had a similar dynamic so moving to Infinity allowed us to compare apples to apples, or as we say pommes avec des pommes.  

We are indeed a member of NAEO and have been from day one when we made our Amtelco purchase.  NAEO is a wonderful group of movers and shakers and as is the case with CAM-X, a very sharing group as well.  Indeed, the strength of this industry is in large part due to the strength of all of the industry groups.


Q.  Tell us a little personal background about you, your family and your hobbies or interests.

I have too many interests and hobbies to enumerate here but my biggest passion is art.  Lucky for me I share it with my husband of 28 years, Earl.  Together we run a not-for-profit charity called the Art for Healing Foundation.  We started it seventeen years ago following the death of a good friend who died in hospital at the time.  As art collectors, we both felt that the hospital environment he passed away in left much to be desired in terms of a “healing” environment and so out of that sad chapter, the foundation was born.  Seventeen years after its inception, we have now hung some 12,500 works of art in 86 hospitals and wellness facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and two years ago in Paris, France, our first foray outside of Canada.  If you’re interested in knowing more about the foundation or to see some of our projects, you can visit us online at

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