Ask the CEO: National Speakers Association

National Speakers Association CEO Stacy Tetschner, FASAE, CAE, explains how his organization stays relevant to its members in a rapidly changing world—and shares some personal lessons he's learned from raising a child with Down Syndrome.

Stacy Tetschner, FASAE, CAE, CEO, National Speakers Association, answers questions from NSA member Thom Singer.

Singer: With all the changes in the world of associations, what is NSA doing to stay relevant to its members and the clients they serve?

Tetschner: NSA's goal is to help our members speak more, speak better, and make more money in the current marketplace. To that end, we continually monitor trends within our profession as well as the bigger meetings and convention industry so we can provide information and education on the latest technologies, strategies, and services that will best serve our members in reaching those three goals.

What is the biggest misconception about NSA and the profession of speaking?

Those not familiar with NSA come to us thinking that we book speakers or that we are a speaker bureau. We do promote the use of professional speakers and offer education programs on how speakers can get more bookings; however, that is just one piece of our strategy to be the premier source of education and professional community for the speaking profession.

You and your wife adopted a son with Down syndrome. What have you learned from the experience of raising him?

We have come to learn that children with special needs are a lot more like their typical peers than they are different. The times when we encounter challenges around acceptance for any child with special needs (ours included), it stems from the limiting perceptions we have as adults on what they can and cannot accomplish. Every day we learn from and laugh with Raymond, whether it is seeing and learning about the world through his eyes or helping others see the great potential in him and his peers. He focuses on what he can do, not what he can't do, and it reminds us to do the very same thing for him and for ourselves.