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Episode 15: The Ted Rogers Management Conference

Ted Rogers Management Conference Sign

In this episode, two student leaders discuss organizing the annual Ted Rogers Management Conference. 

The conference, known as TRMC, is a three-day conference that welcomes 200 student delegates to Toronto from across North America. Students participate in business forums, case competitions and networking events. 

The Ted Rogers Management Conference, which is now in its 11th year, is the largest student-led undergraduate business conference in North America.

Vinarm Gupta, Chair of the Conference and Alyssa Twomey, Vice President of Corporate Relations, talk about the TRMC and the challenges and benefits of running an all-student organized three-day conference.

Podcast Transcript: Episode 15 – The Ted Rogers Management Conference

Nadine Habib: From the corner of Bay and Dundas in downtown Toronto, this is Like Nobody's Business, a podcast of thought leadership and business innovation. I'm your host, Nadine Habib. On today's episode, we speak to two student leaders who are organizing the annual Ted Rogers Management Conference. The conference, known as TRMC, is a three-day conference that welcomes 200 student delegates to Toronto from across North America. Students participate in business forums, case competitions, and networking events. The Ted Rogers Management Conference, which is now in its 11th year, is the largest student led undergraduate business conference in North America. Vinarm Gupta, chair of the conference, and Alyssa Twomey, vice president of corporate relations, joined me to talk about TRMC and the challenges and benefits of running an all student organized three day event.
Nadine Habib: Alright. Hi guys. Thank you for being on the show today.
Alyssa Twomey: Thank you for having us.
Vinarm Gupta: Thank you for having us.
Nadine Habib: So we are in the 11th year of the Ted Rogers Management Conference. What have the last 10 years been like? What are you guys looking forward to for this year and kind of beyond?
Alyssa Twomey: I think the last 10 years have been years of growth for the Ted Rogers Management Conference. It is ... Obviously we have not been here for the past 10 years, but looking at what the teams have done in the past versus what we are doing today, it has been a transition period of just rapid growth. This year, we have increased the amount of delegates and we're just continuing growing our conference and we hope to just continue to do that in the future and set future teams up for success.
Vinarm Gupta: I couldn't agree more with Alyssa there. Just to add onto that, I'd say it's seeing the formation of passion grow. I think for our students here at Ryerson, we really pride ourselves on our Ted Rogers School of Management. And this conference just embodies that and the legacy that Ted Rogers had himself. It's showcased in our students. So this tribute that we give to him annually is just the passion and love that we have for what he's done for us. And I think year in and year out, it just keeps growing for the betterment. So I think that's what we're ...
Nadine Habib: Wow. And that was going to be my next question, is how is the legacy of Ted Rogers kind of represented in this conference?
Vinarm Gupta: For me, in that sense, I think it's the innovation side. I think we're very, when it comes to planning the Ted Roger Management Conference, we went into it in early October and we were just like, "Let's come up with ideas." It was a free moment of just coming up with the craziest ideas and we were sitting in a board room and just trying to figure out how we can make this next decade better. And Ted Rogers himself was such a chameleon with his way of mindset in business that we came up with some crazy ideas just based on how amazing his business mindset was. So I think with the Ted Rogers Management Conference, it's the vision, the passion, and it's also the vibe within the conference that makes it such a great legacy event.
Alyssa Twomey: Mm-hmm (affirmative). No, I definitely agree. And the slogan of Ted Rogers is "the best is yet to come" and we use that so much in our marketing and our teams says it all the time because we just continue to grow as a team and grow this conference into something great. So like Vinarm said, we sat in that board room. We came up with these ideas that would be kind of off the wall, but the legacy that Ted Rogers left for us leaves us inspired to go big. And do more.
Nadine Habib: What kind of ideas would that be?
Alyssa Twomey: Yeah. Well, thinking of who our sponsors could be and who our speakers could be, who our closing keynote can be, who we could bring in to inspire our students and interact with our student delegates. There were some crazy ones that, but we believe that we could do it because the spirit of Ted Rogers really lives in all of us.
Nadine Habib: Yeah.
Vinarm Gupta: It truly does.
Nadine Habib: I know you guys had Steve Wozniak last year.
Alyssa Twomey: We did.
Nadine Habib: So that's a pretty big get. Who are you guys most excited for this year?
Vinarm Gupta: I think for myself personally, it's our closing keynote, Prem Watsa. I'm very excited to hear his story of how he came to the country. Just like my parents, they were immigrants as well, and he came here as an immigrant and-
Nadine Habib: For the people who don't know, who's Prem Watsa?
Vinarm Gupta: So Prem Watsa is the chairman and CEO of Fairfax Holdings and just his story, at the end of the day, is so passionate, how he started from nothing to becoming a multi-billionaire. It's insane and it's motivating for immigrants like myself and I'm excited to listen to him.
Nadine Habib: Oh great. How about you, Alyssa?
Alyssa Twomey: For me, I'm very excited for our business and entertainment panelist, Michael Friisdahl, the CEO of MLSE. I'm very excited to get his take on the industry, especially after the Raptors big when and just see where he sees the next decade going and reflecting on his successes of the past year.
Nadine Habib: Oh, that was fantastic. That's going to be really exciting.
Alyssa Twomey: Very exciting.
Nadine Habib: We The North!
Alyssa Twomey: Yeah.
Nadine Habib: Yeah. So you guys are students obviously, and you run this organization, you run the entire conference while you're managing your studies and managing part-time jobs. I mean, how does that affect your day to day and what's that like?
Alyssa Twomey: I think that it takes a lot of balancing. Most of our team has part-time jobs. We're full-time students. We are a part of other student groups and is something that takes a little bit of practice. It takes a lot of Google Calendars.
Vinarm Gupta: She stole my answer.
Alyssa Twomey: So many Google Calendars, but I think it ... ultimately, I know it sounds crazy, but adding more to your plate kind of helps you balance your day better. You're able to prioritize your time better. The time that you had spent maybe not being as productive is now spent doing something productive for the conference or doing your homework or stuff like that.
Vinarm Gupta: I think, as I like to say, my parents always joke to me, they're like, "You're basically part-time living at home and full-time doing student group work."
Nadine Habib: It looks good on a resume.
Vinarm Gupta: I've been trying to battle that for like the last four years, but as Alyssa stole my answer, but Google Calendar has been a big help organizing your time. But for me, I think it's all about the commitment. You know when you sign up for a student group or any part-time work or even school, you're committing to something and you know you want to give your 100% effort. So it comes on the question how are you able to balance your life in general? So for me it's like I don't like to put too much on my plate, but I also want to be involved. So I only look at one student group that I want to stay in, and the past three years, I've been on DECA Ryerson and just kept it to that. Then had the opportunity to go to a Ted Roger Management Conference. I'm like blurting right now. But for me, it's all about just putting things that I really want to find passion in and I want to give my 100% in and then dedicate my time to that. And then a lot of Google Calendar as Alyssa said.
Alyssa Twomey: Right.
Vinarm Gupta: That's like your best friend in university.
Nadine Habib: So this conference is one of the largest in North America and it's completely student run, which is quite amazing. How do you guys feel like functioning amongst other students and kind of having the freedom and the liberty to kind of take this conference where you want to go…or where you want it to go, how does that impact how you work, I guess?
Alyssa Twomey: I think it's really empowering. Being able to be a student, but do something that you would do as a full-time job. I keep telling people when I tried to describe my role, I say it's a full-time job I don't get paid for, but it's so fulfilling that it's something that I would never give up. So I think it's very empowering. It allows us to practice our skills outside the classroom, put something on our resume and put together something that all of us have dreamt and worked so hard towards.
Vinarm Gupta: That's a wonderful answer. Well, I'd like to add to that as well. I'd say it's two things. It's motivating and it's honouring. So the reason I say motivating, it's seeing students come up to me at school and being like, "I'm very excited to come to the conference. I'm excited for what you have in store for us." It motivates us to do better as a team to provide the best experience for our delegates year in, year out.
Vinarm Gupta: I've been in their shoes like the last three years. I used to look forward to what the chair could do or what the team could do. And now getting to be in that role is an honour of its own. Getting to represent a legacy like Ted Rogers and being a small part of his legacy and having that in the history books is an honour of its own, being a student leader and in a way like the face of this conference. I've just had a great privilege and I've been honoured for the last year to be a part of this amazing team, this amazing journey, and it goes down as one of the greatest experiences for my university career.
Nadine Habib: Wow. Well, let's leave it at that. Thank you guys so much for coming on the show and good luck. I'm excited to see all the delegates.
Vinarm Gupta: Thank you so much.
Alyssa Twomey: Thank you so much.
Nadine Habib: Like Nobody's Business is a presentation of Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management. For more information about the Ted Rogers School, visit ryerson.ca/tedrogersschool. Thank you for listening.