What brought camaraderie, professional development, golf and community service together for one spectacular event this past month? The 2013 ISAE Annual Convention brought a full two days of excitement to Bloomington, Indiana with over 170 in attendance from July 16-18. Association professionals from around the state got the deluxe city tour during their stay with stops at famous locations like: Nick’s English Hut, Cascades Golf Course, FARMBloomington, Uptown Café, Oliver Winery, The Tap and more. The great education and array of unique event spaces created a memorable experience for many attendees while the staff celebrated a new record for out-of-town event attendance in over five years.
So, why was the event so successful this year? For starters, the convention saw a full makeover with the addition of a new 9-hole golf outing, bonus education offering with registration, CEO brunch and CEO panel industry update, as well as a community service project benefiting the teachers in the community.
Several convention goers commented with great feedback regarding the event and provided summaries of their experiences in the different sessions and networking events.
By Mary Ann Passi, CAE- Corporate Housing Providers Association
Energetic Camaraderie- That sums up my recent experience at the ISAE convention in Bloomington, IN. Whether you golfed (I didn’t!) or volunteered at the Teacher’s Warehouse (I did!), every aspect of the event had a great vibe and created shared experiences among colleagues. From a warm welcome at registration, easy to use app and reminders, to the white boards asking us about best vacations and books, someone carefully planned for us to have fun while networking and learning.
A non-profit staffed entirely by volunteers, this was a treasure warehouse of school supplies – new and gently used. Why were we there? To get stuff organized and set up so teachers could come in and quickly find what they need – at no cost. Most of us began as strangers. After folding cloth, shelving office products, and magically transforming boxes of ‘stuff’ into organized sections of school supplies, we came out of the shared experience as colleagues. Together, with many hands and a little time, we made a difference and ‘paid forward’ to impact teachers that in turn, impact children and teach them to give back somehow in the future. It was a great kickoff to several days together – I was high-fiving fellow volunteers the rest of the week when we passed each other in the hallways.
Resilient Association Executive Breakout Session
We’re often ‘forced’ to be flexible but are we resilient? This session focused on the need for personal energy. With our organizations, we routinely make professional goals, staying focused on achieving tangible outcomes. Dr. Marc Tinsley helped us consider our daily activities from a different perspective. Are we achieving professionally at the expense of our health personally? What makes us good execs can undermine our personal health. Dr. Tinsley provided tips to focus some of our drive into taking care of ourselves – as being healthy will allow us to be better professionals, resilient in mind and body. This resilience helps us better serve our organizations. We left with suggestions on ways to take small steps that will eventually have a big impact both on ourselves and those around us.
Presentation & Facilitation Skills Breakout
Here, high energy and camaraderie crescendo-ed! With a former SWAT negotiator turned curriculum/organizational consultant, John ‘Biff’ Holloway of Growth Guiders challenged us to articulate differences between presenters and facilitator s. This fast-paced session flew as we moved around the room, creating a dynamic experience together – one that we will try to emulate with our own organizations. We circled the perimeter of the room, offering input on flipcharts set in 2-minute increments, ending with Biff recapping our shared knowledge. We then moved into a Knowledge Café setting (aka World Café), a small group learning community. Like Vegas, what we discussed at the table, stayed at the table. We even had playing cards that divvied up the group by suit! This session ended with several shared experiences from which to learn and examples of different room sets that already has me rethinking our (boring) annual conference room sets.
At one event over two days, I toasted my attorney at a winery, sorted and color-coded binders for teachers-in-need, met new colleagues and brainstormed outside of my usual ‘circle’. What was the end goal of this energetic camaraderie? Coming back to my day job refreshed. Win/win/win! Where else but at ISAE?
Afternoon Keynote: 7 Ways Your Association Communications are Killing Your Membership Value Proposition
By: Kim Paugh, CAE- AMOA National Dart Association
If this title doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. Dave Stevens definitely delivered during his keynote lunch session at the ISAE Convention this year! Dave, a former Proctor & Gamble marketing executive and current owner of Stevens & Stevens Marketing and Communication Services, gave attendees simple ways to improve their member communications. Dave advocated keeping your organization’s value proposition at the center of EVERY association communication. He defined the value proposition in simple terms: why THEY care + proof you’re not lying. He also pointed out that many associations are afraid to “make a claim” about what they can do for the member and that you have to fearlessly tell your members what you do for them (make them $, advance their career, connect them to new business). Finally, Dave reminded us that the average person’s attention span (8 seconds) is scientifically proven to be less than a goldfish (9 seconds) so you have to get your message out there fast. Great reminders!
Stay tuned for more post-convention news including all event photos and the event recap from Twitter!