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Section Connections More Important Than Ever

Mid-Year Section Meeting season is upon us, and the need for fraternal leaders with shared interests and shared goals to make personal connections with one another has never been greater. This was vividly demonstrated when within just a few days of opening registration for the 2012 Presidents Mid-Year Section Meeting, nearly one-third of all member society CEOs signed up for the event!

Here’s a quick overview of the dates and locations for each Section Mid-Year Meeting:

We’ve tweaked the traditional schedule this year by conducting three Section meetings – Secretaries/HR, Presidents, and Investment – on a back-to-back-to-back basis in one location. This not only gives us greater leverage when negotiating pricing with hotels, it also allows individuals to attend multiple Section meetings at a discounted registration rate with the purchase of a single airline ticket. Based on the number of registrations we’ve received so far, member society executives really like the cross-pollenization approach.

Of course, you’ll be able to bank on an excellent program at each of the Section meetings. The topics will be timely, the speakers – both from within the fraternal community, as well as outside experts from the world of investments, regulation, communication, academia, community service, and more – will be dynamic (and more than a little controversial), and the interactive nature of the sessions means you won’t be just listening to a series of “talking heads,” but rather engaging in discussions that are important to you and relevant to your society.

Section meetings could just as easily – and probably more accurately – be called “connection” meetings, because the relationships built and renewed during breaks in the educational programs and while at social events are just as important to your personal growth and your organizations’ ultimate success. I’ve been in the trade association business for nearly 30 years now, and there was always a palpable tension and wariness between members of the commercial insurance organizations for whom I previously worked. Not so in the fraternal industry. I’ve never been around groups of CEOs and senior executives so willing to share their successful ideas with colleagues and competitors. This is a sub-set of the financial services industry in which we all want each other to prosper. Nowhere is that characteristic better showcased – or celebrated – than at the Alliance’s Section meetings.

If you haven’t already registered for one or more of this year’s Section meetings, I encourage you to do so today. They are a great value – similar programs for executives in other industries typically cost $500-$1,500, while the registration fee for Alliance Section meetings are right around the $300 level – and no one else is offering educational programs tailored exclusively for fraternals.

I hope you’ll also consider recognizing the top performers on your staff by sending them to a Section meeting. It’s an easy and cost-effective way to say “nice job”,  and you’ll get a tremendous return on your investment when they return to the office full of ideas and energy.

And here’s one more idea: consider bringing your Board Chair to one or more of the meetings with you. This will provide these volunteer leaders with exposure to the tough operational and regulatory decisions you are confronted with every day, as well as increasing their awareness that they are part of a fraternal “system” that is impacted by the actions of other societies, not simply a stand-alone organization.

I’ll be at every one of the Section meetings – and I hope to see you and members of your staff and your Board there, too.

Follow-Up to Last Week’s Blog Posting on Ohio HB 341

The Ohio House Insurance Committee passed the bill unanimously. It now heads to the House floor, where it will be considered in the next two weeks.

Must Read…

The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson – A terrific novel about life, death, truth, and deception in North Korea. You’ll get a whole new appreciation for the freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. after reading this one.

One Response

  1. Joe:

    Glad to see the “cross-pollenization” of sections. One of these year’s the Fraternal/Communication Section will come to realize that they too can benefit from some “cross-fertilization” that improves programming, networking, and cost savings to the AFA and their own society.
    Keep up your excellent fraternal efforts!

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