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October 24, 2008


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The economy hasn't affected membership, ad dollars, or conference attendances at the American Society of Association Executives, but CEO John Graham says he's carefully eyeing the next 3-6 months. In the meantime, he's on the phone with execs, offering "moral and tangible" support to weather the tough times. We stopped by ASAE's 15th and I offices to get some of that touchy-feely warmth for ourselves.


John has spent his entire 38-year career in nonprofits, most recently at the American Diabetes Association. A bit of a gallery buff, he'd been dropping hints for years about the size and specs of the eagle he'd like to have, and after 24 years at ADA, his colleagues came through with this bronze bird of prey. Nowadays, departing CEOs call John not for gifts, but for advice on good headhunters. He suggests Korn/Ferry, Heidrick & Struggles, Russell Reynolds and Association Strategies.


A new grandpa as of May (photo over his left shoulder), John says his five years with ASAE have seen expanded educational resources for more than 24,000 individual members. Among them, a new line-by-line guidebook to help members fill out the Form 990. This late in the game, John says, members will still be able to flip through the book for best practices on CEO compensation, board review of the 990, document retention and disclosing "key employees."


Last year, ASAE sponsored the Redskins Charity Challenge (notice the Andrew Carter signed football). John says the sponsorship helped show the significant role of associations in Washingtonians' everyday lives. They represent 287 million Americans, from leading trade and professional associations, to household names like YMCA, Boy Scouts and Big Brothers Big Sisters. A Philly native, John's attention has been focused on the Phils' World Series run. But his favorite baseball memory is courtesy of Pittsburgh: John recalls flipping on the TV after school in 1960 to see Bill Mazeroski's 9th inning home run to defeat the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series.

Georgetown University
Stout and Teague
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