Microaggressions–What They Are and How To Avoid Them

Microaggressions – What They Are and How To Avoid Them

Microaggressions are like planting, or watering, seeds of doubt – doubt in abilities, doubt in whether one belongs, doubt in worthiness, doubt in identity, and doubt in life decisions/paths.
 – Dr. Gretchen Neigh

Acknowledgements: This issue’s column was a collaborative piece with Dr. Gretchen Neigh, Dr. Debra Bangasser and Dr. April Thames. Thank you for contributing commonplace examples of microaggressions and raising awareness to empower scientific society memberships to work together to exclude them.

Over the last decade professional societies have made a concerted effort to improve diversity and create an environment of inclusion.  Since PMG began in 2008, progress has been made.  It has been exciting to see both men and women elevate others who were not like them and see positivity in disagreement on key issues. Throughout my time in association management, I have watched the many organizations grow and change, but yes, we still have a LOT more work to do to create a truly welcoming and inclusive environment. 

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Emerging Leaders Workshop - In Case You Missed It

Emerging Leaders Workshop - In Case You Missed It 

More than 50 emerging AMC leaders convened to listen, learn, and share their experiences at AMCI's first Emerging Leaders half-day workshop. The program focused on how to advocate for yourself, seize opportunities, and spotlighted best practices to close skill gaps and accelerate your career.

There were dozens of highlights and nearly as many books, articles and resources shared. Below are five techniques we explored applying to our routines; if they inspire you, share your thoughts in the comments!

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The Impact of 2020 and beyond on the AMC Industry

Unprecedented times. Pivoting. Navigating the New Normal. Wear a Mask.

I know I am nowhere near the first, nor unfortunately, the last person to give you the terms above. We knew that 2020 had an impact on our community – an impact that would be felt beyond the time of herd immunity and 100% capacity events. I appreciate the nearly 100 AMCs that took the time out of a very dynamic time for all of our businesses to give us data about both the impact on their business as well as where the AMC Institute is hitting the mark or has opportunities to develop.

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Consider Joining Us

Dear AMCI Membership,

Many of us have watched as our industry wrestles with when and how to meet safely again. When the AMC Institute staff team worked with our industry partners to suggest shifting the Annual Meeting to June 2021, I know that the members of the Board took a collective deep breath and agreed to move forward. At the time we needed to make that decision, a relative handful of U.S. residents had received the vaccine, with no clear path forward for mass vaccination.

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Three Reasons Your AMC's Culture is Important

During the selection process, your association’s board of directors will ask a lot of questions about a new association management company (AMC). The questions will probably focus heavily on costs, staffing levels, past successes, and how the AMC has performed with similar associations.

Knowing how your AMC develops its cost structure and understanding how they’ve guided associations through the same obstacles to success is important—but many boards often fail to ask about an AMC’s culture.

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Three Things Boards Need to Do to Ensure a Smooth Transition Between AMCs

The transition from one association management company (AMC) to another can be one of the biggest challenges an association’s board of directors will ever face. Even when the transition goes smoothly, replacing one staff team and headquarters with an entirely different one in a relatively short timeframe is always going to be difficult.

But while transitioning to another AMC may be challenging, it is often necessary. A board of directors and their AMC can become strategically misaligned. The association and/or the AMC may outgrow one another. There can be a need for new perspectives and new capacities.

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You Aren't Firing Your AMC. You're Finding the Appropriate Partner for Your Association.

When your board selects a new association management company (AMC), it isn’t like firing an employee.

It is like firing several employees, all at once.

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Educating Virtually in 2021

As 2021 progresses, we are all feeling the collective desire for things to go “back to normal.” The COVID vaccine is quickly being distributed around the globe, and many are hoping that we’ll soon be returning to all the things we did pre-pandemic. For some, this includes hosting and attending in-person conferences and events.

We’ve fielded a myriad of questions from clients and prospects about what the rest of 2021 is going to look like, and the truth is, we really don’t know. None of us has a crystal ball, but what we can do is give insight into 6 areas we’ve been tracking when it comes to education for the remainder of 2021. 

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How The Palm Beaches is Safely Hosting In-Person Events

The Palm Beaches is open for meetings and events, as we lead the way to re-envisioned face-to-face events with an enhanced focus on wellness, connection, and safety. In January, in partnership with the Palm Beach County Convention Center, we hosted a live event as an Official Network Partner of PCMA Convening Leaders.  By focusing on mental wellness and leveraging community partnerships to create engaging and creative experiences, we’re able to help our clients wow attendees without compromising safety. 


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Enhancing Employee Mental Wellbeing – Where to Start


As we all know, these are incredibly stressful times as people are working remotely while caring for children or elders, feeling isolated and lonely, worrying about their finances and job security, dealing with political divide and racial injustice, trying to stay physically healthy, and more. That’s a lot! The good news is that if you’re reading this article, it’s likely because you care about your employees’ mental wellbeing and want to learn how you can help them.

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Marriott International Launches Hybrid Meetings Insights White Paper After Testing its Connect With Confidence Approach to Meetings & Events

With everchanging restrictions on gatherings and travel globally, the pandemic brought business as usual to an abrupt halt – significantly so in the world of events. But disruptions can also be fertile ground for innovation, and the meetings industry is ready to meet this challenge. In this spirit, Marriott International set out to plan, conduct, and learn from our series of hybrid virtual and in-person events. We call our series Connect with Confidence and introduced it as an extension of our Marriott Bonvoy™ Events initiative. While more events are planned around the world, our first two hybrid events were:

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Just Released: Omnipress 2021 Conference Industry Report

For the seventh year, Omnipress has surveyed over 150 association and meeting professionals to track the role conference content plays before, during, and after the event. This year’s survey measures the impact of 2020 on conference delivery, conference performance, and the resulting implications for 2021 and beyond.

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Top 10 Tried & True Tips & Tricks for Business Development

Top 10 Tips Tried & True Tips & Tricks for Business Development

 Here is a helpful top 10 list to assist you in ensuring success in your business development efforts offered by Jeanne Sheehy, MBA, CMO, Bostrom, Megan Woodburn, CAE, Founder and CEO, Strategic Association Management (SAM) and Katie Callahan-Giobbi, Head of Business Development, SmithBucklin.

1. Growing the Pie

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Five Ways Young Professionals Can Promote Wellbeing In The Workplace

Five Ways Young Professionals Can Promote Wellbeing in the Workplace

By Caoimhe Kenny

The pandemic is taking a toll on people’s wellbeing and mental health. Here are several ideas for how young professionals can prioritize themselves in order to improve their work performance and happiness.

As the global pandemic rages on and workplaces shift their perspective on remote work from a short-term solution to a long-term reality, the discussion around workers’ mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever. Every demographic has its own set of unique challenges during these times, and young professionals are no exception. YPs may be more likely to live alone and away from their families, exacerbating feelings of loneliness and isolation. Some YPs may be living and working in less-than-ideal conditions—eating, sleeping, and working in a tiny studio apartment—while others may be trying to juggle working from home with caring for or schooling small children. Whatever your challenges, prioritizing your mental wellbeing in the current climate is an imperative. Here are some tips to get you started:

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The New Shape of Work is Flexibility for All

COVID-19 has tested our ability to flex how and where we work. Employers’ next challenge is to design and implement flexible working strategies inclusive of all employees at all life stages, harnessing the many different forms flexibility can take.  

Many employers say they will increase flexible working at a grander scale than before the coronavirus pandemic to deliver value — such as sustained engagement, productivity increases, and greater access to expanded talent pools. One in three companies — compared to one in 30 previously — anticipate making half or more of their workforce remote following COVID-19. Still, engaging a blended workforce with differing employee experiences will be challenging to managers and teams. It will affect everything from hiring to learning and development and performance management.

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Know Your Competitive Advantage

Know Your Competitive Advantage: The Experts Focus on it; Most Businesses Miss It

Warren Buffet was asked, “What is the single most important thing you look for when you invest in a company?” He replied without hesitation, “Competitive advantage.”  His practice was never to invest in a business that did not have a competitive advantage and a strong management team.  Jack Welch, CEO of G. E. back when it was a strong company, said, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”  This focus provided tremendous results for these two geniuses of yesterday, and the empires they built.

Yet as I travel around for speaking, both nationally and internationally, to business leaders of all size companies, I always ask,” How often do you review/consider/evaluate your company’s competitive advantage?”  Remarkably, the two most common honest answers are “never” and “once a year.”  How often do you consider that question for your AMC?  and your client associations?

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Join us in Orlando, FL for the 2021 AMCI Annual Meeting!

Dear AMCI Member,

Yes, the rumors you have heard are true! We are optimistically moving forward with an in-person meeting, June 2-4, 2021 at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Resort, Orlando, Florida.

The decision to shift this meeting to June rather than convene in February virtually was based on the clear message voiced by our AMC members.  The AMC community is universally challenged by today’s ever-changing landscape.  You are in search of solutions and best practices that will set your firm up for success in meeting the needs of your clients today and in the future.  Yesterday is old news.  Your association clients are looking to you for thought leadership on how to drive past adversity toward stability and growth.  With your insight, AMCI’s Annual Meeting Committee has carefully designed Universal Change and the Evolving AMC: Innovation. Culture. Profit., a 2021 Annual Meeting that will push us all past our 2020 pivot! 

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Future-Focused: How AMPED Met Virtual Meetings Head-On

The word of the year for successful associations? Pivot.

For AMPED and our association clients who rely on annual conferences and trade shows to deliver education and grow membership, 2020 was a chance to explore virtual meeting options, try something new without fear of failure, and, yes, pivot.

It started in March, when the pandemic stay-at-home orders hit just weeks before the annual conference of one of our newest association clients. Staff immediately moved the meeting online and partnered with a virtual platform company to deliver four days of education with both live and prerecorded content. The result was a successful event whose net income was 28 times higher than was budgeted for the original in-person meeting!

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Emerging Leaders: 5 Tools for Leadership Development and AMC Career Advancement

Emerging leaders at the January 2021 AMCI Engagement Lounge reported that receiving new assignments is most important to their AMC career advancement, as they seek broader understanding of their firm’s client operations and key players. This theme was on full display during the interactive session, which avoided the traditional webinar format in favor of direct conversations between panelists, AMCI members, and emerging AMC leaders.

Hosted by the AMCI Emerging Leaders Task Force, featured panelists were: Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE, Owner/CEO, Essentient Association Management & Events; Erin Fuller, FASAE, CAE, MPA, President, Association Solutions, MCI USA; Lane Velayo, CAE, CEO, Synergos Association Management; and Megan Woodburn, CAE, Owner & Founder, Strategic Account Management.

The program was centered around a series of case studies that challenged participants in small groups to use an AMC lens while examining different issues such as scope changes and contract reduction requests, third-party contractor management, and wavering staff allegiances. The panelists emphasized that to grow as a leader within the AMC model, staff must function as consultants and educators, bringing the broader association landscape to the boardroom and equipping board directors with the knowledge to make good decisions.

During the process, the AMC emerging leaders were encouraged to transcend their professional titles by embracing the challenges of their executive teams to actively support resolution development. As Lane Valeyo posed to the group, “Are you picking your head up?”

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The (Re) Accreditation Process Made Me a Believer

A little more than two years ago, I made the move from serving as a stand-alone association executive to the AMC owner world. Like many who make this transition, I spent the first 18 months just trying to keep my head above water/drinking from the firehose/dodging flaming arrows…insert your favorite appropriate analogy here. But for most reading this, I imagine you understand the challenges inherent in the AMC pace and the juggling skills we must acquire.

I knew from the beginning that our firm was “accredited” – in fact, this was part of the preliminary fact-finding discussion I had with my then would-be business partner. Early on, she explained often to me and others that our firm had set processes to guide staff in multiple areas of our services as association managers, as well as various aspects of the business side of things. She explained the differences in accreditation as “process-based” versus an individual credential, like the CAE, as more “knowledge-based.” She talked about the great value of being an accredited firm – both internally and externally.

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