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Associations Need to Teach Things. Here's Why.

Associations without educational programs are like McDonald’s without fries. We talked to ASAE’s incoming chief learning officer about trends in how associations educate their members.


Rhonda Payne, CAE, spent the last five years as VP of education and certification at the International Council of Shopping Centers. At ASAE (she starts Aug. 3), she’ll lead development of all educational programming, including face-to-face events and ASAE University. She told us last week from her home in New York that she’s not going to make major changes until she gets a better sense of the membership, what skills leaders need at certain levels of their career and how ASAE’s educational delivery models have worked so far. 


Rhonda, with former ICSC colleague Valerie Cammiso, says the chief learning officer position is growing among associations because of the increase in competition for talent and more focus on training and development for retention. Associations are also retooling by offering skill-specific education or micro-credentialing and putting more of their programs into social learning platforms. Rhonda says free online content is competing with association education programs. Also, for-profits are offering training and development and conferences and there’s some competition from professional development and continuing education programs offered in higher ed.


Fun facts about Rhonda:

  • She's pictured with her daughter, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania two years ago.

  • She’s moving her family from Brooklyn to DC in late August.

  • She was born in Atlanta and spent part of her childhood in southwest Georgia, but went to middle and high school in Fairfax, VA. She still considers herself a Georgia peach.

  • Her first professional job was applying technology in the classroom at Georgetown University.

  • Her free time is spent playing Picasso Magna-Tiles with her 3-year-old, watching films with her husband, who works in the industry, binge watching TV series with her 24-year-old daughter, and reading historical, fantasy and science fiction.

  • She's an active member of the 102-year-old Delta Sigma Theta sorority, along with her mother and sister.