ASAE15: Where do we GO from here?

ASAE 15 was a different experience for me than in years past. It was my first annual as an Executive Director. I missed the annual DELP reunion so it was my only opportunity to see most of my DELP family. It was our first annual meeting in Detroit. I could focus on the good, the bad and the unusual, but I’ve decided to go with what’s next. What are going to do with the content knowledge we’ve gained? How will we use those hallway conversations? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Remember those people you met and said, “I’d like to connect with you”? Actually do it. Even if it’s a short email, follow-up immediately. We all get busy and soon becomes six months later becomes never.
  2. Get out of your comfort zone. If you’re curious about presenting, consider submitting an RFP to ASAE16. Inspired by Ignite? Consider submitting one. If ASAE annual has taught me anything, it’s that we are a supportive group who want to learn from each other. Every person you met at an ASAE annual meeting has content expertise worth sharing with others.
  3. Go for it. Get that CAE. Apply to DELP. Follow up on that job lead you heard about at lunch. It was ASAE annual in Toronto that inspired me to get the CAE.
  4. Lowell Aplebaum, Association Professional Extraordinaire did a series of Periscope interviews during ASAE15. During those interviews, he asked “What would we like to learn by the next ASAE annual meeting?” I have a number of goals including exploring new areas for non-dues revenue and developing a good relationship with my Board.
  5. Express gratitude. It takes a village to make an ASAE annual happen. Literally, hundreds of people made sure that we can find our shuttles, serve us meals and set up our laptops for presentations. Sometime in the next week or so, send a note to someone who made your ASAE annual experience memorable.

So where do I go from here? I started Association Advocacy Chick five years ago after ASAE in Los Angeles. I was in a place in my life where I wanted my voice heard and saw blogging as an opportunity to do that. As a result, I made a ton of new friends, took my association government relations career to new heights, and found that person that everyone else saw but me. I want to thank every person who has subscribed to the blog, read it, or received it from someone else. Without you, there will be no Association Advocacy Chick. With my association career going in a new and exciting direction, I’ve decided to put the blog on an indefinite hiatus. I still love to blog and hope to do more in other areas of association management. So I’m not saying goodbye forever. Just farewell….for now.


Achieving Success in Diversity and Inclusion

In August, ASAE introduced the 2015-2017 Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan as well as new policies on religious diversity and accessibility. We asked the D + I Committee’s Immediate Past Chair and 2008-2009 DELP Scholar Mariama Boney to talk about their important work.

Association Advocacy Chick: What are some of the responsibilities for ASAE’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee?

Mariama Boney: For nearly 25 years, the Diversity & Inclusion Committee has promoted diversity and inclusion in association management, develop recommendations on how to make ASAE’s leadership and membership more diverse, and assisted ASAE with integrating diversity and inclusion into initiatives, education, or programs. The committee also coordinates the ASAE Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP).

AAC : Identify some of the most pressing issues for associations when it comes to D + I. 

MB: Some key and most pressing issues for associations include:

  1. Promoting an understanding of and celebrating the various generations and cultures that are working together.
  2. Creating and fostering inclusive environments for all cultural groups to work together effectively.
  3. Growing recruitment, retention and equity of multicultural groups in at all levels – in hiring, membership, and boards.

As associations, we have to be innovative and willing to do something different. We’ve been distracted by the same conversations we’ve been having for years. Association professional must broaden the conversation and move toward action. According to US Census estimates, by the year 2020, the most prominent changes in the US workforce will be in the demographic areas of age, gender, national origin and race/ethnicity. Yet, less than 30% of associations have a Diversity & Inclusion initiative and only 21% have a designated staff person responsible for staff and/or membership diversity & inclusion.

AAC: The D&I Committee developed a new strategic plan for 2015-2017. Talk about some of the key points and what goes into developing such a plan. 

MB: We used the principles of scan, plan, implement, evaluate. The process was 8 months from start to finish.

First, we clarified the terminology regarding diversity, inclusion, diversity + inclusion and cultural competence.

Second,  we reviewed and clarified ASAE’s Diversity and Inclusion statement. Next we worked with a consultant in a day-long session to identify successes, strengths and gaps as well as opportunities to build from the earlier 2012-14 plan created under the leadership of D&I Committee Past Chair, Oleathia Gadsden.

Out of that dialogue and data review, we worked with a consultant secured by ASAE to engage a diverse work group in a visioning dialogue and outlined the impact and accomplishments we wanted to see for ASAE and the association community in 3-5 years. The priorities include a focus on:

  • Resources and Recognition
  • Reach and Relevance
  • Talent Development
  • Relationship Development

Then, the consultant and ASAE Sr. Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Alexis Terry, placed our thoughts, ideas and priorities into a workable framework and organized the ideas into major themes which yielded the primary goals and action steps.

I worked with an awesome core group of DELP class liaisons to engage over 100 association leaders, the ASAE executive team, the work group and the D&I committee to review the initial draft and highlight critical gaps. Finally, edits were made and the plan was formatted into a reader friendly publication by ASAE’s marketing team.

AAC: The D&I Committee assisted with recommendations to address religious diversity and accessibility. What prompted these recommendations? 

MB: The recommendations which are now approved policies grew out of best prescribes and the experiences of some ASAE members. When opportunities arise to be better and serve ASAE members better through suggestions or complaints, we have to gather the facts, examine the experiences and pay attention so we can explore opportunities for advocacy which then yields change.

So, as the opportunities and best practices regarding interfaith issues and accessibility on meeting came to our attention we thought it important to bring some action via policy. You can find these recommendations here. Information on accessibility at ASAE meetings can be found here.

AAC: How does the work of the D&I Committee affect/impact ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program?

MB: The committee generated the concept of DELP nearly 15 years ago and has served as the coordinating group in partnership with ASAE staff with the selection of each DELP class and the program model. Program operations, logistics and implementation are managed  by ASAE  staff.

The committee reviews the program purpose, goals, marketing, program criteria, selection process and program components and make revisions annually. Since the program has been such a great success with 135 alumni, a DELP subcommittee of the D&I committee now focuses on alumni engagement.

AAC: What will make associations successful in diversity and inclusion for the future?

MB: Have a committed and trained executive leadership team. Equip them with the courage to go beyond being PC about equity, diversity and inclusion. In addition…

  1. Get the Data. Many associations don’t know their strengths and challenges, and opportunities regarding diversity and inclusion which is why the Association Inclusion Index is so important. It is only $199 and well worth the investment.
  2. Develop a plan. Include diversity and inclusion in the strategic plan and integrate it throughout the organization.
  3. Focus on Recruitment. Build a diverse workforce through multicultural outreach.
  4. Measure Retention. Implement professional development and foster inclusive environments to keep a thriving and diverse workforce.

ASAE also created a video highlighting the importance of D+I to the association community and how we as association professionals can take the necessary steps to develop and implement D+I strategies within our own organizations. Check it out today!


Hi all! Just a quick hello before we head to Nashville for ASAE14. I was going to do a “tips on prepping for ASAE annual post”, but there are already a ton of great posts on this topic including this, this and this. I want to take this opportunity to plug some of the Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) and diversity+inclusion activities at ASAE this year.

DELP Lounge

Check out the DELP Lounge in the Music City Center, Davidson Ballroom, Salon C2. You’ll find information on the program, tips on applying to DELP and more. The lounge will be open on Sunday from 10 to 5; Monday from 9 to 5 and Tuesday from 8:30 to 12 noon.

Diversity & Inclusion Reception – 8/10 at 9 pm

Join members of the association community as we celebrate ASAE in Nashville at the Whiskey Bent, 306 Broadway. Stop through and say hello as you head to the many parties and receptions on Sunday night.                         

DELP Scholars presenting at ASAE 14 (Big thanks to Marilu Morada for putting this list together.)

Sunday, August 10

2:00 -3:30pm

The Changing Face of Society

Co-presenter: Horacio Gavilan


Monday, August 11

9:00-10:00 am

The Association Shark Tank: D&I Initiatives for Competitive Advantage

Co-presenters: Juan Amador CAE; Darlene Lebron Lopez, VJ Mayor, CAE; Shomari McCrimons; and Sikha Singh MHS, PMP


Get the Grant: Finding Funding Opportunities for Associations

Co-presenters: LaTanya Benford, Sharon Moss, CAE;  Lemmietta G McNeilly, CAE


2:00 -3:00 pm

All Aboard! The Move to a Smaller, Competency-Based Board 

Panelist: Mila Fuller, Ed.D, CAE


3:30 – 4:30 pm 

Building Community through Inclusion

Co-presenter: Shane Feldman, CAE


What Your Faculty Must Know to Make Your Meeting Memorable

Co-presenters: Tracy King CFD, CAE and Audra Franks, MTA, CMP, CAE


Tuesday, August 12

9:00 – 10:00am

Association Hunger Games: Victory or Defeat?

Co-presenter: Aaron D. Wolowiec, CAE, CMP, CTA



If I had 24 More Hours: VJ Mayor, CAE

How Not to Embarrass Yourself Doing Business Abroad: Darlene Lebron Lopez, MBA

Salsa for the Soul – The Secret to Lifelong Success: Eloiza Altoro, MA, CAE


10:30 – 11:30 am

Innovation in Plain Sight: ASAE’s Experiment with a New Product Development Framework

Co-presenter: Mariah Burton Nelson, MPH, CAE


Earning the CAE

Co-presenter: Nathan Victoria, CAE







Welcome DELP newbies

Congratulations to the DELP class of 2014-2016! Soon you will meet in DC to receive a formal orientation on all things DELP and ASAE. Afterwards, your class will travel to Detroit to meet your fellow DELPers for our annual reunion. There will be some laughs, some happy tears, some learning and a lot of fun! Before we get there, let me share a few words of wisdom with you.

1. DELP is what you make it. Give some thought to what you want the next two years and beyond to look like. Do you have a specific career goal in mind? Do you aspire to ASAE leadership? Whatever it is, put yourself in the mindset to take advantage of every opportunity presented to you through DELP.

2. To Whom Much Is Given, Much Will Be Required. You will gain so much from DELP: professional development, networking opportunities, and new contacts just to name a few. As DELP scholars, we are to volunteer on boards and committees; write for ASAE and other publications; present at conferences and offer their time and talents as needed.

3. Prepare to have your life forever changed. You may think you just applied for a professional development program. You didn’t. You joined a family of high achievers who look out for each other. We bring out the best in each other. When one succeeds, we all succeed. By the end of the weekend, you will gain over 100 brothers and sisters who will understand your challenges and help you find solutions.

So newbies, get ready. This is the start of a long, successful journey. See you in The D!

A convention odyssey

From July 31 – August 7, I traveled thousands of miles to attend 2 conferences in 2 cities on 6 planes in one week.  You see,  APA and ASAE annual meetings have the tendency to overlap in schedule. However, typically it’s during the years when APA is in DC.  This time around, I had to fly to both meeting locations. APA’s meeting was in Honolulu (insert JayZ’s Hard Knocked Life here) and ASAE was in Atlanta. Here are some of my key takeaways.

Hawaii is a fantastic place to hold a meeting

Yes, it takes awhile to get there (11 hours with a layover in Phoenix) and the airfare and/or hotel can be expensive. However, once you’re there, you can find plenty of low-cost options for food and entertainment. The Honolulu Convention Center is centrally located and there’s at least 10 hotels within a four-block radius. The Hilton Hawaiian Beach Resort and the Sheraton Waikiki (where I stayed) make great host hotels. The weather is fantastic. Being able to end a day in sessions with a walk on the beach is perfect for the weary convention attendees. I’m not sure when APA will return to Hawaii, but I’m so glad I had the opportunity to attend.

2013-08-06 22.27.56

DELP to the third power + Ignite = awesome

One of my favorite ASAE annual sessions is Ignite.  I can’t recall one Ignite at annual that was boring or horrible or featured an unprepared speaker. ASAE staffers do a tremendous job getting speakers ready.  However, it’s up to the speaker to be ready to take the stage in front of an ever-increasing crowd.

Once again, I had the honor of participating in the Ignite session at ASAE annual.  Unlike my other two presentations, I shared the stage with my two fabulous DELPers Artesha Moore and Valerie Fries Wade who had the vision for our presentation. It took a lot of work and practice.  In fact, we debuted our session at the most recent DELP reunion in June.  The difference between that and what we presented this past Tuesday is nothing short than amazing. For one person to do 20 slides in 5 minutes with slides advancing everything 15 seconds is a challenge.  For three people, it shows all of the hard work we put in with many of our practices occurring after hours using GoToMeetings.  Valerie and Artesha, you guys rock!


Nothing beats the energy of the association community. NOTHING.

ASAE annual is the one meeting that I have to attend. Why? It’s the only meeting where the conversation continues three days later and beyond. It’s the only meeting that regularly motivates me to be better. It’s the only meeting that I start planning for a year in advance. This year was particularly good as I had my first learning lab which had way more attendees than I thought it would. It generated a great conversation and another handout.  I truly enjoyed the closing session. I was proud to see my former ED Arlene Pietranton become the Chair of ASAE. Dan Heath’s keynote on decision-making was as if he knew my current situation and was giving me tools on how to deal with it.  A big thanks to ASAE for continuing to utilize DELP scholars at ASAE annual. I can’t remember a time in my six years of attending annual where I saw DELP scholars participating in almost every aspect of annual. I hope that my colleagues will continue to answer the call to service as annual is a great way to bring visibility to you and the program in general. As for the closing party, I have three words for you: Ice Cream Floats.


Atlanta taxi and shuttle drivers need a clue

Before I fly into any city, I research travel options from the airport. When I arrived Sunday morning , I approached a shuttle driver and asked about a trip into downtown Atlanta. He said sure and quote a price way higher than the regular cost of a shuttle going in that direction. I walked away until he agreed to the regular price. On Monday, I was traveling in a group of 8 from the Sheraton to a party in Midtown. Because we couldn’t find a van taxi, we took two separate cabs. One cab was charged $14 for the trip. The other was charged $16. I know the host city can only do so much, but they can try to minimize the some of the shady behavior some of the attendees experienced. Future host cities, demand that your taxi and shuttle drivers learn proper procedures and more importantly respect for visitors to your city.

I suck at packing

For someone who has traveled at least once a year for business since 1998, you would think that I would have a clue how to pack lightly. Sadly, I still haven’t learned my lesson. Granted I had two conferences to attend and more social events at ASAE, in hindsight, I should’ve packed smarter.  Both of my bags were heavy and I’m positive my large brown tote is on its last legs. Before my next trip, I will learn how to pack a bag that won’t threaten to break my back.

The 4 myths about DELP

One of my passions in life is ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program otherwise known as DELP.  I’ve talked about DELP a number of times and have featured many of my fellow scholars in my blog posts. However, the program seems to still be a mystery for many people. That mystique has led to some misconceptions. Well, it’s time to clear the air about what DELP is and more importantly, what it’s not.

Myth #1 – DELP scholars are entry-level staffers.

Reality – DELP scholars are mid and senior level professionals. More than a few came into the program as Executive Directors. Many of us have advanced degrees and worked in the association community for more than 10 years. When I was accepted into DELP in 2008, I was Director of Political Advocacy for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, had worked in the association community for 13 years and earned my MA in Government from Johns Hopkins University in 2002. I don’t think anyone would’ve considered me an entry-level staffer.

Myth #2 – DELPers receive a ton of benefits and do nothing in return.

Reality – DELP scholars serve on ASAE boards and committees. We’ve given presentations and conducted workshops for ASAE. We’ve made financial commitments to the ASAE Foundation and APAC. We advocate on Capitol Hill. DELPers are among the hardest working, visible members of the association community.

Myth #3 – The selection process is not competitive.

Reality – Those applying to the program must submit an application which includes a statement of support from your ED or President; a resume; two letters of recommendation and responses to three essay questions. The process is so competitive, many current scholars had to apply multiple times before finally gaining acceptance into the program (myself included).

Myth #4 – DELP Scholars do not get the CAE.

Reality – 45% of DELP scholars have their CAE.

So what should you know about DELP? DELP is an initiative to promote individuals within the association community. DELP scholars are professionals looking to make their mark in this industry. They are intelligent, motivated and successful. They want to set an example for our younger and more seasoned colleagues. They do give back.

Middle children ignite!

The Ignite session from ASAE 12 is now online on ASAE’s YouTube channel. Once again, I was honored to participate in what’s become the most fun and nerve-wracking presentation I’ve ever had to give. So if you missed the session or want to hear me retell the story of how I got that band-aid on my chin at age 3, check out the video below.  I hope you enjoy it!

Turning Middle Child Angst
into Career Success