Association Innovators: Finale!
We now know the secret to being innovative: Have no fear. This last set of profiles of the most innovative people in the association world shows just how unafraid they were to launch creative projects. Come help us celebrate them tomorrow.
Title: VP, Administration, and CIO, American Council on Education
Job: In charge of ACE's tech strategy, including 14-person IT department and infrastructure, and operation of systems and applications. Also oversees building and tenant management services with 11-person facilities and office services staff.
On the job: Six years as CIO; 8 1/2 years with organization
Association: Focus on higher education, representing the presidents of over 1,700 accredited, degree-granting institutions, including two-year and four-year public and private colleges and universities, and nonprofit and for-profit entities. Organization advocates on issues like funding for student aid and scientific research, works to improve access to postsecondary education, and provides leadership development for higher ed administrators.
Most innovative project: Implementation of tele-presence studio two years ago. It allows us to offer our training programs to more people and to put on more professional webinars with high-quality video and sound. It also saves member and staff travel expenses.
Lesson learned on being innovative: Listen and learn from your peers in the association world and don't be afraid to fail.
Attraction to association career: Worked in tech 20 years for for-profit organizations and came to ACE because of its mission. I've always been good at math and analytics, and I enjoy helping people.
Grew up: I'm a fourth-generation Washingtonian. We lived in southwest Washington and then Camp Springs, MD.
Fond childhood memory: My grandmother lived on Capitol Hill near Eastern Market and I remember visiting her and roller skating down Pennsylvania Ave. I never realized how significant that was.
Current home: Brandywine, MD
School: University of Maryland, Baltimore County and GW
First job: Cashier at Dunkin' Donuts for three months
Job in another life: High school teacher or college professor
Favorite app: Waze
Favorite movies: Shawshank Redemption and Gone With The Wind
Favorite restaurant: Mike's American Grill (Springfield, VA)
Favorite vacation spot: St. Maarten
Guilty pleasure: Haagen-Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream
Family: Four siblings, dad, niece and nephew. We all live within 10 miles of each other.
Startling fact: A metal rod was attached to my spine after scoliosis surgery as a child and it's still there.
Title: Founder and board chair, Association for Managers of Innovation
Job: Host, design and manage two interactive meetings a year for innovation managers in all industries. Focused on bringing in the younger generation to participate.
Organization: Spun out of the Center for Creative Leadership four years ago, the organization has 85 members.
Most innovative project: Design twice-yearly interactive meetings that ask the 50 to 60 participants to “beg, brag, and ask what if.” They ask (beg) for help from other event participants, they talk (brag) about a particular initiative or project, and discuss (ask what if) implications of trends on their industries.
Lesson on being innovative: There's not one style of being creative. Bring in diversity.
Attraction to association career: Loved being exposed to a diversity of organizational experiences, and at age 68, I still want to be stimulated. Plus I want to keep up with my children.
Grew up: Passaic County, NJ
Current home: Alexandria
Why DC: Finished 35-year career at the Center for Creative Leadership and followed two sons here – one is a lawyer and the other works in tech.
Schools: Stetson University, Wake Forest and University of London
First job: Took a job at a new organization called the Center for Creative Leadership to pay college loans and spent 35 years there.
Job in another life: Bringing together stimulating people to solve problems.
Daily habit: Reading anything that helps me think differently.
Favorite apps: WTSO and Delectable
Favorite movie: All That Jazz
Favorite restaurants: Fiola Mare, Estadio, La Fromagerie Cheese & Wine Bistro and Micha's Coffee Shop
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere near the water.
Guilty pleasure: PBS binging
Bucket list: Visit Willamette Valley in Oregon
Family: Married 37 years; two sons and a daughter; and two granddaughters (ages 4 and 6)
Startling fact: Went to college on a voice scholarship. Ended up majoring in psychology.
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Exclusive Event: Association Leader Roundtable Happens Feb. 11
By invitation only, the first 2015 Bisnow Association Leader Roundtable luncheon happens Feb. 11 at Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House. Part of Bisnow's private event series, this intimate, exclusive event brings association leaders up close and personal with the high-level, powerful professionals who can help move business forward. Topics discussed are geared toward specific interests and needs: best-management practices to compensation plans, marketing, forecasting, investment and more. A private dining room provides focused networking that allows influential people to consider pressing questions in a comfortable setting. Sponsorship opportunities are now available. Contact Chris Wainwright at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title: Executive director, State Services Organization (on the far right, above)
Job: Oversees staff of about 15 to provide states and nonprofits with the resources they need to fulfill their missions.
On the job: 7 years
Organization: Provides services to states and nonprofits, including real estate, conference and technology. It was formed in 1976 by the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the Council of State Governments.
Most innovative project: Adding “association management” to the services SSO offers. We already had the resources in place to provide the necessary support to organizations that worked alongside association management providers, so it was an easy step to bring on the new service.
Best lesson about being innovative: Organizations that fail to be innovative become obsolete.
Attraction to association career: I've always been involved in association work as a volunteer for various nonprofits. It was SSO that brought me into the business side of associations.
Grew up: South Carolina and Florida
Current home: Reston
Why DC: Wife was recruited to a hospital job.
Schools: University of Central Florida and Averett University (MBA)
First job: Paper boy for the Daytona Beach News Journal in 7th grade.
Job in another life: Capturing life on canvas as an artist
Daily habit: “Pause to pray.” I like to thank God and think about my steps for the day.
Favorite app: Elevate
Favorite movie: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Favorite restaurant: Stone's Cove Kitbar (Herndon, VA)
Favorite music: One Republic
Favorite vacation spot: St. John's
Guilty pleasure: Bowl of ice cream around 9pm
Bucket list: Visit the Great Wall of China
Family: Married 31 years; two adult children; 10-month-old Papillon puppy named Cosette.
Startling fact: Ronald Reagan and I actually corresponded when I was in 5th grade and he was governor of California.
Announcing: High School Career Summit – March 7 at American Univ!
Is your high schooler ready for what's around the corner? Now's the time to start thinking and learning practical skills for the real world. Join GEN Z on March 7 at AU for a special program: 10 featured careers, 50 young professionals, and real world advice on networking, finding internships and getting into college. Early bird through Jan. 31. Register today!
Title: Associate executive director, American Urological Association
Job: Oversees marketing and communications, membership, tech, patient outreach and education, and digital.
On the job: Since May 2014
Association: The American Urological Association has over 20,000 members. AUA's staff of 170 promotes the highest standards for urological clinical care through education, research and formulating healthcare policy.
Most innovative project: Launched an organization-wide digital-first strategy and digital department of eight staff to oversee it. AUA is undergoing a cultural shift where all initiatives, including education and publications, will have a digital-first approach.
Lesson learned about being innovative: Sometimes it's very lonely when you're out in front, but don't be afraid to take risks.
Grew up: Fairmont, WV
Current home: Springfield, VA
Why DC: Always wanted to work here since college. Fell in love with the area while visiting friends during college, and it's close to my roots in West Virginia.
First job: Drive-in theater in high school and working for a computer distributor selling computer pieces after college.
Job in another life: Professional golfer or filmmaker.
Daily habit: High-speed morning chaos of coffee, pets and kids.
Favorite movie: Original Star Wars series - first movie I saw in a theater.
Favorite music: Foo Fighters
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere in the Caribbean
Bucket list: Play golf at St. Andrews
Family: Married 8 years to Christine; son and daughter (6 and 5); and a rescue mutt named Diego.
Hobbies: Golf, Mountaineer football games, drinking good wine, cigars and travel.
Startling fact: Survived a near death experience at age 5 when I was hit and run over by a car. I count my blessings daily.
Title: CEO, International Association of Diecutting and Diemaking
Job: Executive management, guidance, support and direction to IADD leadership.
On the job: 20 years
Association: International trade association with about 700 members, who convert soft to semi-rigid materials into cut parts. Almost everyone comes into daily contact with diecut products, including clothing, car parts, shoes, circuit boards, greeting cards and food.
Innovative project: Our THINK! Outside the Box initiative. It's an actual box with video equipment and online technologies that we send to members. It allows us to remotely “visit” and connect with them in real time.
Secret to being innovative: Make connections between seemingly unrelated things.
Grew up: Northwest side of Chicago
Current home: Crystal Lake, IL
First job: As a teen, I sold everything from greeting cards to Avon beauty products and magazine subscriptions. At 15, I waited tables in a bowling alley restaurant and moved up to desk manager. I also became a good bowler.
Job in another life: Author or humor columnist
Daily habit: Stop and choose one moment of the day that made me particularly happy. I call them “Tiny Joys.”
Guilty pleasure: Chocolate
Favorite movie: It's a Wonderful Life
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere with a beach
Family: Married 33 years to my husband, Ron.
Hobbies: Gardening and adopting rescue dogs. Many of them are considered impossible to place because of issues from former mistreatment.
Startling fact: I'm a competitive figure skater who's won numerous national amateur titles. Most people don't expect someone in their late 50s to land double jumps or do complex spins.
DC-CAP's Next Chair
The DC College Access Program's new board chair is Monumental Sports & Entertainment founder Ted Leonsis (owner of the Caps, Wizards and Mystics). He succeeds DC-CAP's founding chairman, Don Graham, who will remain an active member of the board. DC-CAP helps high school students in DC's public and charter schools get into college and find financial aid. Don said he couldn't think of a better person than Ted because of his urban upbringing and being able to relate to the barriers DC-CAP students face in being first in their family to attend and graduate from college. (See our story on DC-CAP.)