What ASAE10 meant to me

The catalyst for this blog came from my experiences at ASAE’s annual meeting in LA.  Here are some of my professional and personal takeaways from this meeting.

Technology and social media continues to improve the annual meeting experience

Following the ASAE10 Twitter feed gave me a chance to learn what was going on in sessions I couldn’t attend.  I made new Facebook friends and gained new people to follow on Twitter.   Smartphone apps helped manage our schedules.  Couldn’t attend in person, you could attend virtually.  As a tech geek, having so many options to connect and communicate has made planning for and attending ASAE annual meetings fun.

Virtual friends became real friends

One of the highlights of ASAE was finally meeting two of my Twitter idols face to face, Kiki L’Italien (@kikltalien) and Deirdre Reid, CAE (@deirdrereid).  Our interactions unfortunately were brief. However, I look forward to connecting with them and others I follow on Twitter (@sjreeves) as we continue this postmortem.

There’s a need for more programming on advocacy

Dear ASAE, you may be shocked to learn that association lobbyists and other government relations professionals attend the annual meeting.  Another shocker, non-GR professionals may want advocacy sessions to help them prepare for, oh I don’t know, the CAE exam!  While the programming has improved, there needs to be more.  How about 2 advocacy sessions per day?  Heck, you can just replicate some of the GR School sessions.  It would be a start.

Networking can be more valuable than an educational session

While I attended some great sessions, I got so much more out of the networking aspect of the meeting.  I gain more from a 30 minute conversation at lunch than being talked to for an hour and fifteen minutes.  Speaking of which…

We need to challenge ourselves when it comes to sessions

The PowerPoint lecture is old and tired.  Let’s do something different for a change.  If the weather is nice, let’s hold a session outside.  Do a walk and talk.  Serve cookies and milk.  Something that says ASAE is on the cutting edge of meetings.  We talk about innovation.  Now let’s actually do it.

Diversity and inclusion remains a challenge to achieve

I know this conversation is uncomfortable for many, but let’s have a frank discussion for a minute.  D&I have become a sideshow at the annual meeting.  You don’t see it in the general sessions.  You don’t see it in the activities.  You don’t even see it in the materials.  Why? Because a lot of people don’t care.  Until more of us care about this and call out those who should but don’t, this will remain an issue.

Never underestimate the power of connections

Without going into detail, I had a very moving and powerful experience with some colleagues during the meeting.  I needed it more than they will ever realize.  This experience has forced me to face the reality that I neglect some of my connections and may have to let go of others for my own sanity.

Some of the ASAE staff deserve a medal

From the minute they land in the host city to the minute they fly out, they are on call for us.  Many do not get the recognition they deserve and have to deal with the crap we heap on them.  A message to ASAE leadership: give these folks a break at least after 6 pm.  Nothing is that critical that they have to deal with it at 11 pm. These people need to sleep and eat like the rest of us.

So now what?

Now that ASAE10 is over, how do I take the lessons learned and apply it so that becomes a part of me?  Am I really going to have someone call me every day and ask 27 questions?  No.  However, I can schedule coffees, lunch or drinks with colleagues new and old.  I can volunteer my time to plan advocacy sessions at ASAE11. I can even write up my own proposal.  We all have a hand in making this meeting and our association better.


6 thoughts on “What ASAE10 meant to me

  1. Thanks for starting this blog and sharing your thoughts on your #ASAE10 experience. While it is especially thoughtful of you to mention that ASAE staffers need sleep (which I can very much relate to), I’d be of the camp that would prefer to work (or should I say “work”) past 6 (or even 11) pm, and get a slightly later start in the morning. I just find the conversations at the end of the day are just so much richer than the early morning ones (although the panel at the DELP breakfast proved that some association execs can function at a very high level at the crack of dawn).

    I look forward to your future posts!

  2. @ Greg – I understand completely and agree with the end of the day conversations. I’ve have some great ones with ASAE staff during the last few meetings. I’m not a morning person, but will push through it for my annual meeting just so I can exhale at a decent hour.

  3. Thanks for writing–you make some great points here, especially the diversity one, which no one wants to hear but should be called out on. My son starts high school next week with 46% of his class belonging to minority populations. That is the new reality, and we’ve got to get with the program or we will be out-competed, out-innovated, out of date, and out of the loop in no time.
    Also appreciate the shout-out to staff, although honestly, as Greg says, we all love to chatter to members late-night, too, so we bring a lot on ourselves! 🙂 My solution is power bars, little to no alcohol (so I don’t feel drowsy), and a hefty wad of business cards! Again, glad you could come and thanks for sharing your insights.

    1. Thanks Kristin! I’m flattered/shocked/frightened that ASAE staff is reading and commenting on the blog given that it’s so new. I hope to continue getting your support and constructive feedback.

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