As my first year with the Association draws to a close I find myself reflecting on the many challenges and changes we’ve experienced. 2014 kicked off with bang with a number of regional meetings and training events such as the Melbourne Zoo twilight session picnic. This different style of regional meeting continued with wine tasting at the Fifth Element Bar & Cellar in Brisbane and a presentation on employment law from Baker & McKenzie lawyers in Sydney.
With over 15 different events this year and another 18 planned for 2015 the SSAA regional meetings offer something for everyone. By now all members should have received a 2015 calendar outlining the important Association dates for next year. We’ve not forgotten those who can’t make it to an event in person either, with a variety of free webinars run throughout 2014 to benefit members. With good subscription rates, we plan to run more webinars in 2015 on topics such as sales and online marketing.
One of the key events in 2014 was our 2014 Gold Coast Convention with over 350 people in attendance. A significant number of new members attended and were surprised by the openness displayed by many in the industry. The highlights included magician Vinh Giang and young entrepreneur Brad Smith (owner of Braaap Motorcycles), along with our Awards Night. With over 50 nominations for the re-vamped Awards for Excellence Program the night was a resounding success. Congratulations once again to all the winners!
Next year’s Owners and Managers Summit promises to live up to the high standards set by the 2014 Convention with the stunning location of Uluru and exciting speakers such as Bernard Salt, Craig Davies and Nigel Brennan already locked in. The SSAA have made sure that staff won’t miss out next year either with our brand new Staff in Storage Training and Development Retreat to be held in Melbourne CBD. This will be an intense two day event with sessions on sales, operations, legal, marketing as well as team building and software training.
This year has seen many new developments such as the SSAAInsider Blog which went live in August and has already become a fantastic resource for SSAA members and the general public. We have also been slowly working to update SSAA merchandise including new brochures for Personal and Corporate Storage (combining the old space calculator, better business through self storage and your guide to self storage brochures).
The Workplace Health and Safety Manual, Employment Handbook and Manual of Advice and Procedures including all Self Storage agreements are soon to be updated. A review of the Modern Awards is currently being undertaken by the SSAA’s new paralegal, Kate Ruhl, as part of this process. Results on the Inventory Survey have been collated and are being used to improve staff safety and make the sales inventory process less onerous.
With the sad passing of New Zealand legal counsel Rob Ferguson, a new firm Jackson and Russell was appointed to manage NZ legal enquiries with a free hotline service available to NZ members. Following a successful convention presentation by Jackson and Russell the firm will begin running legal training in 2015 for NZ members. Should Australian members have a query specific to HR they also have the option of consulting service members Workplace Legal, who are offering free 15 minute consultations.
2014 has seen the departure of Chairman of the Board Gary Vick and his replacement by Guy Wilson of Fort Knox Self Storage. Guy’s vacancy as large operator on the board was filled by Sally Steel from Guardian Self Storage while the election of regular members of the board resulted in Liz Davies (Self Storage Australia) replacing Shaun Bain (Keepsafe Self Storage). Many thanks go to our departing board member Shaun and departing Chairman Gary whose insight will be greatly missed.
This year also saw significant changes in regards to SSAA staff including the departure of CEO Dougal Hollis. However with a new Accounts Officer (Melinda Whyper) and Personal Assistant (Jeannette Jones) in addition to a new CEO in the form of long-time legal counsel Simone Hill, we believe the Association will continue to operate for the benefit of all members long into the future.
I personally look forward to continuing to meet and work with you into the future. I hope that you have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and a productive and exciting New Year. Thank you.