FUSE Hamilton, established in 2009 (it its seventh year) as an effort by the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation to connect with the young professional community in Hamilton, has seen a great deal of changes in 2016. While the group’s legacy of fundraising success hasn’t changed, the circumstances involved in delivering those results certainly have, says FUSE chair Dan MacIntyre.
“In 2015 we certainly hit a low point with our membership. By the end of the summer our team had dwindled down to myself and Angelica Meigs, who now serves as our secretary. Although the group had experienced so much success throughout its history, the tried-and-true methods of event planning and execution began to fail us.” MacIntyre describes a watershed moment last August when the group failed to raise funds through its flagship event, “Bump, Set, Raise!”, “It was awful, I had taken on the chair role and my first event following that transition was a failure, it was very disheartening. At the same time, it forced me to really examine the group and realize what had worked in the past was not going to continue serving us into the future.”
MacIntyre identified several key areas that needed upgrading, “Our brand had grown tired, it was old, it was defined by this awful orange and black combination that I’m not sure ever really worked. Our membership needed to grow and also be diversified, I wanted to bring in individuals from outside the HHS bubble, I wanted different perspectives, varied backgrounds, I think that’s always a key variable in finding success. I also wanted to produce new events, bigger events. I wanted to increase the scale of what we were doing, we had this long history within the HIVE umbrella, it was time we started acting like one of the OGs (original groups). In my mind the events had to provide more value for our guests, generate a better return than they had in the past, and leave a lasting impression that would continue generating conversations for weeks afterward.”
MacIntyre certainly addressed each of those issues, today FUSE Hamilton has gone from being a dynamic duo to a true team of six members. As MacIntyre points out the team is very diversified as well, “No one works for the same organization. We have a lawyer, a financial planner, a graduate student, an administrator, a sales rep. It’s a dynamic group of young leaders in their own right who have come together to build something really special that is creating a tangible impact within the city.”
FUSE Hamilton finished a rebrand initiated by the team and executed by the Foundation this past spring. Gone are the days of Halloween as the group has introduced a blue and white logo and colour scheme that best-represent the group says MacIntyre, “It’s a fresh look, that resonates now and will resonate five years from now. We look like a really professional group, it’s a much more honest representation and I think it has garnered us far more respect in the city.”
Later this month FUSE Hamilton will present “The Healthy City”, an interactive panel discussion and Q&A between the guest and the speaker at The AGH. The group has brought in some of the city’s brightest minds to discuss the city’s health as a whole, what we are doing well and what can be done better. As MacIntyre puts it, “We do a lot of patting on our own back here in Hamilton, we’ve achieved a lot but I know that there is still so much work to be done and having the opportunity and forum to discuss these issues objectively is outstanding. This panel is something I’m really proud of, when you read the names on that dais, I look at it as a measuring stick of how far we’ve come as a group and a great indicator of how much further this group will continue to go.”
As far as what’s left in 2016 for FUSE, MacIntyre points out that there is quite a bit still to be done, “It’s a busy year. We have The Healthy City in September, we follow that up with our first ever workshop at a HIVEX conference on November 5th, and five days later on November 10, we blow the roof off of the YP community with Lips & Lyrics 2 at The Shaun and Ed Brewing Company in Dundas. We’ve got a lot on our plate, but it’s a lot of fun and the team we have is exceptional so we are more than up to the task.”
As to where the group goes in 2017, MacIntyre has some ideas but shares that he won’t be leading the charge, “Officially my time as chair will come to an end at the end of December. We have put some strong structures in place to ensure continued success in the years to come. Shelby Gahagan, my vice chair will become chair in January and I know that she is far more than capable of taking the group to new heights. I’m excited to see what she has in store!”. Tickets for The Healthy city are $25.00 and can be purchased at www.hamiltonhealth.ca/TheHealthyCity.
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