Author: conversationsbyassociation

2.13: Creating a Culture of Organizational Success with Arlene Pietranton

2.13: Creating a Culture of Organizational Success with Arlene Pietranton

From reasonable risks to helping individuals get heard on their ideas, Arlene Pietranton is a thoughtful leader, who started her career as a speech pathologist and traveled the path to ASHA CEO. Within her time at ASHA she has developed an awareness of sourcing the best ideas for innovation, facilitated a mindful culture, and made some tough decisions along the way. Listen in for Arlene’s voice as a valued mentor in the community, her calm and creative approach helps build others up and leads to innovative approaches!

Arlene Pietranton, PhD CAE
Executive Director, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

“I try to hold back, and listen first, and hear ideas that others may have. I know that I’ll always have the opportunity to weigh in on a topic or conversation,  and I’ll always have the option of requesting that my idea or thought  get incorporated. But I won’t have the benefit of knowing other people’s ideas, which often are better, if I’m too quick to start us down a path.”

Arlene A. Pietranton serves as chief executive officer of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 204,500 audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; and student, international, and support personnel affiliates. ASHA’s staff of 300 are based in the association’s Gold LEED–certified national office in Rockville, MD.

Before working at ASHA, Arlene was on staff at The George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, DC where she held several clinical and administrative positions as a speech-language pathologist and member of the medical center administration. She is an ASHA Fellow and past president of the District of Columbia Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Arlene is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and has collaborated with association executives throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia on association management and governance. She is an ASAE Fellow and a past chairperson of the ASAE Board of Directors. Arlene was recognized as a 2015 Top Association and Non-Profit Innovator, the 2015 Professional Society CEO of the Year by CEO Update, the 2018 Association Executive of the Year by Association Trends, and the 2018 ASAE Key Award recipient.

Arlene’s current volunteer and civic positions include serving as co-chair of the collective impact initiative Montgomery Moving Forward, chair of the ASAE Power of a Committee, and chair of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives Board of Directors.

Arlene earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology, Master of Arts in speech-language pathology, and PhD in psychology from the George Washington University. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband and two adult daughters. Her interests include international history and culture, reading, theater, travel, skiing, and spending time with family and friends.

2.12: Creating a Personal and Professional Network with Sheri Jacobs and Greg Fine

2.12: Creating a Personal and Professional Network with Sheri Jacobs and Greg Fine

Where you sit in a room can have a profound effect on your future. On this episode of Conversations by Association, Sheri Jacobs describes attending an ASAE Membership Symposium many years ago where she knew no one. She chose a seat at a table that looked inviting and ended up next to Greg Fine. Although neither of them knew it then, it was the beginning of a strong friendship and professional bond that would deepen and grow over time. Sheri and Greg share the importance of creating informal professional personal communities of peers early in one’s career. Hear how they’ve established a trusting relationship a symbolic “vault” with each other – a term they use to describe the time, space and place where they discuss and store sensitive or difficult conversations, insights, candor and wisdom shared with one another. Both emphasize, if you’re going to be a leader, you need someone who you can be vulnerable with, who will support you in good times and bad, and who will always tell you the truth.

Sheri Jacobs, FASAE CAE
Founder, Avenue M Group

“Allow yourself to try different things and it’s ok to say, ‘this isn’t the right avenue for me.'”

As the founder of Avenue M Group, Sheri Jacobs is a leader, innovator, and visionary who has helped associations of all sizes tackle their most challenging issues.

People who meet Sheri quickly learn that her high energy and enthusiasm are a perfect combination for someone who is an avid marathoner. Having completed more than a dozen marathons, including the Boston Marathon, Sheri sees a clear correlation between training for a marathon and developing and executing a marketing plan. Training for a marathon requires making a commitment of resources, time, energy, and passion, along with the right set of tools and the support of others. The sense of accomplishment you feel when you cross the finish line of a marathon may far surpasses how you feel when you finish a 5k race. Association marketing is very similar. Success rarely happens overnight, but with the right planning, energy, passion, and assistance, anything is possible.

As a senior executive and an association management veteran with more than 15 years of experience, Sheri applied her experience in market research, marketing, strategy, and branding projects to create a unique firm that helps associations meet their goals.

Sheri started her nonprofit career in the development office of the Chicago Children’s Museum and moved into marketing after becoming a founding officer of Picture This Projects. Sheri transitioned from the philanthropic community to the association community in 1994 when she became the director of membership and marketing at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. She expanded her knowledge further when she joined the American Bar Association in 1999.

In 2002, Sheri joined the Association Forum of Chicagoland as the chief marketing officer and director of membership. During her tenure at the Association Forum, Sheri built award-winning campaigns that resulted in double-digit growth of membership and educational attendance.

Sheri is a top-rated speaker and a contributor to various associations and publications including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and the Center publication Decision to Join. She is a past chair of the ASAE Membership Council and Marketing Council. Sheri is a member of the ASAE Healthcare Committee and Foundation Development Committee. In addition, Sheri’s success in her field has led her to become an accomplished author. She is the co-editor and contributor of ASAE’s best-selling membership book, Membership Essentials, and the author of the marketing book, 199 Ideas: Powerful Marketing Tactics That Sell. ASAE and Jossey-Bass published Sheri’s latest book, The Art of Membership, in 2013. Sheri earned her Bachelor of Arts in History and Journalism from Indiana University and went on to become a Certified Association Executive in 2003.

Greg Fine, FASAE CAE
Executive Vice President and CEO, CCIM Institute (Certified Commercial Investment Member)

“I stepped back and actually realized along the way how many people, in my career, had done something that got me to be where I was.”

Gregory J. Fine is a recognized association executive and leader with more than 21 years of helping membership-based organizations grow and prosper. As the executive vice president and chief executive officer (CEO) of CCIM Institute, he heads up a 13,000-member professional association with members located in 30 countries. He also is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. Prior to CCIM Institute, Gregory served as the global CEO of the Turnaround Management Association and vice president of marketing and communications for the Association for Corporate Growth.

Gregory also is actively engaged in nonprofits, having served on the boards of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), ASAE Foundation, and Association Media and Publishing. He is faculty emeritus for the Chamber’s Institute of Organizational Management and served on the faculty for the New York Society of Association Executives and the Association Forum of Chicago Certified Association Executive prep courses. He was invited to join the ASAE Fellows in 2017 and was awarded ASAE’s Certified Association Executive designation in June 2003. A prolific writer and speaker, he has written for FORUM, Associations Now, and Signature magazines and has given presentations about strategy, leadership, multigenerational workforce, association trends, social media, membership, marketing, and volunteerism to audiences all over the world.

Among many awards, Gregory received the 2017 Association Forum’s Inspiring Leader award; the 2009 Young and Aspiring Association Professional award by Association TRENDS; and the Angerosa Research Foundation’s inaugural 2008 Publishing Trendsetter award, an award recognizing innovation that advances association publishing.

2.11: Building your Kitchen Cabinet of Advisors with Jackie Price Osafo

2.11: Building your Kitchen Cabinet of Advisors with Jackie Price Osafo

If there has ever been a person that elevates the energy in the room and an organization, it’s Jackie Price Osafo. Her energy, positivity, and dedication are a catalyst for the work she does and the people she meets. Jackie approaches her work, career, and community with a proactive mindset that teaches us how to leverage our talents to drive positive impacts. From her MBA program to volunteering, Jackie develops advisors, mentors, and friends through contributing her time, knowledge, and advice. Listen in to learn and feel energized by our incredible colleague Jackie Price Osafo.

Jacqualine Price Osafo, MBA CAE
Vice President of Membership, American Health Information Management Association

“I learned a long time ago, that it’s my responsibility to build what I now call my kitchen. There are multiple cabinets in your kitchen… My association network is made up of a bunch of cabinets.” 

Jacqualine Price Osafo is the vice president of membership for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). She has extensive experience in membership, educational design, volunteer management, and sponsorship. She has served and continues to serve in leadership capacities as liaison to the board of directors, member of the association leadership team, member of numerous committees and task forces, and member of up to 10 special interest groups.

Some of her accomplishments as the former director of membership and development for the Water Quality Association (WQA) include

  • Changed membership model and benefits for the first time in the history of the association
  • Developed and implemented the first engagement strategies for top-tiered members who pay up to $82K in dues
  • Increased sponsorship dollars by 20% year-over-year
  • Developed and deployed the first Business Operations Education program

While working for ASGE

  • Transitioned the Society from an association management company to stand alone
  • Increased membership by 97%
  • Lead diversity and inclusion initiatives for underrepresented population
  • Developed and delivered education and philanthropic programs to more than 15 countries

Jackie previously served as chair of the membership committee and Forum Forward. From 2009 to present, Jackie has presented more than 30 industry-related topics to the following audiences:

  • African Society of Association Executives
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American General Dentistry
  • ASAE Conferences
  • Association Forum Conferences
  • Association Laboratories
  • Chicago Association of Realtors
  • Michigan ASAE

She received the Association Forum’s Professional Achievement Award and is an ASAE 2018-2020 Diversity Executive Leadership Program scholar.

Jackie is a Certified Association Executive. She earned her master’s in business administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her BA from DePaul University.

Other Resources

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? In addition to educational programs through Association Forum and ASAE, I glean knowledge from other association executives. I describe my network as my kitchen where there are many cabinets that represent association executives from different backgrounds, career levels, and experiences.

I enjoy reading Harvard Business School case studies, which often are from the for-profit sector, but the concepts can be applied to the non-profit sector as well. I thoroughly enjoy Ted Talks where thought leaders share “real life” or research-based theories/experiences. I am an active listener of information and able to apply this knowledge to my professional growth and development. I like to describe myself as “being in constant state of learning.”

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? As the second largest revenue generator, my contribution to the association supports many areas such as advocacy, marketing, and business education, all which directly impacts members and trickles down to the general public/consumer. My favorite aspect of association management is providing members, who ultimately provide a service to the public, with the tools and resources they need to do their job to the best of their abilities.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? The best advice I’ve ever received was imparted in me during my childhood by my mother. She told me to “ask for what you want. You will not die if the answer is no.” This has led me to be a very curious person and in a constant quest for knowledge. For an association to continue to remain relevant to its members/industry, association executives must be in an endless state of researching, anticipating the future, and being willing to investigate what’s beyond the surface.

2.10: Responding to Racial Inequality: Finding Your Voice with Michelle Mason and Michelle Mills Clement

2.10: Responding to Racial Inequality: Finding Your Voice with Michelle Mason and Michelle Mills Clement

This is a special episode of Conversations by Association, we thought it was important to have a conversation about racial inequality in real time, and what our association leaders can do to support their teams, their organizations, and themselves on this journey. George Floyd’s death was a catalyst to reignite change, a catalyst for very important and often difficult conversations that are now in our daily lives and work. To help all of us consider how to lead well in these times of rapid change, we return to two thoughtful leaders and guests from last season, Michelle Mills Clement at Chicago Association of Realtors and Michelle Mason, President and CEO of Association Forum.

Throughout this authentic and honest conversation our guests discuss the emotions they have felt in their own leadership and the skills they’ve had to call on to help themselves and others take action. Listen for guiding steps forward, and the many opportunities to step up to lead your teams, organization, and self toward positive changes.

Michelle Mason, FASAE CAE
President and CEO at Association Forum

“Most importantly about leadership, it’s not about preparing a statement, it’s action, about creating sustainable action.”

michelle masonMichelle joined Association Forum as President and CEO in September 2014. She provides strategic leadership, fiscal responsibility, and successful delivery of member value.

Prior to Association Forum, Michelle served as a managing director at the American Society for Quality (ASQ). In this role, she concentrated on business development, membership, component relations, innovation, advocacy, social responsibility, and process improvement efforts.

Prior to ASQ, Michelle served as vice president of strategic and future focused research programs for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in Washington, D.C. She also worked at formerly Chemical Manufacturers Association, now the American Chemistry Council.

Michelle is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Six Sigma Champion, and a Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA). She is an ASAE Fellow and an Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow. She is a graduate of the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute (2016). Michelle formerly served as an examiner with the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence. She has a BA, MBA and MS.

Michelle has strong board experience including, ASAE Board of Directors, ABSI, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. She was appointed by the Mayor of Milwaukee to serve as vice-chair of the City’s Green Team. Michelle is the founding chair of the ASAE Innovation Grants Program. Michelle was the project lead for the bestselling publication, Seven Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t.

Michelle received the 2012 WSAE Association Leadership Award and was recognized by Associations Now as an “A Lister: Someone Who Makes Associations Work.”

Michelle Mills Clement, MNM CAE
CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS

“That’s the key. Find your voice and use it, because you can really make an impact.”

mills-clementMichelle Mills Clement is the CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, the “Voice for Real Estate in Chicago.” An experienced association executive for more than thirteen years, Mills Clement previously served as president and CEO of the Commercial Brokers Association (CBA) and association executive for the Washington State Commercial Association of REALTORS®. Prior to joining CBA, Mills Clement served as the Executive Director of NAIOP Washington State Chapter, the Commercial Real Estate & Development Association, where she implemented best practices in board governance and volunteer management.

Mills Clement was very active in the Chicagoland association industry prior to her move to the Pacific Northwest. She was employed with the Association Forum of Chicagoland as the Senior Manager of Member Communities & Programs. She previously held positions with the largest association management company in the world, SmithBucklin Corporation, serving both healthcare and trade association clients. Prior to SmithBucklin, she held fundraising and volunteer management positions with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Boy Scouts of America, where she consistently exceeded fundraising and membership goals.

She is an Association Forum Board Member and active member of ASAE: The Center for Association Excellence and the Association Forum of Chicagoland. In June 2013, she was named an American Society of Association Executive’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar, a prestigious executive leadership program awarded to only twelve executive-level association management professionals per year. She was also awarded the Young & Aspiring Association Professional Award from Association TRENDS in 2013, named a Forty Under 40 Award recipient by the Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE in 2014, and most recently received the Women of Excellence in Male-Dominated Careers by the Women of Color Empowered & Northwest Asian Weekly for her work in the commercial real estate industry in the pacific northwest.

She is a native Chicagoan and enjoys political campaign fundraising and volunteer management. She was integral in the election of Congresswoman Robin Kelly (DIL) from Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District in Illinois. When not with her family, she volunteers her time as President for the Bradley University Black Alumni Alliance. She is also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she serves on the National Social Action Commission, a commission responsible for setting the legislative agenda for the 300,000+ women’s organization.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from Bradley University in Peoria and her master’s degree in nonprofit management from DePaul University. She has a certificate in commercial real estate from the University of Washington and earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification from ASAE.

She enjoys traveling with her family, volunteering, and cheering on the Chicago Bears (when they’re winning). She resides in Chicago with her husband Brace Clement, and their son Broyce.

2.9: Take Action: Building Buy-in

2.9: Take Action: Building Buy-in

This season we’re adding mini episodes that help you Take Action on the insights from guests, and some of the most crucial aspects of developing your network, building skills, and leading in your career. Each Take Action episode will be focused on a tool that makes action easier and drives towards positive results that you can download on the Conversations by Association website.

“The more you take that time, energy, and thoughtfulness to be able to invite people to have their input and share their knowledge, you’re actually creating opportunities for them to grow.”

One of the most powerful tools in creating sustainability is to develop buy-in with teammates, peers, and members. It’s easy to over complicate the process or buy-in or forget to initiate it all together, so in this episode Christina breaks it down into simple actions focused on inviting others in. You’ll hear Christina share how powerful questions are as a form of building buy-in as it invites others to share their knowledge and feel part of the final results. Check out our Questions that Build Buy-in Guide! It’s a great tool to print and post near your computer to keep buy-in top of mind!

Other Resources

Questions to Build Buy In

2.8: Creating a Caring Community with Carol Pape

2.8: Creating a Caring Community with Carol Pape

What started as a volunteer role turned into a unexpected job opportunity for Carol Pape. Whether she is at an association meeting or a school event, Carol always pitches in – it’s part of who she is. Carol values inclusion and has spent much of her career creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for members, guests and colleagues. She’s learned the importance of leveraging unexpected opportunities, encouraging diverse opinions, and ensuring others are respected and supported. Through big and small acts, we all thrive when our peers show up for one other. Hear Carol’s insights how servant leadership and humility created new opportunities for growth and professional advancement. She also reminds us that we are stronger when we are engaged, supportive and connected.

Carol Pape, CAE
Chief Operating Officer, Association of Professional Chaplains 

“I make an effort to look around the room and find those people who are by themselves so I can introduce myself and help them connect with other people”

Carol Pape is the chief operating officer at the Association of Professional Chaplains, where she has served for the past 12 years. Previously, she was the vice president of programs for the Northwest Suburban Association of Commerce and Industry and president of the Palatine Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, she earned her Certified Association Executive credential in 2013.

Carol was the recipient of the 2016-2017 John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award given by Association Forum. Carol joined the board of directors of Association Forum in 2017 and previously served the organization on the Certified Association Executive (CAE) working group and as chair of the awards and recognition committee. She continues to serve as a facilitator for the CAE study groups each fall and spring.

A lifelong volunteer, Carol has served in many capacities at her church, in the parent–teacher associations at her childrens’ schools, and on the boards for a local women’s counseling center and school education foundations.

She received her Bachelor of Science in community health education from Indiana University.

Other Resources

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? I love the American Society of Association Executives’ professional practices and law books. They are great references. But I get my best ideas from talking with and networking with other association executives. There is nothing like shared experience to spark ideas and solve problems!

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? No two days are alike. I love working with members and volunteers to make a difference.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Self-care is important. Sick days also can be used for mental health days. And this advice was given to me before we all had cell phones and were constantly tied to work! I can do better work and contribute more to the organization if I have taken care of myself.

2.7: Navigating New Roles in Associations with Cory Hall, Laura Harris, and Chris Ocampo

2.7: Navigating New Roles in Associations with Cory Hall, Laura Harris, and Chris Ocampo

In this episode Cory, Laura, and Chris share their different paths to associations at different stages in their careers, reminding us the value of being open to new challenges and seeing new paths forward. From experiences in shifting industries to working with a recruiter, it’s important to be open to the opportunities even when they look like changes that might not be what we expected. A great reminder when our whole world is in times of change and asking us to switch gears and be open to growth opportunities.

Cory Hall
Marketing Specialist, Chicago Association of Realtors

“Remain conscientious of the advice that you give, we really take it to heart.”

Cory Hall is a marketing specialist at the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR), which serves more than 15,000 Chicagoland real estate professionals. She markets the association real estate school, manages CAR’s marketing presence at events, and serves as the staff liaison for the association’s Young Professionals Network. She graduated from DePauw University in 2016 with a degree in English writing.

Other Resources

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? Association Forum training, 5 Love Languages Quiz, Creative Mornings newsletter, HubSpot newsletter and blog

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? I love how the projects I work on and the events and committees I contribute to are limitless in the way I can add value to association members’ professions. What we do on a basic level is essential, but we’re also enhancing membership and constantly seeking ways to add value to people’s livelihoods. When we get it right—and we hope we do all the time!—it’s so rewarding to see how happily and passionately people respond. I love being “behind the scenes” and using my skills to uplift other people’s careers and goals. Association management offers a unique chance to add this level of meaning to an organization.

The best advice you’ve ever received? You’ll never regret being kind. Explanation: It reads sort of morbidly, but this has really resonated with me this year. The relationships we form and the way we treat people and make them feel is essential to our success as well as theirs. No matter how frustrating a fellow staff person or member may be, kindness is the one thing I don’t ever want to let fall to the wayside.

Laura Harris
Meeting Administrator, Association Management Center

“There are going to be times you need help from friends or coworkers and sometimes you’re going to mess up and its not going to go the way you thought.”

Laura Harris has been with Association Management Center (AMC) for 5 months. She was hired as a meetings administrator shortly after graduating from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management. In the spring of her senior year, Laura attended a Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) student event where she first learned about the association industry and what key roles meeting planners have in it. During her time at AMC, Laura has been actively participating in the events committee, young professionals SIG, administrator/coordinator SIG, and the coffee and productivity SIG. Laura has become a member of Association for Women in Events (AWE) and just recently joined their membership committee. She’s gotten involved in PCMA Education Days and hopes to join as a member in the next year. In her free time Laura enjoys volunteer activities around the Chicagoland area as well as researching her next travel destination!

Other Resources

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? One resource that I find myself constantly utilizing is LinkedIn. For me, LinkedIn is a way to see provocative articles that people in my network are sharing, new books to start reading, several different types of advice outlets, and much more. LinkedIn helps me expand my personal and professional development. Webinars are another resource that my team and I take advantage of because of the multitude of subjects that we can always learn more about.

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? My favorite part is working with teams who truly want their attendees to have the best experience at every meeting/conference we help plan. They are passionate about their attendees and the work their attendees do. I like that all customer teams work well with the service teams to put on a successful conference. I also enjoy all the information I get to learn about each association.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Some of the best advice I’ve received since starting at AMC has been that “everything does not fall on your shoulders.” This is advice for in and out of the workplace and can be connected to so many other pieces of advice we’ve all gotten over the years. We all have different responsibilities, but when it comes to asking for help on certain projects or asking questions, it’s okay to utilize your resources, such as your coworkers and friends. It’s better to ask for help than to stress over all the things you need to tackle. It also helps keep a positive mindset.

Chris Ocampo
Marketing Manager, Awards and Personalization Association

“I think for me, it was that time in my career where I wanted to explore something new and get out of my comfort zone a little bit and challenge myself.

Chris Ocampo is the marketing manager for the Awards and Personalization Association and the Council of Engineering for Scientific Society Executives (CESSE). He may be new to the association game, but Chris is a veteran at leading organizations through marketing strategies, communication, and ad campaign development. He worked in a variety of higher education roles at small and large universities prior to his work at Association Management Center. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn and you’ll quickly discover that, “Somehow, Chris Ocampo has transformed into quite possibly the greatest marketing strategist ever.”

Other Resources

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? Udemy courses, Branding: In Five and a Half Steps, professional mentors that I connected with through work, and Fast Company magazine

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? I’m new to the industry, but so far, I’ve enjoyed learning about who our members are and how our associations truly help them in their personal and professional growth. I’m looking forward to attending our conferences where I can meet members and volunteers face-to-face, hear their stories, and share them with others.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Don’t have regrets. You made the best decision with the information you had at the time.

2.6: Staying Relevant with Mary Byers

2.6: Staying Relevant with Mary Byers

In this episode, Mary Byers teaches us all to look for creative ways to sharpen our skills and learn in new ways. From stepping outside the association industry for new learnings and ideas, to trying a new hobby like improv to help think creatively. Mary demonstrates the value of being proactive in your career, your learning, and searching out new ideas for your association. Listen and learn how to keep relevant throughout your career!

Mary Byers, CAE
Founder of Associations Today; Consultant

“What I know is that when you invest in yourself, you become more valuable to your association. And when you invest in your own education, that is something that can’t be taken away from you”

Mary Byers is co-author of Race for Relevance: Five Radical Changes for Associations and Road to Relevance: 5 Strategies for Competitive Associations. She is the former director of communications and member services for the Illinois State Dental Society and served in that capacity for 9 years prior to starting her consulting business in 1998. Since then, she’s worked primarily with not-for-profit organizations, including the Million Dollar Round Table, American and Illinois Farm Bureaus, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the American Association of Medical Society Executives.

Mary specializes in working with volunteer association leaders and chief staff executives to help define their roles and clarify their vision through leadership conference programming, facilitating strategic planning retreats, and coaching. She’s a skilled listener and able to help initiate and manage difficult conversations.

Mary is a Certified Association Executive and a member of the National Speakers Association. She also is the author of seven books.

Other Resources

Mary’s Personal Learning Road Map

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? Seth Godin is a fabulous thought leader who walks his talk. And there are two books I come back to repeatedly: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Crucial Conversations.

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? If you let it, it can be different every day. New challenges, new projects, new thinking, new required habits. And that last one is difficult!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Fake it ‘til you make it. Second best advice: be resourceful and invest in your own personal development so you don’t have to fake it!

2.5: Blending work, volunteering and friendship with Dr. Martha Twaddle and Emily Muse

2.5: Blending work, volunteering and friendship with Dr. Martha Twaddle and Emily Muse

Relationships matter, in personal and professional life. Sometimes they even overlap. Dr. Martha Twaddle and Emily Muse first became coworkers and later their relationship shifted and grew as they assumed the roles of association volunteer leader and staff member.

Association volunteers and staff often comment that they feel they get more out of their experiences than they put into them. Friendships and deep connections often blossom, although that is rarely mentioned in the association literature. This dynamic duo discusses the value of collaborating with someone who shares your vision, passion and is always rooting for each other’s success.

Martha and Emily remind listeners that it is the people and partnerships that often endure well beyond a project or appointed position.

Martha Twaddle, MD FACP FAAHPM HMDC
Medical Director, Palliative Medicine & Supportive Care at Northwestern Medicine

“You realize that your volunteer contribution is going to be bigger than you are, it’s going to take root, it’s going to find energy and collaboration, and it’s going to move forward. So you come back to do more.”

Dr. Martha Twaddle combines nearly 30 years of experience in the care of seriously ill people and their families in a variety of areas of service. She currently serves as the Waud family medical director for palliative medicine & supportive care at Northwestern Medicine. Her academic work includes developing curriculum, guidelines, and models of care for healthcare professionals to provide care for the seriously ill in all settings. She works with others at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine exploring how technology and prescriptive nature can improve health outcomes as well as collaborating nationally in the development of patient- and family-centered quality metrics. On behalf of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM), Martha served as the co-chair for the National Consensus Project for Quality Palliative Care, which completed the 4th edition of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care (NCP Guidelines) in late October 2018.

Martha’s unique talents and contributions to the field of palliative medicine have helped increase the understanding of and access to this continuum of care, regionally and nationally. In 2013, she was named by her peers as one of AAHPM’s 30 most influential visionaries in hospice and palliative medicine. She served as president of AAHPM from 2002-2003 and on the AAHPM Board of Directors from 1997-2004. She represented AAHPM in the creation of the initial NCP Guidelines published in 2004. She was honored with the inaugural AAHPM Josefina B. Magno Distinguished Hospice Physician Award in 2005. She was recognized in 2016 as a Distinguished Alumni of Purdue’s College of Science and “an exemplary educator and pioneering contributor to end-of-life care” as the recipient of the Compassion in Action Award by Hospice of the Valley and Santa Clara University in 2015. She was the recipient of the AAHPM Lifetime Achievement Award in March 2019.

After graduating summa cum laude from Purdue University, Martha received her medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and completed her residency in internal medicine through Northwestern University McGaw School of Medicine, where she was chief resident. She currently serves as a clinical professor of medicine for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and is board certified in internal medicine and hospice and palliative medicine.

Other Resources

What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)?
Most important—mentoring and amazing mentors. Also, the Levinson Institute Leadership course and Franklin Covey.

What is your favorite aspect of the association management field?
The efficiencies and the co-creative “can do” aspects

The best advice you’ve ever received?
Identify an aspect of what you do that you particularly love and grow that as your niche.

Emily Muse, CAE
Director, Membership and Community Engagement, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine

“I’m really grateful for the support and the involvement within the larger association community as well. I think that being involved as a volunteer myself provides me an opportunity to better understand the frustrations and joys that can come from our volunteers, to try to have that kind of empathy.”

Emily Muse joined the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) team in 2010 after working as a hospice and palliative medicine fellowship coordinator and curriculum specialist for Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center. In her current role she serves as the staff liaison to more than 45 Academy member communities. These include the Hospice Medicine Council, Academic Palliative Medicine Council, 36 special interest groups, and 7 forums. Working with the AAHPM Communities Committee, she strives to enhance member experience through meaningful engagement opportunities. She managed the application process for the Fellow of AAHPM distinction and was instrumental in the launch and success of the Academy’s online communication platform, Connect. As a previous elementary school teacher, she is able to integrate instructional techniques and motivational skills when working with members. Emily believes that helping members understand their association’s values, mission, and strategic goals encourages their active participation in programs and initiatives. An engaged member is not just one guaranteed renewal but a brand champion who will inspire and energize others!

2.4: Prehensile Tails to Problem Solving with Dave Bergeson

2.4: Prehensile Tails to Problem Solving with Dave Bergeson

Thoughtful, patient, and kind, Dave Bergeson reminds all of us how to find the strengths in our peers, figuring out each step, and be open to a new path from time to time. He takes lessons he learned doing anthropology field work in the jungles of Panama, Peru, and Costa Rica into insightful lessons on how to build relationships. Examining his approach to establishing trust and relationships in our industry, and in other facets of our lives.

Dave Bergeson, PhD CAE
Executive Director, Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses

“Try to give people what they need, whether it’s kindness or patience. Everyone has something to contribute in some way. So looking for strengths is really important, and putting people in a position to use those strengths in a good way, I think that’s an important skill that can reap many benefits down the road.”

As vice president of client relations, Dave Bergeson provides strategic oversight and management of the Association Management Center’s (AMC) corporate relationship with their clients. AMC specializes in providing services to professional healthcare societies and trade organizations. After almost 20 years as an executive director, 10 with the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON), he certainly has the necessary experience to ensure that the client’s voice is heard and needs are met (and typically exceeded). Through getting to know volunteer leaders, increasing shared knowledge and best practices among clients, and facilitating collaboration, Dave works on behalf of AMC and with client executive directors to deserve, earn, and grow trust. As he puts it, “the key to success in association management—strong relationships—also is one of the benefits of success.”

Dave’s passion at AMC are the people he works with—volunteer leaders and AMC staff. He strongly believes in the unique strength that AMC’s culture brings to help managing and leading associations: “Howard Schultz from Starbucks said it well: ‘When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.’ I’ve seen ‘anything’ many times here at AMC.” Dave is known for being a servant leader through his open-door policy, mentorship, and calm, confident, and clear communication with clients and staff.

Although he trained as a biological anthropologist, Dave rarely walks in jungles or observes monkeys anymore. Instead, Dave enjoys fishing, bird watching, and drinking wine—on really good days, all at the same time.