CEO to CEO: Getting Down Into the Weeds

Leadership Associations Now July/August 2015

Association executives dish on what task they wish they could do that isn't a part of their everyday duties at the moment.

What is one task that isn't part of your job that you wish you could do?

I wish I had the opportunity to participate in more direct member feedback, both in person and by phone. In our small office, I occasionally need to answer the phones, and it's always a great way to hear from members, especially about their challenges or needs. I always learn something that we can put in place to improve the members' experience.

—Ken Schoppmann, CAE, executive director, Licensing Executives Society, USA and Canada, Inc., Mount Laurel, New Jersey

I'd like to be engaged in the development of marketing materials and branding activities. I've held this responsibility as the CEO of other associations and felt I had a bit of a knack for it and really enjoyed it. But as the size of organizations I worked with grew, and with a full-service marketing team on board now, I hand that over to them because I rarely have time to focus on that type of activity anymore. But I really miss it.

—Michael Dwyer, CAE, president, Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, Mount Laurel, New Jersey

Chairing meetings of the board—no power grab intended. I would like to apply my training in counseling and group dynamics to leading board discussions. My training, a big-picture view of the association sector, and knowledge of our organization could encourage deeply engaging boardroom discussions. I simply have more time to prepare for board meetings than busy volunteer leaders. Besides, chairing means talking less and listening more!

—Randy L. Swing, Ph.D., executive director, Association for Institutional Research, Tallahassee, Florida

Managing our society's website. As an early adopter of the internet, I enjoyed the design aspects of websites and appreciated the impact that this new medium could have on nonprofit messaging. Of course, I had no idea that it would take off as it has, nor the level of complexity it would rise to. Fortunately there are lots of talented people keeping up with developments in the field to keep improving sites.

—Edward Grandi, executive director, National Genealogical Association, Vienna, Virginia