It is too easy to become immersed in the busy daily upkeep and management of our various jobs. After all, that is what we are skilled at and what we are paid to do.

But there is an advantage in stepping away from our immediate responsibilities to get a wider view of what is happening in our industries. Explore key trends. Learn new perspectives. Uncover what will be happening down the road.

In my first week on the job, this new perspective came from meeting with industry experts—an important resource I continue to tap into regularly. My colleagues and I have also attended some eye-opening conferences and events over the past several months, beginning with our own Benefits & Pension Summit in April.

At the 2010 Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute Forum in Halifax in June, the sessions spread across the group benefits, pension and investment industries. One of my take-aways from the conference came from opening keynote speaker Frank McKenna, deputy chair of TD Financial Group. He spoke about the market meltdown and the current state of our domestic and international economies, in addition to the geopolitical threats (such as those in North Korea and Iran) that influence the world’s self-order.

It was both an interesting talk and an inspirational one. On the economy, McKenna said “the time has come for Canada to bring its financial model to the rest of the world.” He also declared that with proper reservation, Canada could easily be the biggest oil supplier in the world. Our overall quest, he explained, is to find “the balance between free enterprise and being a caring and sharing society,” with increased productivity further allowing us to share with those in need.

But it was his response to a query about the state of our healthcare system during the Q&A that left me thinking. Declaring our system to be “marvelous but not the best in the world…although it should be,” McKenna had some advice for those in power: “We need to look at other models in the world and be more open about our own.”

I believe this is a valuable lesson we can all apply to our jobs.

I look forward to attending the 2010 Association of Canadian Pension Management National Conference from September 14 to 17 in Whistler, B.C. Look for coverage on our website following the event. BC

Alison Wood is Editor of Benefits Canada.

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© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the September 2010 edition of BENEFITS CANADA magazine.