ASAE Great Ideas Conference Inspires Executives to Innovate, Build Influence, Elevate Leadership

March 18, 2016

WASHINGTON—ASAE’s 2016 Great Ideas Conference, March 13–15, had its highest attendance when located at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs with 790 attendees. The total represents an increase of 131 percent from 2012. Association professionals and industry partners participated in more than 70 education sessions with 160 content leaders including keynotes from: Boston College’s Carroll School of Management dean Andrew C. Boynton, MBA, PhD and because I said I would founder Alex Sheen.

Andy Boynton, a regular contributor on, and author of The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make Them Happen, kicked off the conference. He revealed that great business ideas do not spring from innate creativity or necessarily from the brilliant minds of people, but those who are in the habit of looking for great ideas around them all the time. Boynton encouraged attendees to understand the difference between invention and innovation, to be systematic, to have clear goals, and to hunt for ideas outside their industry. 

“We continue to see Great Ideas grow in attendance as well as the quality of educational sessions for our attendees. Participants mentioned this year’s conference was the best in its history, as they discovered new ideas and strategies they could implement into their own organizations,” said ASAE President & CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE.

Wrapping up the conference was Alex Sheen, who challenged leaders in the association community to explore the true value of honoring our commitments, even when it is difficult, expensive, or inconvenient. He talked about his story and dared attendees to build greater trust, influence, and impact with their teams as well as how to create meaningful interactions. He shared his insights on the importance of keeping promises, and a reminder that whenever a leader might consider quitting, they should remember why they started in the first place.

The event began on Sunday, March 13 with two half-day Executive Leadership Workshops. In “Executive’s Guide to Profitable Education & Learning,” Jeff Hurt, who is EVP, education and engagement for Velvet Chainsaw Consulting, explored six brain-based learning principles, the role of technology, and how to ensure there is a business ROI within the education programs associations offer their members.

In “A Silicon Valley Guide to Engagement, Loyalty and Optimal Revenue,” Robbie Kellman Baxter, founder of Peninsula Strategies, LLC, and author of The Membership Economy, explored how associations can transform how they engage customers, build loyalty, and establish predictable revenue through subscription pricing and community engagement business models.

For more information about this year’s conference, visit Great Ideas website. Next year, the Great Ideas Conference will be held in Florida at the Hyatt Regency Orlando on March 5–7, 2017.

ASAE thanks the following Alliance Partners for continued support of the association community:

Strategic Partners

Atlanta CVB
Business Events Canada
Reno Tahoe USA
Team San Jose

Corporate Partners

Visit Baltimore
Dallas CVB
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB
Fort Worth CVB
Louisville CVB
Mexico Tourism Board
Naylor Association Solutions
Omaha CVB
Visit Orlando
Visit Salt Lake
Meet in Washington State

Event Partners

The Broadmoor
DelCor Technology Solutions
Dubai Association Centre
Hong Kong Tourism Board
Johnson Lambert LLP and Vault Consulting
Korea Tourism Organization
Meet In Minnesota
New Orleans CVB and New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

MEDIA CONTACT: Sabrina Kidwai, APR, CAE,, 202-326-9505.

About ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership
ASAE is a membership organization of more than 21,000 association executives and industry partners representing 9,300 organizations. Its members manage leading trade associations, individual membership societies and voluntary organizations across the United States and in nearly 50 countries around the world. With support of the ASAE Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession, and provides resources, education, ideas and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. For more information about ASAE, visit