Yesterday we held our last webinar event in the Strengthening Associations Series, “Reflections and the Future of Associations”. For this special panel event we were joined by Damian Mitsch, Federal CEO, Australian Dental Association, Wes Lambert, CEO, Restaurant & Catering Industry Association Australia and Amelia Hodge, CEO, Australian Property Institute. I was able to join the panel in Sydney to facilitate this conversation and deep dive discussion into the road to recovery for our associations.
I would like to take this opportunity while my thoughts are fresh to share my key take aways from yesterday’s discussion. I think what inspired me most was that even though each of these associations have been impacted by the virus quite significantly the leaders were very optimistic about their teams, boards, member value and the future of associations as we move into the next stage. We were lucky enough to have such a breadth of representation and knowledge on this panel and the varying impacts and responses on each sector. We are still yet to see the full impact of this crisis on the economy and I know we have a hard road ahead as we move towards the end of the year but I do hope the panel discussion yesterday provided you with the insights and tools to keep moving forward.
What lessons, operational changes and team practices will we continue to keep after COVID-19:
- This crisis has highlighted the ability for associations to be agile, innovative and quick in decision making and execution. We have been forced to make decisions quicker than we are used to and our teams and boards have stepped up during this time to enable us to respond to our members and their needs.
- As restrictions came in we saw the cancellation of major events and associations’ ability to deliver training, education and networking for members. This has given us the ability and time to take a closer look and assess our member offering, what haven’t we been doing over this period and have we survived without it, did it add value and did the value outweigh the cost of delivery. Now is not the time to be saying ‘when can we go back to the old way and how we used to do it’.
- Continue the collaboration, it’s more important than ever to be collaborating with other associations, and leaders as we move into the next stage.
- Workplace flexibility is here to stay. Now we have proven that we can all work productively and successfully from home, we need to keep this option available for our employees.
- Let’s not take our foot off the pedal just yet. We keep hearing this but associations have never been more important than they are now. This period of time has highlighted to members, non-members, and the broader community the pivotal role that associations play to advocate and be the single source of truth for entire professions. We should use this time and harness this attention to continue to provide meaningful solutions to member problems.
A big thank you to our panel speakers yesterday, and all of our speakers who joined us online every week for the last three months. We are pleased that we could bring members and our community thought leaders and experts in the sector to help us navigate this new world. And finally a huge thank you to all of you for participating and joining us for each webinar – we have had an overwhelming response to this series and we look forward to continuing to bring you the information and knowledge you need as association leaders.
Chief Executive Officer
Australasian Society of Association Executives