Blog post by Katie Berry, Team Manager
As a first-time attendee, I wasn’t sure what I should expect from the Washington Society of Association Executives (WSAE) Annual Convention, 50 Years Bold. I can tell you now that after three days of engaging sessions and networking with others in the association world, I left feeling inspired, reenergized, and proud of the work we do with and for associations every day.
For those who may be unfamiliar, WSAE defines itself as a learning community of association management professionals passionately supporting and encouraging each other to grow. Now celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, the WSAE Annual Convention is the premier networking and educational event of the year for the Washington State association management community, where association executives and industry suppliers gather to discuss the most important trends in association management.
Of the many lessons, tips, and tricks I took away, these messages stand out the most.
The one thing all of us can count on for certain is change, and in the association world, change can be scary. Changes in funding, leadership, and volunteer support all carry implications for how we operate and execute on our missions. We can all relate to the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty that often comes with change, especially when it is unwelcome or sudden. And yet, resisting change only keeps us from continuing on our path forward. Change can either stop us in our tracks or allow us to get creative. It is up to us to decide our fate.
We Are Powered by People
So often we overlook that people are behind every process, policy, plan, and proposition that our associations set into motion. Without individual members, volunteers, staff, and other supporters, our associations would be meaningless. These people each have their own dreams and ambitions, responsibilities and commitments, and they are choosing to share some of their time and energy with our organizations. With so much of our work happening online and behind screens, it can be easy to get caught up in transactional exchanges and lose sight of the human element that brings happiness and meaning to our work. I challenge all of us to reach beyond that need to just get things done and to enjoy the journey along the way. Keeping this perspective is crucial to your ability to be an effective leader, and your association will be stronger as a result.
Build and Foster Your Network
Attending WSAE this year opened my eyes to the importance of continually working on building my network and fostering relationships. You never know who you might meet and when you might need to tap into your network’s resources. Every relationship is important.
On top of these lessons learned, the WSAE Convention also gave me a new perspective on the things I experience every day in my work with association leaders, volunteers, and peers. The convention provided me with new tools to be able to identify strengths, weaknesses, and blind-spots, and most importantly it provided me with a new language and approach for communicating more effectively. I feel fortunate to be part of such an incredible community of association leaders, organizers, advocates, and supporters, and I look forward to giving back and getting more involved.
Special thanks to 2018 WSAE Convention Chair, Brenda Orffer, for her hard work and great conversation, and to all who contributed to making the event a wonderful experience.
About the Author
Katie is a team player who is dedicated to having fun while doing serious work. Her intrinsic enthusiasm and passion for helping others succeed make her a great fit for our team. She has a background in marketing and communications and enjoys the creative and collaborative process involved in helping clients thrive. She says the best part of her job is getting to work with high-performing professionals and experts from many different industries, but we know it’s also the endless amounts of coffee. Outside of work, Katie devotes much of her time to exploring the outdoors with her Dobermann Pinscher, Bentley, and reading good books
SBI will also be attending the American Society of Association Executives™ (ASAE) next month in Chicago, Illinois. Connect with us on social media to follow our story.