By Rick Bawcum, CEO at Cimatri

One of the benefits of working as a consultant is the opportunity to ‘go native’ and be immersed in an industry across organizational boundaries.  I was recently honored by an invitation to speak at the annual meeting of the American Society of Association Executives in Toronto on the topic of change management and organizational transformation. They even shared a piece I wrote on my “Lessons From The Trenches.” It was quite the experience… here is a bit of epilogue from a fervent observer of association culture.

The theme of the meeting was ‘What Inspires’, and ASAE did an awesome job of fulfilling its strategic intent with an array of inspirational keynotes, breakout sessions and networking / collaboration opportunities. The keynoters, @NyleDiMarco, @Nilofer, and @Chefjefflive challenged us to co-create our future while serving us no’s for breakfast.

But the real inspiration, at least for me personally, was experiencing the collective Power of A(ssociation).  Attending this conference allowed us to experience the collective energy of the many while we honed and acquired individual skills, game changing ideas, and operational insights that we will take back to our organizations.

As an industry consultant, this event was a smorgasbord of great content.  I finally got to meet social media expert and blogger Ernie Smith @ShortFormErnie and discovered he not only covers the tech beat for ASAE, but is also something of a digital anthropologist.  My interviews with editors Sarah Braley @sallbee from Meetings and Conventions Magazine and Sue Pelletier @spelletier from MeetingsNet sparked some exciting ideas for future articles that we hope will keep the inspiration going long after the conference.

And, of course the interactions with so many clients, consultants, and industry solution providers gave us much to consider.  Over the coming year, we will be motivated and activated by the lessons we learned in Toronto.  Addressing the ‘consumerization of associations’ is a collective effort, and #ASAE17 provided us with a North Star to guide us until we meet again next year in Chicago for #ASAE18!

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