Laurence Bolotin, CAE is the executive director for Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He shares his advice on working in the association industry.
How did you start your career in association management?
Without even realizing it, my first job out of grad school was for an association (Associated Students, Inc. at Cal State San Marcos). While it felt more like working at the University, I was actually an employee of a non-profit organization ran by students that focused on advocating for students at California State University San Marcos.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before becoming an executive director?
I wish the first piece of advice I received would have been to look outside my specific area of the industry (in addition to inside) for best practices and advice. It is natural to be insular in thought, but when we realize tens of thousands of association professionals in this industry can offer valuable insight too, we then become the most effective in our roles.
What is the best professional advice you have received?
Don't pretend to be an expert in something you're not. It's okay to call on assistance from those who know better.
What do you find to be valuable resources for your position?
Resources available from ISAE, ASAE and the Fraternity Executives Association (FEA) are at the top of my list.
What is your favorite part of your job?
The people who share my passion for Fraternity.
What advice would you give to aspiring executive directors/CEOs?
Find what you're good at and passionate about and run with it. We spend too much time focusing on improving our weaknesses that we end up wasting time when we can be out there changing the world.