What are the benefits of a study mission to South America? An Argentina-based professional shares a few.
Ready to travel and gain professional experience at the same time? This April, ASAE & The Center's study mission travels to Argentina and Brazil. Associations Now asked Carlos Novello, association management and consulting director for MCI in Buenos Aires, about the benefits of learning in Latin America.
Associations Now: Latin America has recently experienced significant economic growth, with Brazil leading regional growth along the way. How can international association professionals and their organizations benefit from a South America-based study mission?
Carlos Novello: Latin American professionals working in associations are looking for improvement in their day-to-day work, and they are aware that the knowledge they require to reach that improvement comes from other countries around the globe. Association leaders have the need to reposition their vision of the future and their management to guide it toward members' needs and benefits. New generations, which happen to lead the associations in the region, are looking for new tools and products to improve the association management. And Latin American professionals find it a cultural value to be involved in sustainable, solid projects.
What would you say to someone considering the study mission who hasn't decided if she wants to commit the time and money?
The study mission to Buenos Aires and São Paulo is definitely an investment for association leaders because of two main reasons. First, professionals in the region are always trying to reach for the best. Second, professionals in Latin America are conscious of the need for improvement and growth. And the Latin American association market is an extremely competitive one, taking into account that Brazil is one of the BRIC [countries].
American associations should visit our region because it is an opportunity for them to expand globally and the role of associations in this particular region is vital to help society grow. Communities in Latin America trust more the associations with whom they have special contact than the government itself. That is why it is absolutely necessary to develop regional associations as much as possible to increase the level of communities.
What are things that might have changed recently in Brazil-based associations?
In Brazil and throughout the region, when international associations—especially those with strong, established educational programs or other products and offerings—reach out to their community, the efforts are strongly appreciated. By reaching out, the associations show that they are interested in hearing and learning from the community and have a sense of flexibility in understanding community needs.
One of the main changes in Brazil in past years is social networking. As in most areas of the world, social networking is very popular in Brazil; the largest country in the region counts 45 million internet users. A study released by ComScore at the end of 2008 showed that Brazil has the second highest percent reach in the social networking category for countries with more than 10 million monthly unique visitors.
For more information about this year's study mission to Argentina and Brazil, visit www.asaecenter.org/studymission.
Summer Faust is project editor for Associations Now. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org