The Year of the Overcoming

2020 was a year marked by the rapid migration of CCBC’s services to the digital world, with innovation, full support to members and business maintenance in the current crisis

By Estela Cangerana

The year 2020 brought huge challenges to organizations all over the world, putting to the test the capacity of overcoming and innovation, resilience and agility of professionals and companies. CCBC was no different and, once again, the mission of bringing the two countries closer together has guided the transformation of activities to the digital world, creating networking opportunities and the exchange of experiences and business. More than ever, the constant search for excellence and the ability of anticipating demands helped the Chamber to maintain its engagement with its associates and even to close the year with an expansion in its reach of public.

“We always take the safe use of innovation and technology very carefully. We couldn’t do otherwise at such a critical moment,” says the president of CCBC, Paulo Perrotti, explaining that the constant investments made by the institution over the years in these areas have allowed for an agile migration. The structure previously implemented was crucial for the change to occur without disruption or damage to the services provided.

At the beginning of the pandemic, in a matter of days, at the same time that the entire team was moved to home office, the intense calendar of events and business meetings was adapted to the digital field. CCBC has continued to work with all the strength, each in their own workplace, wherever they were physically, offering the same standard of quality to the associates and the community,” he adds.

The work was concentrated in two main focuses. On the first, the management of human resources and the technological infrastructure for the change. The second focus was the development of actions capable of substituting physical interaction, but maintaining the proximity, networking, and encouragement to bilateral business.

At the center of everything, the people.

“We know that business is done by people and so they are our most vital point of attention. The concern with the physical and mental health of all our employees, which was already a constant, gained even more expressive contours during the pandemic”, reveals Cássia Regina Vanícola, Diretora Executiva de Operações (Operations Executive Director). “We encourage leaders to be close to their teams, making it clear that we understand the complexity of the moment. It’s important that each person on the team knows that he or she is in an organization that cares about them,” Cassia adds.

In addition to the performance of each manager, there were also several collective actions. Among those actions there are the monthly virtual cafes and series of trainings, such as cyber security, yoga classes and meditation.

At the same time, the information technology (IT) team worked intensively to ensure all the structural resources for CCBC’s remote operation. The digital transformation had already been happening for three years, because a virtual future was in sight, but the movement was radically accelerated. To enable a large volume of events, extra webinar licenses were acquired, for example.

Closer than ever

And these licenses were very necessary. The Chamber managed to make a significant increase in the number of meetings and in their reach. In 2020, up to November, there were almost 150 opportunities including meetings, institutional and committee events. If added to the CAM-CCBC data, this number rises to 350. In terms of audience, the virtual format has also provided a large increase in the number of participants. Without the limitation of seats, the online meetings of the commissions, for example, reached over 3,000 subscribers.

As it has always happened with the physical facilities of CCBC, the high quality of the “virtual facilities” generated about 30 cessions of space for members events. “We understand that our mission of promoting proximity between Brazil and Canada also includes providing all the support necessary for the success of our associates. There is a close relationship of partnership and we could not fail to support them in a scenario as complex as the year 2020”, explains Paulo de Castro Reis (Director of Institutional Relations).

He also highlights the unprecedented nature of two remarkably successful initiatives: the commemorative festivals of Dia do Canadá (Canada Day) and Semana da Pátria do Brasil (Homeland Week of Brazil). Both happened in a completely virtual way and attracted great repercussion. “We took a little bit of the culture and business exchange opportunities from Canada to the Brazilians and from Brazil to the Canadians,” he says.

In July, the first edition of the Canada Day CCBC Online Festival promoted 32 webinars, with 66 speakers, and made available an extensive complementary content, generating more than 4 thousand visits to the event website. In September, Brazilian Week CCBC Online Festival brought 25 webinars, with 71 speakers, and over 200 extra content, resulting in 5 thousand unique visitors to the site.

Looking ahead

Even with all the challenges of the present moment, the Chamber still remained attentive to the future needs. Throughout the year, a multidisciplinary group worked to adapt all contracts and processes to the requirements of Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados (LGPD) (General Data Protection Act), and this should revolutionize and bring greater transparency in relations between companies and clients. There were advances in CCBC’s compliance processes and in the last quarter an internal diversity committee was created to promote a more diverse and welcoming environment.