August 26, 2010

The Most Regular Question I Got at the ASAE Annual Meeting...

I got back earlier this week from a fantastic 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting in LA - my third consecutive Annual Meeting. It was memorable for a number of reasons, some of which I will talk about in a future post. Today, I wanted to talk about the most regular question I received from fellow attendees who didn't know me at the event:

Why is a Fraternity attending ASAE?

My snarky response in my head has always been the Fraternity isn't here... I, a staff member who feels professional development is important, am... However, I have never had the nerve to say it to anyone!!

My real response has been - fraternities and associations are not very different. In fact, if my organization had the word "Association" instead of "Fraternity" at the end of it, people likely wouldn't even think of asking me about it. However, it doesn't, and I have answered the question for the last three years, often asked by someone who followed the initial question up with Do you manage the keg parties? I often give a chuckle, knowing the person likely just doesn't understand how similar our organizations really are...

So, I thought I'd use this blog to educate some folks who either have, or will in the future, ask me these questions...

The fact is that fraternities are complex membership organizations, just like associations.
  • We have engaged members ranging in age from 18 to 80 or 90, who work in various professional areas.
  • Our organizations hold events, many times with many hundreds of people attending.
  • We have member education programs like most associations do - many groups are beginning to host online education in a wide variety of topics for members from many different backgrounds, like any of the major associations.
  • We have print publications, use the web to communicate through social media tools, and have robust communications strategies oftentimes led by a single staffer.
  • We provide opportunities for our members to connect and network, again much like associations do...
Oh, and I forgot to mention that both my boss and I have volunteered for ASAE & The Center for the last three years - him serving as the Executive Management Section Chairman for 2010-11, and me serving for the third consecutive year on the Communication Section Council.

While I understand why I receive the question, I hope I can educate enough people, both through this blog and in my experience at the events moving forward, about why it makes complete sense for myself and my fellow Greek-letter organization professionals are attending the ASAE Annual Meeting.

August 13, 2010

Three Things I'm Looking Forward to at the 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting

So the 2010 ASAE Annual Meeting is happening in just over a week, and there are really three things I am looking forward to most about the event.

Collaboration - The first thing I'm doing when I get to LA is attending our Communication Section Council in-person meeting, which will be an excellent opportunity for all of the new and old members of the council to collaborate on a shared vision for the year. Each and every time I am involved with these folks, all of whom are excellent communicators, I take something away that I can utilize personally or professionally. The collaboration that takes place in these meetings is always a highlight for me, and I'd recommend any Communication Section member to either attend the meeting on Saturday afternoon, or connect with one of us throughout the conference. We'll have ribbons on our nametags.

- One of the greatest things about ASAE as a whole is the community of like-minded (and sometimes non like-minded) people with whom you come into contact. I'm very much looking forward to meeting a number of folks I have yet to, as well as reconnecting with a whole host of great association leaders that I have met at past events. You all know who you are!! It's going to be fun!

In addition, this year myself and my boss are welcoming three new people into the ASAE Annual Meeting community - three of our co-workers who have never been to an Annual Meeting (or any other ASAE event) before. We're very excited for them to get a taste of the outstanding programming and community that is created at the event. They are all great, and will hopefully make a very positive impact on the sessions they choose to attend. I hope you'll take a moment to make them feel welcome if you meet any of them.

Content - As usual, the content that will be presented at the Annual Meeting is diverse and compelling, and at some time slots there are like four sessions I wish I could attend. It's amazing that there is so much good content that comes out of one event.

This year, I'm particularly looking forward to attending some of the meetings and events sessions to help round out my knowledge in that area. I think I have some things to learn in that discipline, and I'm looking forward to hearing the content leaders discuss their best practices there.

Lastly, I'm looking forward to the FUN! The crowd that attends the Annual Meeting is always such a fun and outgoing group, and I am looking forward to the many opportunities there will be to connect with my fellow association leaders in the down time.

I think I'm going to blog from the event much like I did last year (here, here, and here), so check back once the event starts for some of my random ramblings about what is sure to be a great event!