Roundtable Discussions

Develop lasting relationships with other leaders 

If you’re looking for a group that gives you feedback on some of the tough business issues you are facing and can speak from their own personal experience in similar business situations, then the International Trade Council Roundtable Program is for you.

This programme provides structured discussion groups of 10-13 business executives, CEO/owners, team leaders and management professionals. The same group of participants gather each month in a confidential setting to discuss issues affecting their businesses.

How it works

  • There are 10-12 business principals per group.
  • Groups are formed based on non-competitive participants, language, size of business and overall compatibility of members (as determined by the Council).
  • Groups convene once each month using phone and/or an online web meeting platform.
  • Participants are autonomous with respect to discussion topics, location, meeting time/day, direction and meeting agenda.
  • Meetings are conversational in nature, generally lasting about 90 minutes.
  • Each roundtable is assigned a professional facilitator, who is not allowed to solicit business from his/her assigned group. The Roundtable program is NOT a leads program.
  • Because of the sensitive nature of these discussions, all participants must sign a confidentiality agreement.

Enrolment

Enrolment in the Roundtable program is ongoing, with applications accepted and new groups forming throughout the year. Groups will have the opportunity to remix and/or form new groups every twelve months. The program is open to Council members in good standing, as well as members of Chambers and Business Associations who are ITC partners.

Applicants are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Top-level decision-maker for their business (i.e. President, CEO, General Manager, Plant Manager, etc.)
  • Willing to maintain strict confidentiality
  • Willing to commit to monthly group meetings
  • Willing to actively share and participate with other members
  • Willing to provide evaluation feedback when asked to do so

Groups currently seeking roundtable participants

The following new round-table groups are currently being established and are seeking new participants:

  • Accounting, Bookkeeping & Audit
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Agricultural Products
  • Engineering Services
  • Chemical & Related Manufacturing
  • Clothing & Textiles
  • Construction
  • Contract Manufacturing
  • Energy ,Gas & Oil
  • FMCG
  • Foodstuffs & Additives
  • Freight, Transport & Logistics
  • Information Technology
  • Legal – Corporate Governance
  • Legal – General
  • Legal – Intellectual Property
  • Marketing
  • Organic Products
  • Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Real Estate

If you are interested in joining any of these groups please submit your application online here.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I start?

We take online applications all year long, and we place participants on a rolling basis as we have enough local members in an area to participate. Those who are not placed in a session immediately are placed on a wait-list until we have enough participants to form a new group.

Can I join a roundtable of someone I know?

We work towards the best placement possible for the roundtables as well as all new participants. There are many factors that go into the placement of individuals into a roundtable, including selecting non-competing industries and recognising potential conflicts of interest or priority for someone who is already on the wait list.

Do I have to apply? How do I apply?

Yes, an application is required.  An online application must be filled out and submitted to us for processing and potential placement.

Is there any extra fee for this service?

No. There is no fee to participate in this program for Council members.

I am not a Council member - can I still participate?

This service is limited to Council members only. The only exception to this is businesses who are members of a Chamber of Commerce or business association who is a Council member. If you are not a member of either then you might consider joining the Council first.

Once accepted and placed, when do I meet with my roundtable?

Each roundtable sets their own meeting schedule for the same time and day of the month and members should reserve that time on his/her calendar for the 12-month session.

I am not sure I can plan my schedule an entire year out. Can I just go when I can make it?

It is imperative for members to make the commitment to be at their roundtable’s month meeting for maximum benefit of all. However, if needed, table members are allowed to miss no more than three meetings a year and not more than two in a row. Attendance is taken and turned in to the Council by each table facilitator, and if a pattern of absence is noticed, your continued participation in the program will be reviewed.

So, how does this work? Where and how do we meet?

The roundtable facilitator is the meeting host, and utilises the Council’s online meeting / web conference system to run the meeting, with the help of a Council staff member.  An agenda with the topic the host wants to discuss will have been provided prior to the meeting.

The roundtable facilitator, a respected and trained member of the group, will guide the organised discussion. They also take attendance and are the liaison to the Council for their respective roundtable.

The roundtable facilitator is your ‘go-to’ contact for your individual roundtable regarding the ongoing agenda and actions for the program, except placement. In most cases, Council staff members are not involved in the actual meetings themselves, except as a platform technical moderator / trainer when needed.

Is this a confidential programme?

Yes. All discussions and insights from your roundtable are not open for sharing or public consumption. To ensure everyone’s privacy and the integrity of the table, a Confidentiality Agreement is signed by each participant.

Can I use this opportunity to sell my products/services to business decision makers?

There is absolutely no selling allowed. While some participants may ultimately form bonds that lead to future business relationships or collaborations, roundtable members are strictly prohibited from pitching or selling of any kind.

I don’t have the title CEO. Does this mean I can’t join the roundtable program?

You must be a senior decision maker in your organisation—e.g. the owner, president, CEO, executive director, general manager, vice-president, marketing manager, finance manager, operations manager, sales manager etc.

I am self-employed - is this programme still suitable for me?

Certainly. As a self-employed individual / sole trader you have a completely different perspective that adds variety and provides unique knowledge to others. Because we have a combination of large and small businesses at each table, all views and experiences contribute to a great sounding board.

What happens if I change jobs, restructuring happens, or I move to another industry? Do I get to stay with my table?

We take each change on a case-by-case basis and evaluate it appropriately. If you are in transition, you are given a limited time to retain a similar title/position with a non-conflicting Council member to remain on the table. If not, then we re-evaluate your participation based on your new title and spaces available at other tables.

How long do people stay with these roundtables?

At the end of each 12-month session, participants in good standing with the Council will receive a renewal survey in which they outline preferences for continuing, moving to a new table, or ending their participation.

What if I don’t feel the roundtable is a good fit once I attend?

Meeting and getting to know the members of your table will take a little while and more than one meeting, so we hope you will try a few before deciding to change tables. We have found that new participants quickly acclimate to the group. However, on the occasion that a good connection is just not possible, you may contact the Council Program Coordinator to share your concerns and request a new table placement, based on availability.