October 6, 2014
I’ve been traveling to India regularly for more than 30 years. Most recently, I was speaker and moderator at the 4th India Association Congress, held in Jaipur. Participants in the discussion were senior executives from India’s association community. Global speakers included Arlene Pietranton, 2014 ASAE chairman and CEO of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; Daniel Tschudy, About Cross Culture and The Global Hospitality Business; Ed Rigsbee, Rigsbee Enterprises, Inc.; Martin Sirk, ICCA; Paul Ramsbottom, IMIS; Susan Sarfati, High Performance Strategies, LLC; and William Teo, Business Psychologist.
Lively discussion took place throughout the two full two days of the event. Some of the insights that were discussed:
- Indian association leadership is adapting to new generations. Leaders are improving their practices when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff, as well as gaining young professionals as members and volunteers. Gender equality is moving, as women now reach the top of profession in business and volunteer ranks.
- There was a sense that the President Modi’s government will create a new business climate. Although one of his first moves on the international front was the rejection of the WTO-Bali deal, it is clear India comes to the fore in international organizations. Advocacy and law are moving towards more transparency and at a faster pace of coming to conclusions in a heavy democratic but bureaucratic process.
- Some international leaders, such as staff from IEEE, discussed how professional societies can be successful in India by creating new programs and business opportunities. The German-based machine and engineering association shared how they have made their mark in India for the past 20 years.
- The session on Corporate Social Responsibility revealed the distinctive approach India has taken to commit businesses to sustainability. Recent laws require that a percentage of business profit is dedicated towards CSR initiatives and goals.
- Association management and conference organization companies were recognized for offering their business skills and outsourcing opportunities for services. These companies can provide an essential foothold for associations from abroad.
I certainly learned a lot from the event, as did other attendees. Arlene Pietranton from ASAE said, “As is true the world over, the work that associations in India do truly helps to make for a better, safer and smarter society.” Susan Sarfati added, “There was a great deal of learning taking place in addition to the excellent networking opportunities.”
You can learn more about the event at their website. CIMGlobal, organizer of the conference, is the strategic alliance partner of Kellen and is the leading association management and PCO, with offices in the major cities in India.