Christopher Baker; Senior Director, Internet Services; American Pharmacists Association
Hometown: Bristow, VA
Favorite Vacation Spot? Smith Mountain Lake, VA
Biggest trend creating opportunities for associations: Technology! Now more than ever, associations have access to the latest technology platforms that help to bring all the disparate systems together. Using these platforms to their full advantage, and finding ways to extends their capability will create new opportunities to interact with members.
Biggest trend creating challenges for associations: Technology! The costs and complexities associated with implementing new platforms requires a significant investment in staffing and education. New platforms also require that the organization, from the top down, needs to embrace the new technology to provide the best results for its members.
Kristen Garman, Senior Associate Director of Communications, National Association for College Admission Counseling
Hometown: Greenwood Lake, NY
Favorite Vacation Spot? Kauai, HI
Biggest trend creating opportunities for associations: Data driven decision making.
Biggest trend creating challenges for associations: Understanding the key data that your association may have and knowing how to leverage it to move the association forward.
Ross Rollins; Director, Creative Services & Digital Communications; American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Favorite Vacation Spot: Honolulu, Hawaii
Biggest Trend Creating Opportunities for Associations: The recent reduction in costs to provide personalized member content and communications allows associations to take the overdue step to move away from the “one size fits all” approach when talking to members. While it used to be the realm of the association model, a multitude of options are available now for members from other sources, so being able to serve “smart” content to members via the information we have amassed about them over time is a great benefit for them, and ultimately the association.
Biggest Trend Creating Challenges for Associations: Private sector incursion into once “association-only” content areas is a huge challenge. Private sector companies can throw large amounts of dollars toward technology that makes it very difficult to compete with in the association budget model. We have to be creative and innovative with our resources as people in all walks of life have become so accustomed to high-tech and what that means in their daily lives, and associations face a high hurdle to provide those experiences in our members’ professional lives.
Elizabeth Ambacher; Vice President, Meetings; National Apartment Association
Hometown: Annandale, VA
Favorite Vacation Spot? Caribbean
Biggest trend creating opportunities for associations: Despite the belief that people want everything delivered digitally, they continue to attend live events, particularly millennials. Event attendees want to make genuine connections with peers who face similar experiences and challenges in their day to day lives. This gives associations the opportunity to develop programming for first-time and veteran attendees to increase attendee engagement within their events. It means more work on the association’s part to understand the needs of their attendees, but making the attendees feel that they are a part of the event leads to increased attendee satisfaction.
Biggest trend creating challenges for associations: Various demographics of event attendees have different needs/expectations from events and they all have unique learning styles. This challenges associations to create event environments that provide personalized experiences to attendees and help them achieve the goals of their personal event journey. Understanding attendee’s needs and delivering customized tracks of networking, education and personal wellness can be challenging, but is a necessary factor in successful events.