From the minute we get up to the minute we go to bed, we’re surrounded by it: social media. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Skype. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up. But whether you dub it a blessing or a curse, there’s no denying social media platforms have made it easier to learn, to connect and to engage.
And that also means the state of the meetings industry – especially professional development – is changing, and we’re along for the ride.
“The most dramatic impact on the landscape has been brought about by the convergence of sweeping changes in technology (particularly mobile and social media), demographic shifts, content and knowledge dissemination and management – patterns that affect volunteering and the ability of organizations to meaningfully engage their members,” said Susan Robertson, executive vice president of American Society for Association Executives (ASAE). “That said, there are now opportunities to deliver content and an experience to members wherever they are and in ways they find convenient, affordable, engaging and valuable.”
And thus the exciting firsts of ORGPRO 2013, which will be held from July 8 to July 10 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center. Robertson and Cheryl Ronk, president of Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE), will close ORGPRO with a session titled, “Association Trends – Future Strategic Issues.”
From the economy to politics to shifting demographics, Robertson and Ronk will discuss industry trends. Leaders need to embrace change and respond to clues about the challenges that may affect their associations for years to come, they believe. But this means questions. Lots of questions. And you’ll get the answers at their session.
“ASAE is monitoring and influencing at the national level on a wide range of issues from policies affecting meeting and tradeshow attendance by government employees to protecting the tax exempt status of all of our organizations,” Robertson said. “State societies are also monitoring and influencing policies and issues at the state level that are unique to their states and regions.”
This will be Robertson’s first time attending ORGPRO, and like many of you, she’s excited about learning, networking and socializing. Since she’s an ORGPRO newbie, she’s not quite sure which advice to share.
But, she said, “Attending ORGPRO is an opportunity to leverage and build relationships and to learn the latest about state issues, peer-to-peer learning and perspectives on association leadership in general.”
“Known as the ‘Super Bowl of Conventions,’ ASAE’s Annual Meeting and Exposition is the flagship education and exposition opportunity for associations and nonprofit organizations in the United States,” Robertson said. “It is the must-attend event for all association professionals , whether they are representing trade associations, professional societies or philanthropic organizations.”
Like ORGPRO, the ASAE annual meeting will cater to all types of learners. In addition to more than 120 sessions, there will be three Game Changer sessions, three Master Class sessions, a Snap Learning Spot and a Green Safari for meeting planners.
Just a few of the topics on the agenda: sustainability, technology, working more efficiently, membership marketing and governmental relations.
In fact, Event Garde President Aaron Wolowiec and Donna Oser, founder of Vital Associations, will host a session, “Building Financial Momentum through Meetings and Collaboration,” which will focus on cross-functional collaboration strategies to positively affect attendance, engagement and membership numbers.
Robertson said ASAE received more than 400 session proposals, so narrowing the list to about 120 sessions wasn’t easy. But Wolowiec has spoken for ASAE previously and always receives positive feedback, she said.
It’s going to be an exciting couple months for Robertson and her colleagues – and for Event Garde. Two meeting platforms. Similar issues. Creative content. Engaged experiences. It’s all there.
So tell us…What do you think is the best part about conferences? After the dust settles and you’re back to your office, what do you hope sticks with you?