Dear C2 community,
One year ago today, I took over the reins of C2 International and C2 Montréal.
At the time, C2 Founder Jean-François Bouchard assured me it would be a “smooth transition,” since most of the team was on vacation. As you can probably imagine, it was quite the opposite.
Within days, our revenues plummeted and we had to make some extremely difficult decisions in a very short amount of time — decisions that would impact our colleagues and their families. Without a doubt, it was one of the toughest moments in my career.
The subsequent months led to countless challenges, attempts and failures but also victories — both big and small. Our teams excelled and produced large-scale projects of which I am extremely proud.
So I’d like to use this occasion to give you an account of my first year at C2.
C2 Online: the magic goes digital
At a moment’s notice, C2 morphed into something that kept our community active and engaged.
We worked tirelessly to produce a 2020 edition in a 100% digital format that featured innovative and captivating content. Our programming lineup included speakers like Jane Fonda, Malcolm Gladwell, Patrisse Cullors and Gary “GaryVee” Vaynerchuk.
Thousands of participants from over 35 countries attended talks and activities, consuming an average of 9 hours of content per person. Our digital platform registered more than 240,000 interactions, demonstrating that we succeeded in our mission to keep our entire C2 community connected across more than 45 countries.
C2 International: bringing communities together
Building on our expertise with C2 Montréal, we transformed C2 International into a major player in the events industry, revolutionizing the ways our partners convene, connect and energize their communities.
For example, we organized the GPAI – Montreal Summit for the Global Partnership on Artificial intelligence, an international, multi-stakeholder initiative that is committed to the responsible development and application of artificial intelligence. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron were among the speakers.
Another magnificent project was our collaboration with The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) and the Gairdner Foundation at the end of 2020, where we rolled out a two-day virtual symposium bringing together world leaders in Open Science.
Achieving such remarkable feats in less than a year makes me extremely proud.
A curious, well-connected community
If I am able to write a positive year-end summary despite all the challenges that we encountered, it is without a doubt thanks to you, dear members of the C2 community.
My team and I watched you participate, listen, read, network, share, reflect and respond. You showed up so much, in fact, that there are now more than 100,000 of you following C2 on social media. Your presence, digital and otherwise, inspires us every day to offer you events and content that meet your expectations.
In addition, I feel it is so important to acknowledge and celebrate the invaluable support of our many public and private partners. Thanks to them, we’ve been able to experiment, re-imagine and design rich and relevant content throughout the year.
My leadership style is deeply collaborative and luckily, C2 Montréal’s Board of Directors — led by Claudine Blondin Bronfman — and the entire C2 team brought unrivalled passion, creativity and resilience to the table. Their ability to pivot and innovate has been essential to our survival. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to face all these challenges by their side.
The best is to come
2020 put a brutal, instantaneous stop to business as usual. It is now time to start a long journey in front of us. The challenges remain enormous but there is no shortage of exciting projects on the horizon. C2 International has already signed nearly 15 new partnerships (local and global) that you’ll see in action in the coming months.
Whether it’s the IBM Journey to A.I. or the Movin’On Summit 2021 – The World Summit on Sustainable Mobility with Michelin that will be produced via studios in Montréal, Paris and Singapore, the C2 team is putting all its creativity and expertise to work to bring communities together around relevant and inspiring events.
In addition, the team is currently planning a special 10th anniversary edition of C2 Montréal that will be sure to leave a lasting impression. We are excited to share the details about this magnificent project with you shortly.
For all these reasons, I’m thrilled to embark on my second year as CEO with optimism, enthusiasm and determination. It is also why I’m confident that C2 will continue to establish itself both at home and abroad.
C2 is a creative force, proudly based in Montréal, that will continue to keep thriving and winning.