President’s Message

Hello and Welcome Members and Visitors!

As I look back on a busy 2014 and think about the past three years as a member of this CATAP Board I’m very proud of the accomplishments we’ve made. Growing an association from a collective desire to stop horrible things from occurring is both rewarding and tiring. It is gratifying to know we are making a difference by providing training and knowledge sharing opportunities. It is also a pleasure and honour to work with the wonderful people in our field.

Four years ago all of our volunteer energy was going into organizing our annual workshop and conferences. As a not-for-profit society we hosted these events to educate and not as a business. We had no cushion for error and no way of surviving intact should we have one. For people in the risk mitigation business, we were not always the best at applying a similar theme to our association. As a founding board member I was full party to the process where we took risks every year, worked really hard and hoped it would work out. It did, and I’m thrilled to say that in the last three years we have doubled the number of attendees at our annual event and managed to put a financial reserve away as a safety net. Each year our annual event has improved as we have listened to your feedback and learned from our own experiences. Our 2014 conference in Whistler was outstanding by all accounts, but I would like to mention one presentation in particular. This year we took a risk and decided to provide our attendees with a different perspective. We featured Sean, a PTSD survivor, our opening presenter, and the most powerful, emotional and thought provoking presentation I have ever watched. Sean personalized the struggle with great respect, honour and an amazing amount of honesty allowing us all a glimpse behind the curtain of people struggling with this diagnosis. His presentation helped all of us to see that there can be an equally tragic story on the other side of the scenario.

A note of thanks here to Michelle Doyle and Darren Balsom, our 2014 Conference Co-Chairs, for all of the hard work they did to make this event such a success. While it takes a team to pull this together I know from experience that the co-chair role is extremely challenging and stressful.  

In the last three years we have also started to take steps beyond hosting an annual conference. Two years ago in Banff we held a meeting with a robust discussion on accreditation and certification. While this process has advanced at a slower pace than anticipated we are working to bring a national standard accreditation to our industry in 2015.

This fall we created a Special Interest Group (SIG) focusing on Post-Secondary Institutes (PSI). This group was organically driven from our membership during our 2013 conference in Banff where the large number of PSI attendees asked if we would facilitate an exclusive networking opportunity. From that discussion there was an interest to form a working committee that would make recommendations to the CATAP Board for training and other ideas that would support their collective. During our 2014 conference we added an optional half-day at the end focused on sexual violence in post-secondary institutes. The session was well attended and well received.  A request for nominations to participate on the working committee went out in 2014 and it was gratifying to see so many willing to participate, my thanks to all. We selected a small group, Robyn Begin (University of Guelph), Barry Cochrane (SAIT), Kris Fowler (University of Alberta), Laura MacDonald (Simon Fraser University), and Lisa Morine (McMaster University), and held our first meeting during the 2014 conference. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Kelly Watt for all of the energy and passion she put into this initiative.

Creating a SIG is a new concept for us and I view this one as a pilot project. Should it be successful, which I’m confident it will be, then we may look at creating others.

I’m extremely pleased to tell you that the four worldwide threat assessment associations, ATAP, Asia Pacific Association of Threat Assessment Professionals (APATAP), Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals (AETAP) and CATAP are collaborating fully on many fronts. We’ve talked about accreditation (we’re all on the path), the services we provide, recognizing each other’s memberships for reduced conference rates and participating on joint projects such as holding a combined international conference. In the fall of 2014 I presented with the other three presidents on Global Issues facing Workplace Violence during the ASIS Conference in Atlanta. It was the first time all four presidents had been together.

In 2015 we will be holding CATAP Board elections. An email will be sent out to all CATAP members shortly listing those who have stepped forward to run for various positions. We have had considerable interest, which speaks to the success of our association, and the influx of new members will be invigorating for the board and the association.

I would like to thank those members who are stepping away from the CATAP Board, but not CATAP. All have provided immeasurable volunteer hours over the years making our conferences and association successful. They are deeply invested in our association and so the decision to step away from a position on the board has not come easily.  All have been on the board for years, taking time away from families, work, studies and themselves. Included in this group are Keith Dormond, Elisabeth Willcox, Duncan Maxwell and Dr. Stephen Hart. Keith is our past-president and previous conference co-chair. Liz has served for two terms as vice president and has also been a conference co-chair. Duncan has worked hard behind the scenes with Michelle Doyle as your membership coordinator. As a founding board member Stephen has volunteered countless hours to the board and presenting year after year during our workshops and conferences. Stephen will be stepping off of the board and assuming a more focused role participating in committee work, such as accreditation/certification, so that we can gain the needed traction in these areas.

Lastly, attached is a link I’d like to share with you that Dr. Reid Meloy sent to me. I’m not endorsing the Sandy Hook Promise program; I just liked the video and especially the reaction of the parents to the final question.  It speaks loudly to why we do what we do and why the TAP associations exist. Protecting our children, and others, from acts of violence is not the exclusive domain of parents, family, friends, co-workers or other individuals; it is a shared responsibility. As part of that collective you have chosen to put yourself on the leading edge of threat assessment work to the benefit of everyone in society.