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Post Time with Dan Gall

Post Time

As we prepare to close the book to 2016, I thought it would be appropriate to review my experiences thus far in the role of President and CEO of Standardbred Canada.

Making the transition from working at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation to leading Standardbred Canada has been challenging, interesting, educational and most of all extremely rewarding.

My new career in the horse racing industry has allowed me to meet some incredible people whom I otherwise would never have had a chance to get to know and work with.

I have been noted saying that arriving in the horse racing industry in July was the best and worst of times. The best, as I saw the industry in primetime and in all its glory. The worst, as it was hard keeping pace with all the many great events, races, and meetings.

It was also a little overwhelming as I saw and heard the concerns, fears, and worry, that our average members are facing as they try to keep their heads above water in a sport that they deeply love. I also noticed a lot of inconsistencies from province to province, with how each jurisdiction operates and manages the sport from government involvement to no involvement at all.

In September, Standardbred Canada hosted the International Conference of World Trotting leaders to lay the groundwork for the upcoming World Trotting Conference and the World Driving Championships in beloved PEI next August as we prepare to celebrate our 150th anniversary as a nation and 250th anniversary of horse racing in Canada.

I also attended and enjoyed the wonderful yearling sales that both Standardbred Canada and Forest City Sales hosted in September and October, and had the opportunity to work with incredible organizations like the Alberta Standardbred Horse Association, Horse Racing Alberta, Century Downs, Red Shores, Mohawk, Ontario Racing, and so many more. Not to mention all the fabulous racing I saw during the 2016 Ontario Sires Stakes season.

I have spent a lot of time listening, learning and looking at areas to focus on as we prepare to take deep dives to improve our service to you, our members – the true leaders of this industry.

This includes; how to begin speaking with one voice as an industry. How to prioritize what is important to our sport and leverage the knowledge that you, our members, have. How to harness (pardon the pun) this love and passion, bottle it to a new market, and reacquaint our stakeholders to our relevancy, and the important contribution the sport makes to the local economies, and the entertainment value that we offer the Canadian people and their families.

The focus for Standardbred Canada will be on our members across the country.

As an association we are data-rich in information. In this day and age, information is paramount in making educated and well informed decisions. As we move to a stronger and improved business model, Standardbred Canada needs to provide you with the information that you are looking for to assist in moving your business, small and large, forward.

I have also observed the great team we have at Standardbred Canada. In my short time with the association I have seen the genuine enthusiasm and interest they have for the sport. In our hallways, I hear them talking about the industry. While passing by employee work stations I observe them searching information for our members, and keeping on top of industry events.

Most importantly, when it comes to asking our employees what our customers are saying, they have the answers and can provide honest input that will help make decisions to improve our customer service to you.

Tapping into their knowledge and expertise will be a primary focus as we move forward. And, the wonderful news is that our employees are eager and wanting to move forward. As an example; we recently took part in an industry webinar hosted by Rob Cook and Ontario Racing and I was delighted to see how many of our employees whom, on their own volition, joined me in the boardroom to take part in the webinar. It was a strong testament of their commitment and interest about what is happening in our industry.

In 2017, we will continue to seek input from our members, leaders and employees to help direct Standardbred Canada in meeting its mandate for this great industry. Early next year I will share with you some key activities we will be working on.

So, suffice to say that it’s been an eye-opening, enjoyable several months, and as we ready ourselves for the festive season; on behalf of our Board of Directors, employees and management team, we wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

Merry Christmas from all your friends at Standardbred Canada.

Dan Gall

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