May 5, 2015
Keeping up with progress that seems to happen at the speed of light is a daunting task. We know we have to stay abreast of so many changes, especially in our own industries, in order to stay relevant and productive in our jobs. With the limited time we have between demanding careers and family obligations, how do we find time to devote to our own professional development?
We asked a few Kellen executives to weigh in on what they do on a regular basis to enrich and refresh their knowledge and skills.
Joan Cear, Sr. Vice President, Communications, finds it especially challenging in her field – one of the fastest moving industries today – but has found a way to incorporate it into her daily schedule. “My professional development is intertwined with Kellen’s ‘professional development’ in that I’m involved in professional societies and I attend conferences and programs which not only help me, but help Kellen stay at the forefront of new strategies and tactics in communications.” She is the lead for Kellen’s relationship with the WorldCom PR Group and on the board of the New York Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). She also led Kellen’s involvement in 2014 in the inaugural Communications Week New York and will attend the WorldCom annual meeting in Rio at the beginning of May – her first with them.
Debra Berliner, Sr. Vice President, Communications – “I find it very exciting to be a part of such a rapidly changing and challenging industry. It’s imperative to keep up with advances in technology, from digital strategy and analytics to search visibility to trends in web site design and new social media platforms.” She reads as much as she can online and attends networking and educational events. She is also happy to learn from her talented digital team members.
David Stumph, Vice President, Kellen Denver encourages his association management team to actually belong to an association. “By attending educational workshops and serving on various committees for the Colorado Society of Association Executives (CSAE), my account managers get direct training and exposure to the larger association community which serves as an ideal basis for their professional development and subsequent career growth.”
Alfons Westgeest, Managing Partner and Group Vice President, Kellen Brussels, keeps on top of his professional development by involving himself in the field of higher education and other activities. In addition to teaching at several universities, including the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and The Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, a Faculty of the Université libre de Bruxelles, he’s also involved with EU Lobbying and association strategic management. “In organizing myself around ‘what to teach, how, themes and topics,’ it helps me focus on bigger trends while creating new networks for Kellen’s European operations.” Serving as the only ASAE Fellow for Kellen at this time, he has the opportunity to regularly meet with other ASAE Fellows at ASAE annual events.
Holly Koenig, Vice President, Kellen New York, has been deeply involved in association management for most of her career and has earned many service awards along the way. “Although I have many Kellen colleagues with deep expertise in multiple industries and professional disciplines at my fingertips, I feel it’s absolutely imperative to get out of the office for additional professional development.” She also has belonged to many associations and has been very actively involved, serving on their boards and committees. One of the societies of which she is a member is the New York Society of Association Executives. She enjoys their educational programming and networking with her peers.
How do they find the time to fit professional development into their busy schedules?
Holly Koenig: “I check my associations’ calendars six months to a year ahead of time. I plan on attending those events I feel will best support my current professional development goals.” Both she and her husband work their busy schedules around their teenage daughter’s activities as well.
Alfons Westgeest: “There is no better way to making sure it happens than by getting things down on the calendar ahead of time and sticking to the commitment, whatever comes up.” Important family matters also are of course, on top of his “to do” list.
Joan Cear: “As the saying goes, ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person.’ When something is important to you, you find a way to get it done, even when that means extending the workday or devoting time on weekends. Many wonderful professional opportunities present themselves outside of “business hours.”
David Stumph: “Not an easy task – finding time for staff to participate in offsite educational events is tough. Fortunately, CSAE’s monthly luncheon meetings offer presentations on important association topics as well as a chance to network, all during a fairly short lunch break and close by to the office. “
In addition to individuals finding their own opportunities, Kellen also is committed to providing professional development to its employees. Kellen provides ongoing education during the year, and, it holds an annual, multi-day, company-wide educational summit. The Manager’s Summit provides a unique opportunity for professional growth by offering a wide variety of thought-provoking session topics in areas such as association management, leadership, meetings and communications as well as a chance to share the combined knowledge and experience of the global 300+ professionals who make up the company.