DELP scholars share their experience

Diversity and Inclusion

Two Diversity Executive Leadership Program scholars talk about their experiences with the program that supports individuals from underrepresented identity groups within the association community.

Associations Now recently asked two Diversity Executive Leadership Program scholars about their experiences with the leadership program that supports individuals from underrepresented identity groups within the association community. For more information on the DELP program or to apply for the 2011-2013 class (hurry, though, you only have until March 18), visit

Associations Now: What has been the most rewarding experience for you during your time with DELP?

Victor Garcia, president and CEO, VHG Consulting, LLC: The access to high-level executives within the association community and within ASAE has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Being a DELP scholar has helped me get access to some of the most brilliant minds in the association world, both staff and volunteers. This has helped me grow personally and professionally, and I have been able to apply the lessons learned from those top executives in my day-to-day work. Being a DELP scholar has opened doors to me, because people recognize DELP immediately as a brand, they know what DELP represents, and there is a high level of recognition and respect to those who are current or former DELP scholars.

Mitchell L. Dvorak, CAE, executive director, Consumers Advancing Patient Safety: One of the most rewarding things about DELP is the professional development and networking opportunities the program affords, from meeting fellow DELP colleagues from my class and years prior to attending ASAE conferences and meetings and getting to know many of the ASAE staff and volunteer leaders. Being part of DELP provides a network of individuals that you can tap into to ask questions, share successes and resources, and who offer encouragement and support as you advance your career in the association community.

What would you tell someone who is considering applying to be a DELP scholar?

Garcia: If you are within the underrepresented segments of the association community and would like to grow into the ranks of leadership in the association profession, this is your opportunity to shine and be part of an elite group of the most talented individuals in the association community as a DELP scholar. I would have never thought I would have had the opportunity to access the educational and networking opportunities I had as a DELP scholar. DELP scholars participate in an accelerated leadership program of education and volunteer service in the association community.

Dvorak: There are three primary reasons why I decided to apply to be a DELP scholar. First, I feel that the most important thing I can do as a gay man is to be out and lead an authentic life. I always strive to lead a fully integrated personal and professional life.
Second, being a DELP scholar gives you access to networking, mentoring, and volunteer opportunities. This program will create a pathway for you to learn from others, to share the lessons youve learned through your experiences, and to make a contribution back to the larger association community.
Finally, being a DELP scholar will help you fulfill your personal and professional sense of responsibility and willingness to step up and be among the next generation of leaders in the association community.

What do you hope to see DELP accomplish in the near future that it has not already?

Garcia: I would like DELP to be recognized as an official advisory group within the governance structure of ASAE and help promote the importance of diversity initiatives within an organization. I hope that DELP continues to give opportunities to more and more underrepresented individuals and groups within the association community.

Dvorak: Expanding DELP to a two-year program is very beneficial. Im looking forward to the group coaching in the second year of the program, in addition to getting involved in a volunteer capacity for ASAE. Im proud to be part of the association community and grateful to be working in a profession that welcomes and encourages diversity. I believe that diversity, in all its forms, is a valuable asset and source of strength. Through this scholarship program, I have a structure within which to continue my journey to advance diversity and enhance the richness of both my personal and professional life.

Sidebar: Benefits of DELP

Here a just a few of the benefits of becoming a Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar:
ASAE membership;

Attend two ASAE Annual Meetings, a Volunteer Leadership Retreat, and other educational programs (registration, travel, and lodging included);

Connect to an industry leader who serves as a mentor;

Active engagement as a volunteer;

Access to a Certified Association Executive study group;

Waiver of the CAE exam fee.


To learn more about the other benefits of being a DELP scholar, visit