How did you get started in associations?
I stumbled into the association field, like so many association people do. I moved to Northern Virginia after finishing graduate school, and the job I happened to get was in an association. Our CEO encouraged me to join ASAE, and I was fascinated to learn about association management as a professional field. And then, after a while, I fell in love with it. I can’t imagine working anywhere else at this point.
When did you know the CAE was meant for you? What made you apply?
I applied as soon as I was eligible to do so. I thought that earning the CAE would help me build my career and open doors for me that might not otherwise open—which proved to be true.
What is your best advice for studying for the exam?
Read all of the Authorized Literature. I know it’s a lot to get through, but that step alone is so helpful.
Also, if you’re a subject-area specialist like me, remind yourself to remove your subject-specialist hat and put on your CAE hat while you’re studying.
And don’t be shy about reaching out to current CAEs for help if you need it. Every CAE I’ve met has been happy to answer questions or offer studying advice.
What is one benefit you gained (personally or for you organization) from studying/becoming a CAE?
I didn’t realize how much I would learn through the process of studying for the exam, and I didn’t realize what great connections I would make to other CAE candidates. I’m still grateful for both of those things.
Best advice for others:
I took the CAE Immersion Course (now called the CAE Kickoff Course), and I can’t tell you how much it helped me in my studying process. You can’t learn all of the material during the Kickoff Course, but it will show you where to focus your studying, and they provide a ton of helpful studying and test-taking tips.