Carol Loughrey, FCA, the Comptroller of the Province of New Brunswick in 1991, was an active participant in FMI functions at the national level. Noting at the time that Fredericton was the only provincial capital without a chapter of the FMI, she encouraged that colleagues undertake efforts to establish a local chapter. The inaugural year for the FMI Fredericton chapter began the same year with activities coordinated under the leadership of Ken Fitzpatrick, CMA. Ken undertook to form an organizing committee of interested individuals who developed a strategy for a membership drive. Recognizing the value of providing a forum for public sector financial managers to meet, the committee aimed efforts at members of the federal, provincial and municipal civil services in the Fredericton area.
With the assistance of a $500 seed grant from FMI National, the membership campaign started in August of 1991. Carol Loughrey was guest speaker promoting the value of belonging to the FMI organization at an information session hosted in September. The first luncheon was planned for November with Hon. Alan Maher, the New Brunswick Minister of Finance, speaking. Thirty-three participants, plus the press were present for this inaugural event and the chapter was off and running, hosting breakfasts, luncheons, seminars, PD days and national Public Service Management Workshops (PSMWs) ever since. The annual presentation by the New Brunswick Minister of Finance has become a long standing tradition of the chapter and continues to be a popular event.
The first Board of Directors, comprised of the original organizing committee, was Ken Fitzpatrick, CMA – President, Bruce Jamieson, CMA – Vice-President, Mary McDonald, CMA – Treasurer and Raymond McLaughlin – Secretary. In its first year FMI Fredericton signed 53 members, showing tremendous growth in each of the next ten years to a high of 164 members in 2001, its 10th anniversary – a growth of 309%. Although memberships have fluctuated in the ten years following, the chapter still boasts 113 members in 2011. Contagious enthusiasm and inspiring dedication resulted in being formally recognized in 1997 by FMI National for its “make it happen” people. The chapter has now become the professional organization of choice for government financial, management, technology, and human resource employees in Fredericton, and has produced two FMI Canada Presidents (Bruce Jamieson, CMA and Peter Wolters, CA) as well as several other members of the national Board of Directors over the years.
The FMI Fredericton chapter is solidly built by its members, and has always viewed its members as the most important element of the organization. 1998-99 saw the beginning of the chapter’s commitment to a bursary program with the University of New Brunswick, providing a $500 cash award to deserving students. Amended in 2004 to the FMI Fredericton Scholarship, this scholarship continues to be granted each year to the son or daughter of an FMI member enrolled in any university in pursuing their educational goals. Over the years, member appreciation subsidies have also been granted for individuals to attend the national PD Week or PSMW events.
We must be willing to evolve with the traditional financial management community size, composition and roles to ensure the promotion of sound financial management and administrative practices of the public sector. The Board does this through general meetings, luncheons and seminars that provide quality education and professional development for our members. FMI Fredericton program activities are the focal point for most chapter functions in delivering a diverse and interesting selection of topics. Focus is on delivery of relevant, timely and quality services to members, especially taking into account the constant changes in the world of public sector finance. Events such as speaker luncheons and breakfast and PD days, as well as professional development programs of related professional organizations, have provided a forum for members to exchange ideas and learn what is happening within the financial community.
The Fredericton chapter has also been proud to host three national events, including:
In its planning for future growth, the chapter bears in mind the need to ensure that we “market” ourselves. Are we getting exposure to all our potential members? Are we promoting our program in a professional manner that is attractive to our members? Are we offering a program that is true to our goal of “Sharing Best Practices in Sharing Public Sector Resources”? These considerations are important for developing opportunities for increasing the membership of the chapter as well as establishing relationships with other related professional organizations to ensure FMI Fredericton continues to thrive.
It is only through the volunteer efforts of the Board of Directors and other volunteers, as well as ongoing member participation and support over the past twenty years, that chapter growth has been possible. The FMI Fredericton chapter thanks all our members, present and past, for your individual contributions to the prosperity of our chapter.