It’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to connect with all of you. The last year has been a challenging time for everyone. At the beginning of 2020, I wrote an article for this newsletter about how Odlum Brown had nearly 100 years of experience and learning under our belt. Well, since then, I can assure you it feels like we’ve gained another hundred!
However, in spite of the challenges we have all faced over the last year, it does feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. I don’t know about you, but what I am really looking forward to is seeing people again. I can’t wait to see all of my colleagues and our clients again in person and feel the buzz of activity in the office. That “buzz” in both my professional and personal lives is what I’ve missed the most.
When I look back on this past year, there have certainly been some dark times. But there has been a lot of hope, too. Collectively, as a community, we came together to be good neighbours and support one another. We recognized the commitment and courage of our health care workers and other frontline heroes. We saw what innovation and industry can accomplish when people work together toward a common goal.
At Odlum Brown, we also had a lot of bright spots. I have been immensely proud of our team’s creativity and resilience, and how we’ve taken care of each other and our clients.
We continued to support our communities throughout the year, remaining committed to our community partners across BC and nationally, and supporting their many reimagined events and initiatives. If you follow us on social media, you will have seen the many wonderful organizations we sponsor and support in so many different ways.
During the holidays, we continued safely with our annual Giving Tree initiative to deliver gifts and food hampers to families at local non-profit child care centres. In lieu of our annual holiday cocktail party, we made a special donation to local food banks. We even held our children’s holiday card competition, a favourite among the youngest members of the Odlum Brown family. To share our holiday spirit, we then created our first ever holiday video, showcasing for clients and friends how we kept our traditions alive.
In February, we reimagined another tradition, our Annual Address. This virtual event was attended by close to 2,000 of our clients and friends, with another 3,000 of you watching the presentations later on our website. Many of you told us that you actually felt closer to our firm through this virtual platform, or that this was the first time you were able to attend the Annual Address because it was more convenient being online. We look forward to carrying some of these lessons into future years.
In other milestones, our Vancouver office gained a brand new floor; we prepared all of our workplaces for the safe return of team members; and we launched several innovative technology solutions as part of our continual focus on enhancing the service we provide.
In short, we kept moving forward.
We also once again achieved recognition both as one of Canada’s Most AdmiredTM Corporate Cultures and one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies – our 22nd consecutive year as a Best Managed company. These awards are always meaningful, but they felt a little extra special this year. The recognition of our culture during a year when our team was physically separated proved to us that our treasured Odlum Brown culture lives beyond the four walls of our offices. Being named one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the 22nd year in 2021 was an acknowledgement that the way we run our business is not only effective in good times, but is also well-designed to see us through challenging ones.
The biggest highlight, though, has been how we’ve continued to strengthen our relationships with clients – those we’ve served for a long time, and those who just joined us this year. Many of our advisors have shared with me that conversations with clients have often been more personal than business over the past year. You want to know how we’re doing, and we want to know how you’re doing. That’s something special. More than anything, the trust you have placed in Odlum Brown amid a time of tremendous uncertainty means the world to us.
I want to end by sharing some words from author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek. I think they capture the heart of what we need to do – not just right now, but always: “Take care of yourself. Take care of each other.”
Thank you, be well, and all of us at Odlum Brown look forward to seeing you all soon!