Category: Season 1

1.14: Decisions and Transitions with Mark Engle

1.14: Decisions and Transitions with Mark Engle

Most people’s passion for association work doesn’t start in childhood—but that’s not the case for Mark Engle. His parents—Art and Dagny—started Association Management Center (AMC) nearly 50 years ago. Family vacations were replaced with association conferences where the entire family—including brothers Scott and Jeff—were expected to lend a helping hand. Later in life, Mark worked in government relations in DC before returning to AMC to serve as an executive director, consultant and principal. Today Mark engages association leaders in critical conversations related to board development, strategic thinking, decision making, and change initiatives. The evolution and process of moving from reactive to proactive is at the root of Mark’s experiences and wisdom. Mark’s insights about successful leadership, humility, and authenticity help listeners assess what really matters most when it comes to life and work. This inspirational conversation is a great listen and the perfect way to close out season one of “Conversations by Association.”

Mark T. Engle, DM, FASAE, CAE
Association Management Center, Principal

“There is nothing more rewarding than spending time with the people emerging in their careers.”


Mark is a principal with Association Management Center in Chicago, IL; headquarters to 28 associations with a staff of over 220 talented professionals. Engle received his Doctor of Management degree in 2011 from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) with his study in nonprofit governance. Mark is continually striving to develop and share new research that leads to advancing the association management profession. He is a frequent author and speaker on governance and high performing organizations and is a faculty member of ASAE’s Exceptional Boards program. Engle serves on five Boards of Directors. In 2017 he was inducted into the Metal Construction Hall of Fame for his past service as chief staff executive of the Metal Construction Association. He was honored with the Samuel Shapiro Award – Outstanding CEO – Association Forum of Chicagoland and was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives and the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Leadership (Case Western Reserve University) and is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. Engle formerly served as a chief staff executive for trade associations and professional societies for 29 years. He has participated in over 300 Board meetings during his career.


1.13: Reinventing Yourself with Karen Dunn Caspers

1.13: Reinventing Yourself with Karen Dunn Caspers

Karen Dunn Caspers, spent nearly 40 years working inside associations in a variety of roles. While inquiring about another association position she discovered a new career opportunity. Today, she works as an executive search consultant for Tuft and Associates in Chicago. Karen knows what associations are looking for when it comes to professional staff. She shares helpful advice for those considering or actively seeking something different. Times have changed and so have recruitment and interviewing processes. If you’re hiring, seeking employment, or hoping to build your network—tune in and try out these techniques.

Karen Dunn Caspers, MSNM CAE
Executive Search Consultant at Tuft & Associates

dunn caspers

“Polish your stories … write them down … practice them and keep them in your hip pocket. You need to always be ready to tell your story.”

Karen Dunn Caspers brings more than 35 years of association management experience to Tuft & Associates. Karen served as the Director of Administration & HR Development for the American Dental Hygienists’ Association for 20 years. Previously, she was the Executive Director of the Hispanic Dental Association and the Interior Design Society of the National Home Furnishings Association. In addition to expertise in human resources and governance, Karen has a background in membership development, conference planning, and communications.

While at the HDA Karen developed and launched the first National Conference on Hispanic Oral Health. At ADHA, she facilitated strategic planning sessions for ADHA board members and was responsible for a comprehensive revision of ADHA bylaws to reflect association best practices and compliance with Illinois state statutes.

Karen is active in the Association Forum of Chicagoland and maintains a wide network of contacts in the association community. She has served as chair of the Diversity Scholarship Committee and as a member of the Professional Practices Committee. She chaired the committee which developed the Forum’s first position paper on requests for proposals (RFPs). Karen also served as a guest lecturer at Columbia College, Chicago, on such topics as oral communications for the workplace and interviewing tips.

Karen earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2002 and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management (MSNM) in 2008 from the Spertus Institute in Chicago. She received her bachelor’s degree in English-Education from MacMurray College, Jacksonville, IL.

1.12: Taking Initiative to Build Your Career: Midcareer Panel—Liz Giannini, Pam Rosenberg, and Amy Thomasson

1.12: Taking Initiative to Build Your Career: Midcareer Panel—Liz Giannini, Pam Rosenberg, and Amy Thomasson

Proactive and thoughtful, the accomplished midcareer panel on this episode shares insights into expanding your network, finding confidants and mentors, and building a path on an undefined journey. Their advice resonates at all levels, as they discuss how to learn from your members, peers, and executives while building advisors and skills. Talking with Liz, Pam, and Amy help us consider the exciting growth and changes in the industry, and take thoughtful next steps. Listen for applicable advice in navigating your career!

Liz Giannini
Senior Operations Manager, Association Management Center

“It’s never too soon to be conscious of your personal brand and working on your personal brand.”


Liz proudly serves as a Senior Operations Manager for multiple trade associations at AMC; a Best Places to Work in IL. She gets excited about the work that takes place through the partnership of volunteers, supplier partners, members and colleagues when focused on a shared vision. In September 2015, she was named as an association industry Forty Under 40 honoree and has previously served in marketing, membership, chapter development, and operations roles with the Association Forum, Professional Convention Management Association, and the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

To best serve members, Liz believes in the need to understand the experience of being a member and/or volunteer from the other side of the table. With that in mind, she’s sought out volunteer experiences that can help her be more effective. For the last ten years, she’s been a scholarship judge for the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) and has also served for three years as the Membership Committee Chair and Board member of the non-profit arts organization, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, where she was the youngest Board member at that time.

She is a past speaker at both Forum Forward and Holiday Showcase and has presented with Mark Engle, DM FASAE, during the session “Got Governance? Board Involvement from Micromanagement to Abandonment” as well as “Governance Essentials: Effective Practices for Staff.”

You can find her on Twitter @lzgiannini and LinkedIn or read some of her blog posts on navigating her career, FOMO, or being #vegasstrong.

Pamela Rosenberg, CAE
Director of Education and Certification, American Society of Plumbing Engineers

“Your members are also your advocates…you have an entire membership organization that can be vouching for you. Your brand works in house and out of house.”


Pamela Rosenberg, CAE is the Director of Education and Certification for the American Society of Plumbing Engineers. She has been in the association world for 10 years and has specialized in the credentialing space for more than 5 years. She has been involved with the entire lifecycle of certification programs starting with inception, exam development, legal review, item writing, and exam administrator selection through final launch and wrap up of credentialing programs. The value that association members place on their education and credentials has taught her how essential a sound credentialing program is for the public’s safety and has fueled her passion to help propel her association’s education programs even further. In 2019 she helped launch ASPE’s first online community, as well as their first LMS platform. Both programs and platforms were new to the organization and have since been a tremendous member benefit even in their early stages. 2016 she earned her CAE credential and the Credentialing Specialist Certificate through Institute of Credentialing Excellence. She holds a BS in Public Affairs and a Certificate in Business from Indiana University.

Amy Thomasson
Director, Marketing, Congress of Neurological Surgeons

“Your career journey is not linear, you’re going to take a lot of detours, and that’s ok.”


Amy is a strategist, brand builder, and storyteller with experience in marketing, membership, volunteer management, and business development. She has worked in a variety of business environments, ranging from Fortune 500 to professional associations. Amy currently serves as Director, Marketing for the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

She is incredibly passionate about volunteerism within the association and nonprofit community, and serves as Vice Chair of the Editorial Working Group for Association Forum’s FORUM magazine, as well as a speaker and content creator for Association Forum and Association Success. Amy is also a 2018 recipient of Association Forum and USAE’s Forty Under 40® Award.

Amy has a BA in Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University. She is currently working on a self-paced learning goal of reading 100 books about business, professional and personal development, and association management. Follow along on her journey at


1.11: Joy and Belonging with Amelia Franck Meyer

1.11: Joy and Belonging with Amelia Franck Meyer

“Do what love would do,” is a powerful statement and a reminder of how Amelia Franck Meyer approaches life and work. She believes people are most successful when they feel supported, safe and valued by those around them. Throughout her career as a nonprofit leader, she has remained committed to not only elevating individuals, but entire organizations. Amelia’s revolutionary work is intense and transformative, but also joyful and fun. As a catalyst for change and advocate for children, Amelia talks about what’s possible when professionals questions the status quo, show up and support each other, and engage in meaningful work. Amelia, whose popular TedTalk has been viewed by more than 37,000, shares her unique insights and wisdom in this one-of-a-kind conversation.

Amelia Franck Meyer, EdD LISW APSW
CEO of Alia,

“When we build trust in organizations, people feel connected and safe. Once we have that, then we can take risks, be vulnerable and bring our best selves forward.”


Dr. Amelia Franck Meyer is a social entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of Alia: innovations for people and systems impacted by childhood trauma. Alia provides deep-dive systemic interventions, training, consultation, demonstration projects, and leadership coaching to transform child welfare.

Before Alia, Amelia was the CEO of Anu Family Services, a child welfare agency located in 90 counties in Wisconsin and Minnesota. During her 15-year tenure, Anu produced nationally recognized child permanence and placement stability outcomes for children in out-of-home care and was on the leading edge of promoting and measuring wellbeing for youth and the child welfare workforce.

Amelia has received numerous awards and recently was featured as one of People Magazine’s “25 Women Changing the World” in 2018. Amelia has presented nationally and internationally on a range of topics, she has served on national and statewide boards, and holds a doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership (University of Southern California), all for the purpose of leading a national movement to create a child welfare system across the country where all people—youth and their caregivers—can thrive.

For more information on Amelia’s work check out her TedTalk.

1.10: Learning to Lead with Steve Smith

1.10: Learning to Lead with Steve Smith

Valuing growth, relationships, and your own strengths are just a few key lessons that executive Steve Smith shares on this episode. Steve is known for his ability to create successful teams, help others’ voices be heard, and build strong communities, but that doesn’t mean it always came easy. He shares how it took time to recognize those skills in himself and find the right fit where those skills create success. It’s hard not to get energized listening to Steve’s ideas on inclusive environments, and where the future of the association field might take us!

Steve Smith, MS CAE
CEO of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) &
Vice President of Client Relations at Association Management Center (AMC)

“These days in order to be a successful leader, you have to have really strong relationship and people skills.”


Steve Smith, MS CAE FAAMSE, best known for his life-long passion for working with older adults, is the CEO of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and a vice president of AMC client relations. He recognizes in his multifaceted role that strong relationships are key to an association’s success. Steve uses a combination of his strengths—including strategy, communication and positivity—to ensure his AAHPM colleagues and AMC’s other executive directors are connected and well supported so they can guide their clients in achieving their missions.

Steve sees his team as a group of diverse and talented individuals with unique assets and skills. Together, they have helped AAHPM navigate through more than a decade of unprecedented growth and development, increasing in both size and scope of work. Today, the team includes 20 dedicated and committed professionals who have expanded educational offerings, amplified the Academy’s voice in advocacy, created new member communities and improved the quality of care for patients and family living with serious illnesses. Steve hopes his work will help not only AMC’s association clients but also the staff that support their missions thrive and excel.

Steve’s fascination for healthcare and aging started as a small child during visits with his great-grandmother in a nursing home and continued through high school and college, where he initiated visitation programs to local nursing care facilities. One of these programs still exists more than 30 years later.

Steve turned his hobby into a career by earning a bachelor’s in public relations with a minor in gerontology before obtaining a master’s in organizational communication and aging services. Steve worked for the Alzheimer’s Association National Office and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation before joining his current team at AMC. As someone who truly lives his mission in working for AAHPM, he says, “It is an honor and a privilege to work with healthcare professionals who care so deeply for the most vulnerable and sickest patients day in and day out.”

Steve is a certified association executive (CAE) and a fellow of the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE) where he currently serves as board president. He is a frequent speaker, facilitator, author and podcaster, covering a variety of topics related to governance, team-building, decision-making and strategic planning.

Outside of AMC, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons, reading, skiing, and connecting with friends—both old and new.

1.9: Balancing Life and Leadership with Michelle Mills Clement

1.9: Balancing Life and Leadership with Michelle Mills Clement

From imposter syndrome to stepping into opportunities when they present themselves, a master of personal growth, Michelle Mills Clement discusses how she’s advanced her career by being open to taking on new responsibilities. Hear inspiring stories of community, growth and support from those who work alongside her within association management — both peers and the volunteers. Michelle shares ways mentors and colleagues have inspired her and how authentic leadership can create meaningful connections in both professional and personal life.

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

“Don’t be afraid to make a move, you can always come home, which is what I’ve learn. You come back stronger, more engaged, and you’ve learned a lot about yourself.”


Michelle 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 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.

Michelle 1Michelle 2

1.8: Leveraging Strengths and Self Reflection with Christina Rowe

1.8: Leveraging Strengths and Self Reflection with Christina Rowe

Leadership and team development expert, Christina Rowe, helps individuals and teams maximize their potential. This includes encouraging others TO explore and employ strategies to improve communication, reduce friction and improve quality of life. In this episode, the Conversations by Association co-host shares insights on how professionals at all stages of their career can take responsibility for their own development plan – including identifying partners, collaborators and mentors. She also discusses the importance of identifying “blind spots” if left unchecked, could impact workplace interactions and opportunities for career advancement.

Christina Rowe
Founder at The Collaborative


“Working within your strengths is the most natural way to engage in your work…and this leads to more fulfillment and success.”

As a Leadership and Team development Consultant, and Gallup-Certified in Strength-based coaching, Christina Rowe helps individuals, leaders, and whole teams achieve new levels of success and enjoyment in their roles. Holding a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, focused on successful organizational development, change, and culture. She supplies teams, boards, and entire organizations with the tools to communicate, reduce conflict, and be highly productive, resulting in more engaged teams, who often even report higher quality of life as a result.

Christina has worked with board of directors in many fields, as well as leaders in their industries from medical specialties, technology, construction, to creative production. She has been a repeat speaker at conferences for medical professionals, as well as association management and nonprofit management professionals. Christina offers solutions that amplify the strengths and assets that exist, just waiting to be utilized, and helping individuals feel valued for their contributions. Christina started The Collaborative LLC in 2014 with the mission to improve individuals’ lives through helping them feel more valued at work, and helping leaders empower their team members to succeed.

With a keen ability to swiftly identify the dynamics, strengths, and interactions of teams and leaders, Christina is a powerful resource for organizations looking to improve their team effectiveness by advancing their productivity, communication, and overall team bond.

In short, when teams want to achieve their full potential, they call Christina.

1.7: Translating Leadership Theory into Practice with Ken Slaw

1.7: Translating Leadership Theory into Practice with Ken Slaw

Some people have a passion for leadership. Others have passion for learning. For more than 20 years, Ken Slaw has been combining both in an effort to create unique experiences for himself, association members and colleagues. Discover unique concepts and insights regarding how to create an environment where professionals can continuously grow, learn and thrive in their work and lives.

Ken Slaw, PhD
Executive Director, Society for Vascular Surgery


“We all need to find time for reflection.”

Dr. Slaw received his masters and doctoral degrees in educational psychology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Ken has over 30 years of executive leadership experience in the medical society arena. He currently serves as the Executive Director, of the Society for Vascular Surgery, an organization of 6,000 members dedicated to the prevention and treatment of vascular disease. Prior to this he served on the Executive Staff of the American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of 64,000 members dedicated to optimizing the health and well-being of children.

In his various roles Ken has developed and led implementation of 200+ organizational visioning and strategic plans, including the widely published Vision of Pediatrics 2020 project.

He also has a strong passion for leadership development. Ken is a founder and served on the Steering Committees of multiple leadership program initiatives including the AAP Pediatric Leadership Alliance and AAMSE Leadership Academy, and has been a principal curriculum architect, and lead faculty, for programs reaching over 3,000 thousand physicians and health professionals with the message and skills to lead.

Ken has an impressive history of volunteer service and leadership in his profession as well as his community.

  • He served as 2009 President of the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE)
  • Founder and past Chairman of the Membership Directors Consortium of the Council on Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS)
  • Past Chairman of the Board of the Make a Wish Foundation of Illinois
  • Past Chairman of the National Chapter Leadership Council of Make a Wish of America
  • President of FD NOW, a national foundation Ken created with his spouse, Ann, to find treatment and cure for their son’s illness, familial dysautonomia.
  • Dr. Slaw is the recipient of 2013 University of Illinois Humanitarian Award
  • Dr. Slaw is the recipient of the 2015 University of Illinois-College of Education Distinguished Educator Award.
1.6: Seeking New Experiences with Pat Blake

1.6: Seeking New Experiences with Pat Blake

Pat Blake has energy and passion for many things – especially change. In this episode, hear how she identifies and embraces new opportunities – from transitioning to a new CEO role to becoming president of ASAE. Pat offers practical advice and insights regarding small group dynamics, building trust and how to navigate difficult issues and isolation faced by today’s CEOs.

Patricia Blake
CEO at Heart Rhythm Society

“When embarking on a new endeavor, think about what skills are needed to help you and others grow.”


As Chief Executive Officer, Ms. Blake leads the 6,000+ member professional society in its goal to end death and suffering due to heart rhythm disorders. Ms. Blake joined HRS in March 2019 and is privileged to continue to expand HRS’ position as the premier global resource for information on heart arrhythmias, which serve over 35,000 constituents across six countries.

Patricia Blake began her association career as a meeting planner for the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in Dearborn, Michigan. She relocated to Minneapolis to join the American Academy of Neurology where she ultimately served as the Deputy Executive Director. Pat and her family relocated again to Chicago to serve as the Executive Director for the Emergency Nurses Association. In 2002, she was named Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) a 15,000 member professional medical association.

Throughout her career, Pat’s deep understanding of organizational culture and small group dynamics has enabled her to work effectively with member leaders and staff to transform, build and grow each organization she has served. Her strong believe in collaboration and patient focus has served as a cornerstone of her leadership. Ms. Blake served as a member of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Business Services Board, was named an ASAE Fellow in 2013, served as a Director on the ASAE Board, and is currently the ASAE Foundation Chair and the Chair-elect of ASAE. Ms. Blake is a former Chair and an active member of the Key Professional Associations Committee (KPAC). She is a past Board member and Chair of the Association Forum of Chicagoland and the 2014-15 Shapiro Award recipient.

1.5: Building Lasting Connections with Marilyn Jansen and Lindsey Nelson

1.5: Building Lasting Connections with Marilyn Jansen and Lindsey Nelson

Finding the good advisors and mentors can be a challenge in your career, complicated at times by the efforts to sustain those valuable relationships. On this episode take a peek inside a long-time mentoring relationship with Marilyn and Lindsey as we discuss forming and sustaining valuable relationships in your career.

Marilyn Jansen
Executive Director, Business Development with Association Management Center

“If you’re starting a new opportunity, sit back and watch and to observe others and then to try to make those connections with those individuals.”


After a successful career in both corporate American and as an entrepreneur, Marilyn joined AMC in 2006 where she has brought her organizational and business development expertise in delivering products and services. In her role, she works closely with volunteer boards that are searching for business solutions that are cost effective and will bring their organization to the next level. Marilyn is an excellent listener and comes up with strategies to move goals forward and has the ability to create just the right team to deliver effective results. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Midwest Pain Society.

Marilyn is actively involved at AMC Institute, Association Forum and ASAE serving as a leader on many committees and task Force. Currently, she is incoming chair of ASAE’s AMC Professional Advisory Council. Marilyn has presented sessions at Association Forum’s Annual Meeting, ASAE’s Great Ideas and Annual Meeting, at the AMC Institute’s Annual Meeting and AMC’s Engage! Program, as well as at IAEE’s Women’s Leadership Conference. Presentations and public speaking are a regular part of Marilyn’s role and she is very effective at developing and presenting solutions to volunteers and boards. In 2013 she received the John C. Thiel Award for distinguished service from the Association Forum.

Marilyn holds a BS in Communication and Business Administration from Illinois State University.

Lindsey K. Nelson, CAE
Vice President, Programs & Services, NAMA

“Build a diverse portfolio of experience and be able to see the industry from a lot of different perspectives.”


Lindsey has worked for National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), the trade association representing the $25B US convenience services industry, since 2013. In her role as Vice President, Lindsey is responsible for driving non-dues revenue programs including events, education, and fundraising as well as the organization’s marketing and digital communications departments. Lindsey also serves as the Executive Director of the NAMA Foundation.

Prior to joining NAMA, Lindsey served in the capacity of a fundraising consultant to a variety of professional and trade associations, including NAMA, and successfully raised over $5 million dollars as a part of a ground-breaking capital campaign.

Lindsey is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and was named a 2014 Forty Under 40 Award recipient by the Association Forum & USAE. She is also an active mentor, volunteer & presenter at the Association Forum and has served in leadership roles on a variety of SIGs and committees and is currently serving in the capacity of Chair to the COO/#2 SIG.

Lindsey is a proud graduate of Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame and currently resides in the Irving Park neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and two sons.

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