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Five Techniques Aspiring Association Leaders Can Implement in Their Daily Routines

In May 2021, more than 50 emerging Association management Company (AMC) leaders – including AMS Account Executive Richard O’Neill and Senior Associate Sibel Clifford – convened to listen, learn, and share their experiences at AMCI’s first Emerging Leaders half-day workshop. The program focused on how to advocate for yourself, seize opportunities, and spotlighted best practices to close skill gaps and accelerate your career.

There were dozens of highlights and nearly as many books, articles and resources shared – the top resources can be found in a handy PDF download. Following the workshop, Richard and Suzanne Fedie, a fellow emerging leader and Executive Director of Association Acumen, also put together a blog post highlighting five techniques aspiring association leaders can implement in their daily routines. Content from this article is re-shared here, with permission from the authors.

  1. I don’t mean to brag, but…Sharing our success on social media is an immensely valuable way to rally co-workers and clients, so mastering the #humblebrag is an important part of that toolkit. Under the direction of Jodi Fisher, CAE, CEO of Impact Association Management, a well-crafted #humblebrag shares client stories and team achievements in a way that feels comfortable and authentic. Pro tip – Keep in mind that these stories should go both up (to management) and out (team, clients) for the maximum amount of value.
  2. Take time away from work to work on yourself. It’s not a secret that for some of us participating in this half-day workshop felt a little indulgent. Why am I here when there’s so much work to get done? According to Jenny Faucher, DES, President and CEO of Managing Matters Inc., you can’t grow as a leader and be an effective team member if you don’t pause to take inventory of your own skills, behaviors and habits. Don’t despair about the gaps that you see. Have that growth mindset when evaluating how you’re showing up and instead focus on what you can do about it.
  3. Why do you see this happening? Ask questions. Emerging leaders can experience the frustration of too many questions from too many people, but it’s time to embrace the curious questions. Good open-ended questions lead to more conversations and encourage transparency and candor. JJ Colburn, CAE, Principal at SAM, led us through thoughtful discussion on how to find our why.
  4. What you say matters. We joke in the association management world that our families have no idea what we do. Funny and a little too true, this makes our own elevator pitch more important than ever. Kate O’Donnell, CAE, Senior Vice President of MarCom and Brand Strategy at MCI USA, gave us the tools for avoiding the one-size fits all blanket statements, and instead use 30-second pitches expertly crafted to get that new assignment, sponsor meeting or introduction that we’ve been seeking.
  5. HIIT is not just for spin class. Perfectly timed and highly focused, Molly Marsh, CMP, Director of Education and Events at AMR Management Services, shared in just 15 minutes a HIIT session on the secret to managing difficult conversations. Training yourself to respond in mindful ways and ask the appropriate follow-ups, instead of with quick, emotionally-charged responses may be uncomfortable at first, but with practice, can lead to happier, more productive outcomes.