I am sure that disruption and innovation are words and ideas that we’ve all heard much too often. If it were possible to have a show of hands on this blog, I am certain that there would be more than a couple of us who, at times, have wanted to remove those words from the dictionary. But, here’s the thing…trade associations, by their very nature, are “idea incubators.” Groups like the Alliance are the places where our member societies come together to develop the ideas, products, programs and solutions that will point them toward a brighter, more robust and exciting future. So, for us, innovation must always be a top-of-mind concept. Like dusting or paying bills, in this business, we are never really done trying to innovate.
Billy Beane, General Manager for the Oakland A’s and keynote speaker at the 2016 Alliance Annual Meeting in Nashville, encouraged us to continually “challenge accepted norms by being willing to look at everything differently.” So, in that spirit, we are excited to share the news that, this spring, the Alliance is looking at the way we have always held our Mid-Year Meetings in a very different light.
Over the years, we have heard that many of our attendees may be interested in learning about a specific topic, only to find that the session is offered only at a Mid-Year Meeting other than the one they usually attend. This can be a problem when the budget only allows a limited number of educational experiences per year. In addition, our members tell us that their favorite part of these meetings is networking and learning from their colleagues. So we wondered, what if we brought all these great topics and visionary speakers and all of these smart and creative people and put them all under one roof at the same time? From that idea…the 2017 Spring Symposium was born.
The Spring Symposium, being held May 23-25 at the Loews Chicago O’Hare, will offer five Mid-Year Meetings concurrently at the same venue at an affordable registration fee. (The 2017 Executive Summit designed for CEOs will be held separately.) This exciting new format will provide attendees with unparalleled access to even more great new ideas and creative fraternal leaders in an event designed to serve many purposes for the attendees – especially those whose duties cross over functions. Attendees will have the opportunity to assemble their own meeting by choosing educational opportunities from any of the five tracks which will include:
- Community Engagement and Communications (Fraternal & Communications)
- Business Operations
Sound interesting? Check out two of the speakers in this year’s line-up:
Ann K. Emery – Data Visualization
Ann K. Emery equips organizations to visualize data more effectively. She presented at last spring’s Fraternal and Communications Mid-Year Meeting and wowed us. Attendees asked for more…so here she is! Within the past year, she has led more than 60 trainings for more than 2,800 participants around the globe.
Her design consultancy also overhauls graphs, publications, and slideshows with the goal of making data-heavy reports easier to digest for non-technical audiences. Recent clients include the United Nations, Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and dozens of professional societies, associations, foundations, and nonprofits. Connect with Emery through her blog (www.annkemery.com/blog) and through Twitter (@annkemery).
Scott Steen – Becoming Your Society’s Storyteller in Chief
Scott Steen joined American Forests in December 2010. During his tenure, American Forests has planted more than 20 million trees in more than 250 different restoration projects, launched multiple programs and initiatives, and tripled membership. Previously, Scott served as executive director of the American Ceramic Society and as chief strategy officer for the American Society of Association Executives and chief operating officer for the Center for Association Leadership.
Steen often speaks to crowds, but how he approaches audiences has evolved throughout the years. Today, instead of looking to inform his audience solely with facts and figures, his goal is to inspire. He said by connecting on an emotional level, his audience is more engaged.
The lesson for fraternal leaders is that by making your audience care, it moves them to action – whether that’s renewing a membership, volunteering or donating to your foundation.
It is your meeting — build your own agenda by attending any session that appeals to you. It is your chance to “get into the weeds” and learn from your peers. Stick to the sessions in your discipline or jump to another track to broaden your horizons. With the Loews Chicago O’Hare hotel, we have selected a perfect venue for this event. Loews is adjacent to a thriving entertainment complex (MB Financial Park) that features countless restaurants and bars, a comedy club, a bowling alley “nightclub”, The Fashion Outlets of Chicago, a Big Ten museum and much more. The hotel room rate is $189 per night and Loews is conveniently located next to O’Hare Airport and a train stop makes taking a trip into the city easy.
Plan now to join us next May 23-25, at the 2017 Spring Symposium, an event specially designed for you to generate your own knowledge and meaning and expand your network from an experience that you create for yourself.
Watch for more information in the weeks to come. Registration will open in January of 2017.
See you all there!
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