But what if associations took a risk? What if they thought out of the box a bit more? What if leaders granted more empowerment and flexibility to their staffs?
The first step to answering the “what ifs” is to attend ORGRPO 2013, said Donna Oser, founder of Vital Associations, and chair of the ORGPRO Task Force. Considered Michigan’s premier education and networking event for professionals in the nonprofit sector, the conference will be held from July 8 to July 10 at the Kalamazoo Radisson.
“Knowledge is the most significant competitive edge and sharpening our skills and learning about new trends are important strategies for building relevant, vital associations,” she said.
ORGPRO 2013 will offer two full days of educational programming for all levels of the employment spectrum. So who should attend? Everyone from top executives to volunteers to vendors.
Of course there will be networking opportunities. Lots of them. The first day, attendees will choose among Golf at Yarrow, a Kalamazoo Beer and Wine Tour or a tour of some of Kalamazoo’s best treasures, including the cottage of W.K. Kellogg and a backstage tour of Miller Auditorium. And for the first time, ORGPRO will offer myLounge, the ultimate place to connect, create and collaborate.
The second and third days of ORGRPO will feature three keynote presentations, 23 education sessions, two deep-dive learning sessions, three themed “Genius Bars” and a chief staff executive conference, Oser said. Education sessions cover eight tracks and are based on the Michigan Society of Association Executives’ (MSAE) new professional development model, ELEVANCE, which aims to increase competency in the areas of knowledge, relationships and perspectives.
C.R. Conant, of Consultant Executives in Action and CRC Creative Consulting Services, will kick off the keynotes. Speaking about empowerment, he’ll discuss how employees can become accountable for their own learning and professional development to achieve success.
Michael Gallery, president and founder of OPIS, LLC, will help conference attendees define outputs and performance while answering the tough questions that often seem to have no answers.
Finally, Cheryl Ronk, president of MSAE, and Susan Robertson, executive vice president of American Society for Association Executives (ASAE) and the president of the ASAE Foundation, will discuss trends in association management, technology, government and demographics – on a state and national level.
Some of the best learning stems from conversations outside the classroom and the blending of brainpower among colleagues. Thus, myLounge was born. For the first time, ORGPRO will offer a comfortable place for informal learning and idea exchange. Attendees can grab a coffee, sit back and watch the creativity unfold.
“This is particularly important because, in the digital age, anyone can learn anytime. Value can be added to face-to-face meetings,” Oser said. “Learning, relationship development and business can flow quite naturally in the right face-to-face environments, and this is reflective of the type of dynamic learning experiences organizations need to create for their customers and members if they’re going to succeed.”
MSAE’s silent auction will also take place in myLounge. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Kevin A. Kelly Scholarship Fund, the MSAE Building Fund and Gryphon Place, a local dispute-resolution service provider.
Modeled after Apple’s innovative approach to customer service, myLounge will host Genius Bars, where industry experts will provide counsel on everything from technology to meeting planning. Association and supplier leaders will staff the Genius Bars during refreshment breaks. And the best part: It’s noncommercial. Nothing is for sale and advice is free.
For example, at the technology Genius Bar, an expert could discuss the importance of a mobile responsive website. Or a mid-career meeting professional could learn more about convention and visitors bureaus at the meeting management Genius Bar, Oser said.
In other words, it’s hybrid learning and networking at their best, and ORGPRO is the perfect platform for the launch.
With all the buzz and excitement, Oser hopes conference attendees enjoy some downtime exploring Kalamazoo.
“Kalamazoo is a gem of a destination,” she said. “One of the neatest parts about attending ORGPRO is that participants get to experience the very best of a city in a very intimate, behind-the-scenes kind of way.”
In fact, the city has put together a guide called “269 cool things to do in in the area code 269.” It’s a perfect guide for children and/or spouses who attend the conference.
When all is said and done, conference attendees will leave ORGRPO rejuvenated. With pages of notes in their hands or on their laptops, they’ll walk away ready to challenge the norm. They’ll have a strong network of colleagues with whom they’ll exchange stories of success and challenges.
Registration fees will increase after June 24, so attendees are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Questions about all things ORGRPO can be directed to MSAE at (517) 332-6723 or email@example.com.
But why go really? Because, “Together we can create better outcomes than we can individually – this is the real magic of associations,” Oser said.
What do you think? Tell us what you’re most excited about.
Kristen Parker is digital content manager for Event Garde. She’s the former editor of an international trade publication and the former communications director for a nonprofit long-term care association. A loyal Spartan, Kristen graduated from Michigan State University’s journalism program in 2000, and now works as a media communications manager for the university’s public relations office. Follow her on Twitter.