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October 29, 2008

Combining Meetings;
Fight Night

A big shout-out to great sponsor Qorvis Communications.  Prepare for a new era of communications campaigns. Join the Discussion.


Non-profit consultants Tate & Tryon let us sneak in the back of their 990 Seminar Monday at ASAE’s meeting center at the Ronald Reagan Building for a riveting discussion about the form all association execs have come to know and love. We learned some tidbits that some associations forget about, but not the IRS.


We shall return the favor with a pic: Tate & Tryon’s Charlie Tate, Debbie Kosnett, Subrina Wood and Michael Tryon. Debbie says the best approach is to be pro-active with your CPAs so they can help you put your best foot forward; she says she reminds clients that PAC contributions are taxable, if made out of a client's own funds.  Michael, we learned, got into the business when, as a Class A ballplayer in ‘83, his manager (Charlie Manual, now skipper of the World Series contending Phillies) asked him what he studied in college. Michael knew that was a cue for getting cut and applied for a job with Tate.  


Tate’s path to accounting was less dramatic; his dad told him it was a job where he would never be out of work. And to make sure his clients don’t get put on the street by the IRS, he advises them to develop questionnaires for their officers, key employees and boards to tackle the new conflict-of-interest portion of the 990. “Make a reasonable effort,” he says, and get those board members to disclose their business relationships. He also reminds associations that anything they put on the 990 may be used by adversaries in a negative light. (What do they think this is, a presidential campaign?)


American Gas Association’s John Carroll, Kevin Hardardt and Joe Martin say that the Sarbanes-Oxley experience of the five-member audit committee of their 45-member board will be helpful in taking on the new 990. Kevin says a combination of permanent seats and three-year posts on the committee also brings perspective.


The National Association of Broadcasters’ Janet McGregor and Mary Dickson talk taxes over Green Mountain coffee with Tate & Tryon’s Jay Sciuto.


In these rocky economy times, combine your conferences! That’s the strategy of  American Society for Microbiology meetings director Nancy Elder, whose team of 19 organized this year’s first ever joint confab of ASM and the Infectious Diseases Society of America at the Washington Convention Center. We were on hand when, by Tuesday, 16,000 attendees had been counted. Nancy says the two groups have held separate meetings since 1963, though they share many of the same members and exhibitors.


University of Geneva’s Didier Pittet, left, says that coming from Europe, he would normally have to choose just one of the two conferences to attend. University of Washington Medical Center’s Walter Stamm, center, says the combined conference brings more of his colleagues together, besides saving money and travel. With them, the University of Minnesota’s James Johnson. See how we save on combined pictures?


Nancy (here with meeting organizer Jim Reese of Champion Exposition Services) says staff process is key. She started with one-on-one meetings with her counterpart at IDSA to discuss big picture similarities and differences, and since both associations are headquartered in DC, it was easy to introduce more staff members gradually into the mix. Nancy is also eager to find out if members now want to do yearly joint meetings or maintain separate identities with joint meetings only every three to five years. Then, the former ballroom dancer will be free to do her “meeting dance,” a celebratory post-meeting jig we were not privileged to witness (because the meeting was not yet over).


The one and only Fight Night rolls around again next Thursday November 6; above is founder Joe Robert and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Peter Pace at last year’s. Despite a rocky economy, the Washington Hilton will again be flooded with more than 2000 fanatical business leaders having a good time for a great cause; they’ve already raised $2 million and sponsor income is up 10%. Last week, our friend Michela English, head of parent organization Fight for Children, announced $1.1 million in education and healthcare grants for low-income children in DC, all of which comes from Fight Night proceeds. www.fightforchildren.org.

Arent Fox
Cardinal Bank
Reston Limo
Casa Noble
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