Surge 2017

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Sessions and Speakers

Thanks to our speakers, whose ideas were the very backbone of this event.

Facing –– And Embracing –– The Future of Learning

Featuring Amanda Beckner, Josh Goldman, Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele

This session covers how offering learning opportunities and leveraging technologies for your membership leads associations to be on the cutting edge of e-learning.

How to Effect Change No Matter Your Job Title

Featuring Amalea Hijar, Lauren Lemunyan and Brian Calvary

An innovation study recently came out concluding the difficulty of effecting meaningful organizational change lies in any position but a senior level one. But is that true? Can people on different rungs of the ladder still influence or steer the direction of an organization? And how can this be done in a cooperative, rather than a combative, way? This session challenges that notion and looks at how to effect meaningful organizational change at any level.

Transforming Associations Through Artificial Intelligence

Featuring Reggie Henry, Jeff De Cagna, Amith Nagarajan and Thad Lurie

These experts share how AI technology is progressing and what associations can expect in the coming years. In this session they cover what that means for your members and your organization.

The Workforce Crisis (And What to Do About It)

Featuring Scott Wiley, Sarah Sladek and Bryan Kelly

This session provides a look into the steps and preparations necessary to overcome obstacles and leave a lasting legacy.

Association Leaders and the Analytical Mindset

Featuring Debbie King and Wayne Eckerson

Session participants discuss bringing the technical and business sides of an organization together, the pros and cons of self-service, benefits of visualization and story-telling, the usefulness of analytics of maturity models, and how data leads to insights which leads to action.

Let's Break Down our Organizational Silos

Featuring Mike Moss, Aldo Maragoni, Beth Burchill, Christopher Hunter and Sean Glaze

Is there a way to break the barriers within our organization’s departments, and remove the “us and them” mentality that comes with them? All from a range of departments, they will share stories from their own experiences witnessing these communication barriers, and tips to start overcoming them.

Rethinking Traditional Membership Models

Featuring Cecilia Sepp, Sharon Kneebone and Addy Kujawa

Engage in a paradigm-smashing discussion about the professional society membership model and its future. In addition to having experience as CEOs, all of our panelists have been membership directors and/or component relations professionals. This session will probe the notion of membership models to consider the relationship between membership dues and the value your association offers its members.

Small Bites, Big Ideas

Featuring Lowell Aplebaum and surprise guests

How can one conference cover all the ideas surging through the association space? This session attempts to deliver just that, rapid-fire style. You’ll want to take notes; the concepts might be meaty, but each speaker will present their idea for 5 minutes before we move onto the next. They will cover topics ranging from how design thinking can be used to create a strategic plan to tackling new innovations in the association space.

How to Innovate the Lean Way

Featuring Elizabeth Weaver Engel, Guillermo Ortiz and Ann Mei Chang

Dive deeper into the core principles of lean innovation: starting with a clear goal, engaging your stakeholders, identifying risks and assumptions, validating your hypotheses, deciding on metrics for measuring success, and pivoting, persevering or abandoning a project. In this session, we will learn if it is really possible to be more efficient with fewer resources.

Membership is Everybody's Business

Featuring Ed Rigsbee and Matt Mantione

Who is responsible for membership in your organization? What about for member recruitment and retention? The answer should always be: everyone. No matter what your position in your association, membership should drive your work. This session looks at sustainable membership growth as an organic element driven by the chief staff executive throughout all silos of an organization. Explore strategies and tactics for getting everyone involved in growing your organization in a member-ROI-centric manner.

Putting Member Engagement Into Action

Featuring Beth Brodovsky, Maddie Grant and Amanda Kaiser

Discuss taking membership engagement one step further by offering actionable tips and tricks for cultivating member participation.

The Trials and Tribulations of Non-Dues Revenue

Featuring Scott Oser, Garth Jordan, Keith Chamberlain and Bruce Rosenthal

The topic of ‘non-dues revenue’ is raising some interesting questions within the association space, and provoking some more fundamental concerns about the nature and mission of our organizations. There are those who are skeptical, or even fearful, of non-dues revenue attempts, seeing them as cash grabs that are in conflict with the aims and values of their association. But is this perhaps due to a lack of a cohesive organizational strategy? If so, how can we pursue revenue opportunities that actually strengthen our organization’s relationships – with members and industry partners alike?

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Chelsea Brasted is the writer and editor who serves as content manager for A former reporter and breaking news editor for The Times-Picayune, she lives in New Orleans with her husband and two rescue dogs.