Discovering The Land Of Associations

Week 50 - Association Professional 007If only I had a dollar every time I heard the word ‘association' this week. Being new to the world of associations, I admit I was most likely more aware of it, though I could have sworn that in each conversation I had, the word ‘association' was used at least five times. On my first day at the Texas Society of Association Executives (TSAE), I probably spent the first half wrapping my head around the intricacies of association life and the vast acronyms that prevail.

So if I thought the idea of an "association made up of associations" was intriguing, check this one out: There is a national association called Alliance. This is an association for presidents of associations of associations.

That's how they roll in the Association world.

I must admit, once I drew an organizational tree and got my committees, boards, chairs, co-chairs, and sub-committees sorted out, all the semantics started to become justifiable and actually made sense.

Week 50 - Association Professional 008As Beth often said, "there are associations for everything." And she's right.

Driving downtown, she would point out all the different buildings of where various associations were located. Previously, I would have paid no attention to such landmarks, now with a tuned eye I was suddenly spotting them everywhere.

I had the opportunity to visit a few and spend time with some of the association executives to learn about the particular association.

A Commitment To Members

A large part of associations is about networking through social events and providing meaningful seminars to it's members. Which is kind of fun when you think about it, each month there are a couple of party's to attend where you are bound to meet some interesting people.

An association is only as strong as the commitment of its' members. It would not be able to exist without their active involvement and willingness to volunteer in order for everything to run smoothly.

Beth and her team at TSAE could organize the best seminars and events possible, though if nobody shows up or there are no volunteers to help bring everything together, it wouldn't work.

I sat in on the meeting with the committee that produces the bi-monthly magazine. I thought it was great that these individuals would take a few hours out of their day in order to bring something together they feel is important and will benefit their co-members.

A Texas Sized BBQ

Week 50 - Association Professional 003Back at the office, Beth, Alaina, Sonnia, and Marc were all great to take the time to explain their roles with TSAE to me.

I was told that a visit to Texas wouldn't be complete without trying out famous Texas BBQ. When I was in Georgia I had BBQ, though I was informed that BBQ in Georgia is generally pork, whereas Texas BBQ is usually associated with beef.

Well that's one distinction, the other one of course being that Texas BBQ is "bigger and better."

Inside The Board Meeting

Every quarter the board members of the TSAE meet. This happened to be this week, so I got to attend as a special guest and observe the proceedings.

In all honesty, it was not the most stimulating three hours, though I enjoyed watching the dynamic between individuals, the various communication techniques used, and learn about the overall structure of a board meeting.

Afterwards we went for lunch with several of the board members before heading out to The Renaissance Hotel for the tour a Meeting Planner would take when organizing a conference. It's a beautiful facility and the Pastry Chef was kind enough to send me home with some goodies!

I have gotten very accustomed to staying at new peoples' homes. I can feel right at home surprisingly quickly. It was even easier this week as Beth, her husband David, and son Matthew, warmly welcomed me into their home and showed me some great southern hospitality.

Sean Aiken at WA2 006David is a Professional Speaker and a member of the local chapter of Toastmasters (a group that meets to build confidence with public speaking skills).

In 1990, David's speaking career got a kick start when he won the World Championships of public speaking competing against 30,000 other Toastmaster members world wide. This local chapter meets each Thursday morning, so I went a long this week and got in on the action myself speaking to the group about my experience over the past year.

The TSAE annual summit is next September in Texas and Beth has already been asking me what will it take for me to come. I would love to. Though at this point I have difficulty committing to anything two weeks in advance let alone six months from now.

I guess you could say I like keeping my options open.