A Keynote Address by Donald Bell

I’m attending the annual Simply Accounting Conference, this year held in Vancouver, BC.  I try to attend every year, despite the fact that I derive absolutely NO useful information from the conference content.  I’ve been using the software for 13 years now….I pretty much have it down pat.  Basically, in order to maintain my elite “Gold Certified Consultant” status, I am required to attend.

The perks:

1) a “business trip” for Sherilyn and I.

2) the keynote speaker

If there’s one thing that Simply does right each year, it’s rope good keynote speakers to present to a room full of bookkeepers. I have been fortunate enough to hear and meet Merge Gupta-Sunderji, Andrew Brash, and David Chilton.  This year, they brought in Donald Bell, co-founder of Westjet.

I couldn’t have been happier.

Those trusty faithful blog followers know my abosulte disdain for Air Canada.  By default, this makes me LOVE Westjet. The fact that I have had SEVERAL positive experiences flying Westjet tips the scales even further.

I have always been slightly curious.  You know that “How DO they make everyone love them so much” fleeting thought.  Well, now I know.

The story of Westjet began under much duress.  Mr. Bell detailed the struggles they had raising capital, raising faith, and writing a business plan they believed in.  He presented the graveyard of airlines that our continent has buried.  He persisted despite being told time and time again that airlines, in general, fail miserably.

Here are some of the “notable” quotes from today’s keynote address that I found interesting and wanted to share:

“Becoming a millionare is easy.  Just become a billionaire first, then buy an airline.”

“We decided when choosing our employes that we didn’t want to hire anyone that worked at Air Canada or Revenue Canada” ** – note, bookkeepers and accountants find this on particularly funny.

Top 10 rules:

1) Find a model and copy it

2) First get the business plan, then get the money

3) Treat employees as #1

4) Share the wealth

5) Hire for attitude, train for skills

6) Empower the front lines

7) Embrace technology

8) Keep it simple

9) Fly union free

10) Party party party

This is starting to sound alot like….well….me!!!

EEEKK! Without even knowing it, I have the SAME BUSINESS MODEL as Westjet!! That’s right, WESTJET. The household name who’s brand identity rivals Tim Hortons, and who’s growth and profits have put banks and gold mines to shame.

I couldn’t be happier.  Those of you who know me will be most happy to learn that I did “not* run up to him like a 14 year old at a Taylor Swift concert shreiking “omg we are EXACTLY the same!”

🙂 I feel empowered and motivated. Stand back.

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