President's message from WSAE VantagePoint magazine, Winter 2015 — As we jump into 2015 with exciting new initiatives and a “changing of the guard,” I want to briefly highlight the Best of 2014 from my point of view.
Membership growth – WSAE hit 500 members! Yes, that is a great accomplishment and not only represents well the association workforce in our state, but also interest in WSAE from members outside of Wisconsin, ultimately strengthening our position for all members to engage, innovate and network among their peers. WSAE is a unique society with a unique value proposition. Our continued growth reflects our excellence in leadership and innovation, coupled with year-round opportunities for face-to-face interaction at a reasonable price – often, free!
Innovation Summit – We made people uncomfortable. Check! That was our intention with the new, interactive format and casual setting, requesting all attendees to come in their jeans – and they did! The two-day event mixed education with innovation and opportunity thinking using hands-on, team building workshops. Next year we will take those experiences into the field. More to come!
Engagement – A buzz word for all associations now in a changing world. WSAE did away with traditional committees and hierarchical volunteer options several years ago. Today members can engage online, in person, individually, in groups, for a short time or up to a three-year term. WSAE offers a very dynamic association, welcoming to all!
Up next – 2015…..
New tiers in our organizational membership – As part of our overall plan for growth, we want to make WSAE accessible and relevant for all organization staff – not just “association professionals.” Our multi-tier organizational membership encourages experts from throughout your association (marketing, sales, fund raising, finance, IT, and so on) to get involved, acquire new skills and share some of their own. This is a great benefit for organizations of all sizes, whether you have a staff of 5 or 500.
An enhanced mentoring program – This peer-to-peer initiative is an opportunity for all members to learn from and share with each other, in a variety of subject areas important to associations and our industry partners (think marketing, social media, member engagement, international growth, whatever you’d like to discuss). Unlike a traditional mentoring program, this one goes in all directions and across all levels of experience.
Attracting talent – This is a challenge we’ll all face as the workforce tightens and generations exit and enter the workforce. The “War for Talent” white paper, developed in cooperation with Executive Director, Inc., and the subsequent webinar offered in January are a catalyst toward developing resources and ideas to help you prepare for this workforce shift. Watch for more on this in 2015.