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Interviews and earthquakes: AMPED takes flight for global mission

ISA Mexico med rez

“Going global” has become quite the popular phrase and it’s a trend that cannot be ignored. With increasing resources to expand an organization’s reach to countries around the world, globalization is inevitable to stay relevant. But going global is about more than serving members from other countries and hosting international meetings. In order to truly identify as a global organization, you need to tailor your operations to a specific region. What exactly does this mean? It means that in order to really understand the members in a region, you need to fully comprehend the characteristics that define that particular region. Such characteristics include culture, language, law, technology and economics. Without a thorough understanding of these, it would be nearly impossible to serve members in a way that is truly beneficial to them.

As the global coordinator for one of AMPED’s international clients, I can certainly appreciate the various characteristics that define different regions around the world and make them distinctive; however, I’m not qualified to know each and every unique characteristic. What our client, the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), needed in the Latin American region was someone who spoke the language and could provide the expertise that AMPED was not capable of providing as a company based in the United States. With that goal in mind, AMPED President and Owner Lynda Patterson and I were off to Mexico to find our first regional coordinator in Latin America.

At first, traveling to Mexico City to conduct job interviews for what would be a part-time contractor may have seemed excessive. With the invention of Skype, why were we going to such lengths? Actually, we did hold Skype interviews initially; however, after one failed attempt to hire outside of the States based on a Skype meeting, we knew interviewing candidates in person was the right way to go. Not only did the in-person interviews prove our initial impressions wrong (the individuals we liked on Skype were not nearly as impressive in person, and vice versa), we also had the opportunity to see the candidates interact firsthand at an industry expo show held in Mexico City during our stay.

It was at the expo that I was reminded how important it was to be on location in Mexico. It was so exciting to see the responses by attendees and other exhibitors when they were told CSIA was opening an office in Mexico City. This was an important step toward becoming a global organization – to be genuinely perceived as a part of that country/nation/region.

It also gave prospective members confidence in our client’s organization. In fact, our time spent at the show concluded with some encouraging words by a prospective member and fellow exhibitor who said, “It’s unfortunate in Mexico that there are so many brilliant engineers who don’t have the resources they need to run a successful business.” With CSIA’s presence and dedication to providing custom-tailored benefits and resources in the region, these promising companies can take the next step toward improving themselves and increasing their success.

I suppose there could have been easier ways to accomplish this first step toward “going global,” but at AMPED we are committed to going the extra mile (literally) to assure quality and confidence in our team – even if it means traveling across borders or surviving earthquakes. (Yes, you read that right – there was an earthquake when we were there!) The success of this trip definitely gives CSIA encouragement and builds excitement to keep moving forward to become a global force worldwide.

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Sweating is for the gym – not for social media

sweat III

Managing social media is like working out. You know you should be doing it regularly, but it’s so easy to neglect when so many other tasks need our focus.

From day one, we at AMPED have made social media part of our marketing and communications strategy, opening and managing accounts in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for all of our clients. And while we have seen impressive growth in our audience and impressions, I’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t always been a smooth process.

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The importance of clear governance and decision-making

While day-to-day financial management, membership growth, conference planning, marketing and keeping our websites and social media up to date takes much of our time, I can't stress enough the importance of clear, transparent governance and decision-making.

Governance and decision-making should be done collaboratively among the board and staff, and the process reviewed annually and incorporated into board training. Whether a "stand-alone" association, or part of an association management company (AMC), it is better to have clear expectations before a problem or misunderstanding occurs. Especially with volunteer leaders changing annually, it is imperative that the culture remain constant and volunteers adhere to the association platform of governance, not their own or that of their own company.

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