ASAE Great Ideas Conference Attendees Encouraged to Take Risks Be Flexible Lead With Trust

WASHINGTON—For ASAE’s 2017 Great Ideas Conference, March 5–7, there were 601 association professionals and industry partners that took part in more than 40 education sessions, 150 Brain Dates and three Executive Leadership Workshops. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Orlando, Florida.

“We used a variety of formats to help participants learn and engage inside and outside the classroom,” said ASAE President & CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE. “Opportunities ranged from peer learning to in-depth explorations to hands-on training on innovation from ideation to execution. Attendees appreciated the opportunity to personalize their unique experience. The keynotes and eight speakers from outside our industry shared revolutionary ideas and inspiration they can take back to their organizations.”

Leading off the Great Ideas Conference was opening keynote Srini Rao, Chief Creative Instigator, Unmistakable Media and author of Unmistakable. He encouraged organizations to ignore best practices and create unique products and services so distinctive that nobody else could have done it, which would make one’s competition become irrelevant. Rao advised participants to let go of masks and labels, which hinder creative thinking.

The closing keynote was Chief Growth Officer at McChrystal Group, bestselling author, and former US Navy SEAL officer, Chris Fussell. He encouraged organizations to build on and embrace the fundamental attributes of elite, high performing teams including: trust, common purpose, shared consciousness, and empowered execution.
ASAE held three Executive Leadership Workshops this year.

  • On Saturday, March 4, “Ultimate Power Skills & Team Building” was a half-day workshop that applied gamification techniques to teach participants hard and soft intellectual skills as well as build deeper relationships, develop confidence, practice out-of-the-box thinking, improve communication, increase happiness at work, and strengthen creativity.
  • On Sunday, March 5, attendees learned different video strategies in “—The Versatility of Video to Drive Business Objectives.” The half-day workshop focused on the diversity of ways associations are using video, how to have strategic conversations with organization leaders, the major trends, and how to plan and produce video content.
  • On Monday, March 6, ASAE hosted a two-hour evening workshop entitled, “Putting Women’s Ideas to Work—Authentic Ways to Hear and Be Heard?” Led by Ruha Benjamin, assistant professor at Princeton University and author of People's Science, this was part of ASAE’s Women Executives Forum and hosted by ASAE’s Strategic Partner Choose Chicago. It explored gender-related challenges in ideation and execution, and the role of voice, presentation, positioning, and bias in supporting a pipeline for women-led intrapreneurship within associations.

ASAE’s next Great Ideas Conference will be March 11–13, 2018, at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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

Strategic Partners 
Atlanta CVB
Business Events Canada
Choose Chicago
Experience Columbus
Reno Tahoe USA
Visit San Jose

Corporate Partners 
Visit Baltimore
DelCor Technology Solutions
Visit Dallas
Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB
Fort Worth CVB
Louisville CVB
Mexico Tourism Board
Naylor Association Solutions
Visit Omaha
Visit Orlando
Visit Salt Lake

Event Partners 
The Broadmoor 
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 30,000 association executives and industry partners representing more than 7,400 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