(Originally Posted on June 17, 2016)
Last week I had the pleasure of organizing the second ALC Round Table hosted in Córdoba, Argentina. I have to admit I was a bit nervous… Well, I’ll start from the beginning.
As you know, the Association of Language Companies (ALC) gathers many member and non-member companies for the annual conference, and the unconference, the main events. But members may also hold their own smaller, local events. They may get together for networking, to discuss a topic of interest, to listen to a speaker, and have a great time in the spirit of networking and collaboration for the furtherance of the language industry. This is called a CEO Round Table.
Last year, I missed the conference in Nashville, and it suddenly dawned on me I could do a CEO Round Table here in my hometown. There are about 20 language companies in Argentina -that I know of- of various sizes and backgrounds, and conference after conference in the US or Europe, I always found myself thinking how come I meet several peer company owners from my own country, and even my own city, abroad, but we never meet back home! I live in a city with a metropolitan population of 2 million, and Buenos Aires is about 13 million now, and they are only 500 miles away. There have to be more companies here that we don’t know about.
So last year, I contacted the ALC about this. Doug Strock, currently ALC President, walked me through the very simple process of picking a restaurant, a topic (or no topic), and emailing guests. The ALC staff also provided a list of possible companies in the region. So I did all that. I even wrote a personal email to everyone on the list. I also added my own guests who were not listed. And we came to be 5 companies having dinner together. To my surprise, 2 of them were from different cities! I appreciated it very much that one CEO drove about 8 hours, and another CEO flew 1.5 hours… to have dinner in Cordoba! On a weekday!
So this year, I did it again. And this time, last Tuesday, there were 10 CEOs, and 5 of them came from over 500 miles away! This time we had a speaker, a special guest, and a topic that has been in the air for a few years now: Civil Associations.
So, I can’t help but wonder: Is there enough mass to think of a local language industry in Argentina? And if so, does it have enough momentum to think of a formally incorporated local company association?