NEW YORK (June 10, 2015) – Arianna Huffington, editor-in- chief of the Huffington Post Media Group; Michael Williams, chief marketing officer for Grand Prix of America, Formula 1; Reynaldo Tariche, president of the FBI Agents Association are just some of the diverse and inspirational voices heard at Kellen’s second annual Associations: 2020 and Beyond conference, held June 4 at the Apella Event Space in New York City.
Huffington, Williams and several leaders from the association industry explored a range of topics as they relate to associations, including the changing nature of networks; what it takes to be an effective leader; and how to make your ‘brand’ stand apart from the rest.
The theme of this year’s conference, Strength in Networks, proved to be a huge success. The afternoon keynote speaker for this intimate, one-day event came from Arianna Huffington, who discussed ‘fearless leadership,’ sharing key insights from her latest book, Thrive. Despite the importance of digital and social media in the success of organizations today, Huffington emphasized that ‘digital detoxing’ is just as important for the leaders who run them, and that adequate sleep is crucial to performance.
“When we’re tired, we become reactive, less creative and, therefore, not as good of a leader,” said Huffington. “Today, there is a collective disillusion that burnout is required for success…this is not the way to lead. We need to redefine what success is and revolutionize this way of thinking, our culture our workplaces and our lives.”
The morning keynote featured marketing guru, Michael Williams, who encouraged all attendees to ‘think differently’ when it comes to their brand – something many association and professional society leaders fail to recognize their organization as.
“Marketing isn’t a department, it’s a discipline,” said Williams. “Fifty percent of the world’s current population is under the age of 30, with 96 percent of those people belonging to social media…Given the speed at which the world is changing, you need to be able to not just speak to your audience, but to speak to them at the moment they want to be spoken to…You need to think differently.”
Following Williams’ keynote was an executive panel discussion that included association industry experts Karen Chupka, senior vice president of the International CES and corporate business strategy for the Consumer Electronics Association; Louis Coletti, president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers’ Association; and Mary Roth, executive director for the Risk and Insurance Management Society. Key topics of discussion included revenue generation, embracing the next generation of professionals and the challenges of governance restructure in the midst of the new digital age.
“We’re lucky to have a board that has embraced social media and technology,” said Roth, highlighting the key role these elements play in the association world today.
The panel was followed by two breakout sessions: Advocating for Your Industry’s Cause and Understanding and Communicating with Your Membership Segments.
Advocating for Your Industry’s Cause and Understanding featured panelists Paul Nathanson, founding partner at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP; Reynaldo Tariche, president of the FBI Agents Association; and Ralph Vasami, group vice president at Kellen, who all spoke to the importance of getting members involved in the lobbying process when it comes to issues and legislature that directly affect their industries.
“Members who can explain how certain issues effect real people in a congressional district can tell your story better than you can,” said Nathanson. “Members of congress need information, and if you don’t promote yours, your opponents will promote theirs instead.”
The panel also addressed the importance of having a plan in the event of a crisis situation, which, Tariche advises, should include establishing relationships with the media in advance.
“Associations need to have a policy regarding when they should engage,” added Vasami. “The biggest temptation for most associations is to fight back right away, which isn’t necessarily the best approach in a crisis situation.”
Understanding and Communicating with Your Membership Segments included panelists Jeremey Donovan, chief marketing officer at American Management Association International; Sarah Angel-Johnson, chief digital cookie executive for Girl Scouts of the USA; Loretta Cranbourne, managing director of membership, marketing and sales at the American Society of Civil Engineers; and Meredith Taylor, account executive and membership specialist at Kellen.
The panelists in this session emphasized the importance of employee engagement, working with other local chapters and hyper-segmentation when it comes to communicating across both traditional and social media.
Speaking about communicating with her membership segments, Angel-Johnson noted, “Most girls would choose a phone over having a bed – but texting is archaic for this demographic. It’s all about social media. On the other hand, their parents like to see things on paper. You have to cater your communication platforms to each of your audiences.”
For more information about the conference, visit www.kellenconference.com.
Kellen is a global management and communications company serving more than 125 trade associations, professional societies and charitable organizations representing over 10,000 companies and 100,000 professionals worldwide. We specialize in management, communications, digital strategy, regulatory affairs, meetings and events, and consulting across a diverse range of industries. Founded in 1964 and charter-accredited through the AMC Institute, Kellen has offices in Atlanta, Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, Denver, New York City and Washington, D.C.