Sector and AuSAE News

  • 13 Aug 2021 4:37 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    A communications strategy that clearly defines your organization’s values and how you bring them to life can help young members connect with your association.

    Even as members of Generation Z have little trust in institutions, they’re also optimistic about their ability to shape a better future. Sixty-two percent of Gen Z-ers say they have the potential to change the world, a figure that rose even amid the chaos of 2020.

    Yet only 27 percent of employees strongly believe in their company’s values, and less than half strongly agree that they know what their organization stands for. One way associations can let Gen Z know that they have a partner in positive change is to highlight their missions and core values in their communications.

    “You have to build a creative strategy on intention, purpose, and authenticity,” says Ellen Kim, founder and creative director of Graphek, an agency that works with associations and nonprofits to generate purpose-driven work. “We’ve asked ourselves, ‘What’s in it for me?’ as we think about what members want, but that question has shifted through the lens of Gen Z. Now the question we must ask ourselves is, ‘How does this impact everyone for the greater good?’”

    Consider these tips from Kim to help your organization find opportunities to leverage its purpose using strong branding and communications.


    Before communicating your organization’s purpose, define and articulate your values so you can clearly communicate them to members. One way to broadcast your mission effectively is to show how members are a part of it.

    Successful purpose-driven companies such as Lululemon see customers as more than buyers, said Bill Theofilou, senior managing director for Accenture Strategy, in a Forbes interview. They treat customers as stakeholders, take time to develop relationships with them, and involve them in future decisions.

    In the same vein, associations should see members as more than people who pay dues. They’re also individuals who are important to the association and its values. Once Gen Z-ers see that their voices are heard, they’ll probably feel more connected to your organization’s mission.

    “Invite them to be stakeholders and be part of the decision making,” Kim says.


    Communicating your organization’s mission or core values may seem inauthentic without tangible examples. And your values probably won’t mean much if they’re just sitting on your association’s website in a bulleted list. Instead, demonstrate how you’re implementing those values. Showing real-world instances of your association benefiting members and helping them enact positive change can prove to Gen Z that there’s meaning behind your maxims.

    “[Gen Z] responds to branding and communication that leave an emotional imprint. Without the emotional imprint, your call to action is useless,” Kim says. “Actions speak louder than words. Use your digital platforms to get the word out.”


    How you share those stories and messages is just as important as the messages themselves. If you want to show Gen Z what kind of organization you are, then you need to communicate in a way that engages them. Kim recommends social campaigns with targeted messaging, eye-catching visuals, and snackable content on platforms that are most popular among Gen Z, such as Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.

    “Be bold in your messaging. Get your communications team to understand the latest digital trends,” Kim says. “It’s refreshing to see more associations revisiting their social media outlets and being more intentional in building a social media strategy.”

    Originally  posted here 

  • 13 Aug 2021 4:30 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    A Screenshot from Naylor's 2021 Association Communications Benchmarking Report 

    Naylor's new report on association communications confirms that associations' communication frequency reached a record level in 2021. However, the report also highlights the significant pain points related to those communications, which may be a portent of things to come. 

    Communication Frequency

    The frequency of communication increased across all channels. If you're wondering how your association measures up, associations averaged 16.4 social media touches per month and 12.3 digital touches. The average number of touches via print publications was 1.7, and video was up to 2.2. These across-the-board increases seemed to have surfaced significant issues.

    Staffing & Challenges

    Survey data illustrates increased concerns about staffing and core communication challenges. The top five communication challenges were: 

    • Combating information overload/cutting through the clutter (72%) 
    • Communicating member benefits effectively (68%)
    • Customizing for member segments (59%) 
    • Engaging young professionals (51%) 
    • Overcoming technical barriers (e.g., spam filters) (48%)

    These challenges take on greater significance when we consider that nearly half of the 400+ respondents (49%) reported feeling understaffed.

    Nondues Revenue

    Last - and perhaps most concerning - the majority of respondents expressed grave concerns about nondues revenue. 3 in 5 expect non-dues revenue to decline post COVID-19, and half expect advertising, sponsorship, and exhibit sales to continue to decline post-COVID. 

    These findings reinforce the need for associations to explore new revenue opportunities and apply a strategic approach to staffing and organizational capacity issues. 

    The 2021 Association Communications Benchmarking Report can be downloaded here. 

    Originally posted here 

  • 12 Aug 2021 2:28 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The 2035 Oceania Summit in Auckland 2022 aims to showcase local solutions for global climate impact.

    New Zealand is embracing its role as a world leader in agri-food-tech with the launch of a new event, the 2035 Oceania Summit in Auckland.

    The regional follow-up summit will draw on the experience of New Zealand-based global agri-food-tech consultancy Wharf42, which will co-host the AgriFoodTech Climate Summit at COP26 in Glasgow in November.

    Wharf42 founder and Summit organiser Peter Wren-Hilton says: “New Zealand is seen as a key global agri-food-tech hub. One of the reasons we’ve been contracted to help other nations in this area is because the New Zealand model is seen as being the gold standard.

    “New Zealand is so strong in agrifood because our agriculture and horticulture sector is the backbone of our economy. In addition, the government in New Zealand is very committed to effecting resolution in climate change. The combination of these factors makes New Zealand the perfect destination for an event of this sort. “

    The event has the support of the Australian AgriTech Association, alongside AgriTech New Zealand, Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events team, and Auckland Unlimited. Wren-Hilton is currently securing the involvement of other key players in the region’s agrifood ecosystem.

    He adds: “There is great science being done by our universities and Crown Research Institutes. The objective is to provide farmers and growers with the tools they need to clean up the environment, address climate issues and reach net zero emissions targets.

    “By bringing together the region’s scientific and research community, agritech companies, farmers and growers, investors and policymakers, the 2035 Oceania Summit has been designed to showcase local solutions for global climate impact.”

    The 2035 Oceania Summit event was launched during Fieldays 2021 in New Zealand, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event.

    Within 48 hours of the announcement, more than 250 people had registered their interest on the Summit’s landing page, a very positive indicator, Wren-Hilton says.

    Tourism New Zealand General Manager Domestic & Business Events, Bjoern Spreitzer says: “Hosting this event not only positions New Zealand as a global leader in agritech and agrifood expertise; it opens opportunities for further research and investment that will benefit our local farmers, local economy, and local environment in the longer term.”

    Wren-Hilton hopes to attract 1000 local and international delegates to the two-day Oceania Summit, which will take place in Auckland in April 2022. It will feature regional and international keynote speakers, breakout panels, an exhibition showcasing current research being undertaken across the region, a startup hub with a pitch event to global investors, as well as extensive networking opportunities.

    He says: “If the borders are open, we’re hoping to attract delegates from around the world to come and share what is happening in this important space.”

    To learn more about the Summit visit:

    For further media comment please contact:
    Peter Wren-Hilton

  • 11 Aug 2021 9:53 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The repeated lockdowns across Australia are having an immense impact on business; all reports indicate that for now, snap lockdowns will be a part of life and business for the meantime.

    If you find yourself with some time on your hands (not for those home schooling!) what about getting to your marketing to-do list? There are plenty of things you could do for your own marketing right now.

    Here’s a list of ideas from the Zadro team to keep you and your team motivated, productive and give your marketing channels a polish.

    1. Review and revise your marketing strategy. Marketing and communications strategies should be reviewed annually. When was the last time you looked at yours to check what’s working, what’s not, and set new goals? Now is also a great time to clear the decks and get creative.
    2. Audit and activate your social media. Ensure your company and key staff member’s LinkedIn profiles are current and ask your contacts and clients (past and present) for recommendations. If you have other social media channels, check they are up to date including your About Us and Rules of Engagement sections, cover images and you’ve responded to messages. Now is a good time to write some posts for the next few weeks which you can schedule using the Business Suite.
    3. Update your website. Review your website with fresh eyes and ask, is the content up to date, are the images current, does it reflect your changed focus, and are there any broken links? Now is a great time to learn how to update your website and do an audit of all your web pages.
    4. Write blogs, case studies and content. You may not publish them all now, however, it is a good idea to work out what case studies you want and get to work! Write blogs based on the questions you get asked from clients, and compile lists of advice for articles!
    5. Refresh your marketing materials. Do you need to update your collateral, or create some new documentation? Are your brochures, leave-behinds, info sheets, pitch documents, etc. communicating your key messages and giving prospective clients great reasons to choose you? Print them all and lay them out on a table – you’ll quickly see the inconsistencies and what your prospects are seeing.
    6. Review, update and consolidate your templates. Templates tend to morph over time! Now is the time to reset your templates and ensure everyone is using the same and most up to date versions.
    7. Learn a new marketing skill. There are plenty of online courses and webinars to choose from. Learn new marketing skills, explore different channels and the best ways to use them, or take the time to learn how to use various marketing tools such as your email marketing software.
    8. Continue to communicate with your customers and clients. Use your regular channels – website, social media, enewsletters – or jump on the phone (a communication tool making a strong comeback!) and check-in directly with them. Take the time and the opportunity to continue building your relationships.
    9. Connect and collaborate. Get in touch with your industry media and seek out opportunities to collaborate or raise the profile of your business or key personnel.
    10. Be part of the solution. If your industry is doing it tough, it is easy to criticise from the sidelines about what is happening. (re)Connect with your industry association, and get involved, be a part of the discussions, solutions and the future!
    11. Update your database. OK no one likes this job, but it is the blood supply of your marketing. Break up your database or commit to doing one letter a day (we’re up to M) and review your contacts.

    The Zadro team are always here if you want to bounce ideas or have questions. Check out our other blogs for more strategic marketing and communications ideas. We also love a good chat! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via or call us on 02 8003 6819.

    Published by Zadro. 

  • 11 Aug 2021 8:34 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International (ASI), a leading global provider of software and services for associations and non-profits, is hosting a live webinar exclusively for Association & Non-Profit Executives on Tuesday, 17 August 2021 at 11am to 12noon AEST/1pm to 2pm NZST on the topic “How do I assure my members their data is safe in the cloud?”.

    The complimentary webinar will offer valuable insights for keeping your member data safe and secure – specifically when you’re working with cloud-based systems - and share advice for ensuring your business practices and processes mitigate risks and provide assurance to your members.

    The webinar will cover:

    • How to undertake a data audit
    • Standards to give your organisation assurances on achieving best-practice with member data security
    • Meeting privacy and other legislative requirements with data in the cloud
    • Data breach risks
    • What you should tell members about their data

    ASI Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Paul Ramsbottom, will explain why your data is safer in the cloud and the steps you can take right away to protect your most valuable association asset – your data!

    Registration at

    ASI’s full schedule of webinars is at

    Association Executive Webinar
    with AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner, Advanced Solutions International

    Topic: How do I assure my members their data is safe in the cloud?
    Date: Tuesday, 17 August 2021
    Time: 11am to 12noon AEST / 1pm to 2pm NZST

    There is no cost to attend.

    About ASI

    Advanced Solutions International (ASI) is a leading global provider of products, programs, and services that help associations and non-profits improve operational and financial performance. Since 1991 we've helped thousands of clients grow revenue and reduce expenses by providing industry expertise, best practice advice, and proven solutions. 

    ASI is the developer of iMIS EMS, the world’s #1 association and non-profit software solution, and the only Engagement Management System (EMS)™ – fusing database management and web publishing into a single system – leading to operational efficiencies, revenue growth, and continuous performance improvement. Harnessing the power of Microsoft Azure’s cloud platform, iMIS EMS is purpose-built to meet the most important challenge facing associations and non-profits – Engagement. We have a global network of nearly 100 partners to provide you with a full range of services to implement and support your iMIS EMS platform.

    ASI is proud to be an AuSAE Premium Alliance Partner.  Learn more at

  • 09 Aug 2021 10:06 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Many companies face large, and growing, skills deficits. A few companies approach skill building in a more integrated way—and are quietly gaining an edge on rivals.

    The COVID-19 crisis and subsequent move to hybrid working models have accelerated the need for new workforce skills. Fifty-eight percent of respondents to our recent global survey said that closing skills gaps has become a higher priority since the pandemic began, and 69 percent said their companies engage in more skill building than they did before the crisis.

    Intriguingly, the skills companies prioritize most are leadership and managing others, critical thinking and decision making, and project management (Exhibit 1). This suggests that in addition to wanting to be more employee centric, organizations are still coming to grips with the new ways of working forced on them by the virus.

    Exhibit 1

    Companies are increasingly focused on developing social, emotional, and advanced cognitive skills.

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    A software company gets emotional

    The challenges will only grow. For example, we estimate that demand for social and emotional skills (ones that machines can’t master) will increase 25 percent in the United States alone over the next decade, compared with a previously expected rise of 18 percent (see sidebar, “A software company gets emotional”). And research from the McKinsey Global Institute finds that 107 million workers may need to switch occupations by 2030—up 12 million from a prepandemic estimate.

    Companies need to prepare their people for a future where new and evolving skills and ways of working are a given and where an embrace of continuous learning is the key to relevancy in the workplace. And leaders must do this while embarking on the broader organizational experiment of determining what the workplace even looks like in a post-COVID-19 world.

    To help, senior executives can study the practices of organizations that already take workplace skilling seriously. In this article, we highlight three nascent principles drawn from best practices. While relatively few companies have fully mastered the challenges, their examples can serve as useful touchpoints for any organization aspiring to start building its own more resilient, future-ready workforce.

    1. Find your true starting point


    1. It’s time for leaders to get real about hybrid
    2. When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?
    3. How might the COVID-19 pandemic end?
    4. Defining the skills citizens will need in the future world of work
    5. SaaS and the Rule of 40: Keys to the critical value creation metric

    Leaders at a large insurance company knew they faced a skills deficit. Prior to the pandemic the company was losing top recruits to sexier high-tech firms. Now, with AI and data analytics skills becoming even more important to the industry, company leaders suspected their current workforce was falling behind. But where, how far, and how fast? “We have more than a hundred job families and two thousand-plus different types of roles,” noted one executive. “Where do we start?”

    In response, the company took a comprehensive inventory of skills across the organization. The inventory was validated by a combination of human managers and AI, which allowed for an apples-to-apples comparison of people’s résumé inputs, as well as their professional experience and accomplishments.

    Importantly, the exercise wasn’t treated as a cataloguing of roles. Collecting job titles is a waste of time when what’s changing are the underlying skills. Similarly, the insurance company didn’t approach the effort as a one-off project but as part of a commitment to a new approach—one grounded in the principle of linking talent to a clearly defined value agenda. The inventory was to be part of the fact base supporting an enterprise-wide supply-and-demand model for current and future roles.

    The first test of the database came when the insurer used it to zero in on 15 job families whose skills would be most vital for the company’s long-term success. In parallel, the company used it to pinpoint areas of immediate concern. For example, the company saw it would face big head-count shortfalls for data analysts, systems developers, and IT-infrastructure experts—all roles in which the underlying skills were themselves changing the fastest.

    2. Make skill building a way of life

    As the insurance company’s talent aspirations took shape, the organization created a “skills hub” to manage, operationalize, and scale them.

    The hub, a permanent business unit led by the company’s head of talent, became responsible for balancing the supply and demand of skills—for instance by creating foundational learning programs for everyone, as well as customized programs for reskilling people in particular roles.

    As a pilot exercise, the hub started with the company’s finance and call-center units—two important groups in which technology already threatened to make many skills (and roles) redundant. In areas where roles needed to change, the hub offered learning modules to help employees gain necessary skills; when roles were being eliminated, the hub provided upskilling to help people qualify for a different role or to find adjacent roles where possible. Senior executives had feared they would have to resort to widespread layoffs or severance offers, but the hub ultimately redeployed or reskilled nearly everyone in the pilot units.

    Similarly, a large telecom company had a high success rate using its skills hub to reskill and redeploy employees whose roles were being affected by technology. The company’s rationale helped. By making clear to everyone that the reskilling was an investment in talent, and in direct support of the company’s regional growth plans, employees were more energized (and reassured the program wasn’t simply a cost-cutting move). Nonetheless, the company’s efforts made financial sense as well. In our experience, hiring new workers can be more than twice as expensive as upskilling and reskilling existing employees.

    To be most effective, skills hubs should have a clear remit. This should include candidate assessment, the future allocation of roles, the implementation of the program itself, and the measurement of impact (Exhibit 2).

    Exhibit 2

    Creating a skills hub can help companies in four ways.

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    3. Take an ecosystem view

    During the chaotic early days of the COVID-19 crisis, some companies, out of necessity, adopted an ecosystem mindset. In just two days, for example, Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim reskilled one thousand employees from its cinema business to work in its grocery business. Similarly, HR technology company, together with the US-based Food Industry Association (FMI), created a talent exchange to help furloughed and laid-off workers find open jobs in other member companies.1 The exchange ultimately amassed more than one million job openings, while providing workers access to 700 free courses to help them upskill.

    More recently, the European Round Table for Industry launched a pan-European training initiative to help unemployed and at-risk workers. Dubbed Reskilling 4 Employment, the effort aims to reskill one million workers by 2025, and up to five million by 2030. Initial pilot projects are planned in Portugal, Spain, and Sweden, and corporate supporters include AstraZeneca, Iberdrola, Nestlé, SAP, Sonae, and Volvo Group.2

    As these examples suggest, integrating skill building with the whole ecosystem in mind can help companies as well as communities and other stakeholders. Cisco’s Networking Academy offers a good example of just such a win–win approach. The company partners with educators and instructors around the world to offer students IT training in a range of areas such as big data, cloud, cybersecurity, and machine learning. The effort connects students to jobs inside Cisco and with its external partners, while creating a much larger pool of skills the company prioritizes.

    Companies are more likely to gain an edge in skill building when their leaders are willing to question old assumptions. Legacy approaches are likely to be too slow, too incremental, or too difficult to scale given the challenges ahead.

    Organizations must also be willing to question their legacy mindsets, including presumptions of what employees want and what they’re capable of. Employees are often more energized by skills development than senior executives give them credit for. This was true at a midsize European bank, where leaders worried that tellers would be unmotivated by the company’s reskilling program, or even resent it. But rather than balk at the changes, the tellers embraced them, and the bank ultimately created three distinct career paths for the tellers as part of its successful pilot program—one that is now being scaled across the entire organization.

    Published by McKinsey & Company

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:51 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Professionalism isn’t just about choice of attire—it encompasses diversity and personal discussions too. As people return to the office, the topic promises to get complicated. Here are some tips on how to navigate.

    After a year and a half of people regularly wearing dress shirts with sweatpants, you weren’t expecting everything to go back to the way it was in the office before the pandemic, were you?

    The pandemic and other major events over the past year shifted expectations for what professionalism means. As offices reopen—and as some workers stay remote—this multidimensional issue gives leaders a lot to think about. Here are some considerations for organizations trying to discover what “professional” means to them now:

    See professionalism through the lens of DEI. Being professional in a work environment might be seen as a basic requirement, but the guidelines of what exactly constitutes professionalism have traditionally forced people to behave in a way that caters to the dominant culture. In recent years, however, some cultural observers, such as Stanford Social Innovation Review contributor Aysa Gray, have questioned professionalism as forcing a culture that “explicitly and implicitly privileges whiteness and discriminates against non-Western and non-white professionalism.” With that in mind, now might be a good time to consider whether professional standards are serving all of your workforce.

    Make room for discussions of family and personal challenges. Millions of people contracted COVID-19, and there’s a good chance that the virus directly affected some in your office. But even if they remained physically healthy, your employees may have suffered in other ways—mental health and substance abuse issues were heightened during this period, and those concerns don’t necessarily vanish with a vaccine. Traditionally, “professionalism” has discouraged these discussions, based on a theory called Protestant Relational Ideology, which sets aside personal concerns to focus on the work at hand. But after a tough year where many families had to manage Zoom calls around children stuck at home, there may need to be more room for personal discussions when they emerge in the workplace.

    Accept that difficult discussions might happen. Perhaps it was inevitable that a company like Basecamp would run into a conflict over political discourse in the workplace (ironically, this unfolded on the platform the company developed to boost productivity). But the conflict resulted in something that was not inevitable: mass resignations. Perhaps the key for associations hoping to avoid this is to build a culture that can handle those discussions in meaningful ways—and to avoid banning political discussions.

    Let your employees get a little more casual. Businesswear often took a back seat over Zoom (sweatpants and button-down combos aside). As people head back to the office, they may buck against a return to business attire. This might be even more of an issue for offices operating in a hybrid model: With recent studies finding that most people working remotely don’t adhere to a dress code, enforcing a strict dress code for in-office workers sets an inconsistent standard. (Luckily, clothing makers are adapting, according to The Wall Street Journal [subscription], with some retailers offering “hybrid dressing” that combines professional with casual.)

    Embrace a diversity of emotions. Diversity isn’t limited to demographics. It can also be about how employees feel and react to things, and that not everyone sees eye to eye on everything. As Associations Now blogger Mark Athitakis wrote in January, the pandemic offered us a reset on emotional diversity, allowing leaders to shift away from attempting to emotionally align teams. “Perhaps a better place to start is to double-check that you know where your people are emotionally in the first place,” he wrote. “And if there’s a silver lining in 2020 when it comes to management, we’re doing a better job at prioritizing that.”



    originally posted here

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:48 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Making improvements to your association’s programs, products and services might feel like too much to take on. After all, you’ve got an organisation to run. But there are small things you can start doing right away that have the potential to make a big (and positive) impact on your organisation and your members. Here are three of them.


    Continually developing new content for your members—from articles and papers to presentations—can be overwhelming. So, before you start developing content from scratch, look at what you already have. You likely have more than you think—content that can be reused, repurposed, and used as a launching point for new content.  Also, consider asking if you can reshare or repost your members’ content in your own online community and on your social media channels. You can also ask your volunteers and more involved members to help you produce content.


    Whether your member events are virtual, in-person or hybrid, there are a few simple things you can do to take member engagement to the next level. For example:

    • Send members a short series of emails to get them excited about your event and let them know what to expect. For instance, in one email you might include event highlights. In another, include top tips for getting the most out of the event.
    • Send attendees an email on each day of the event. Focus on updates and key events for the day. Include links so attendees can easily access sessions and other event features.
    • Engage attendees outside of the event. For example, post highlights of the event each day on your social media accounts. Also, start discussion groups about topics from your event in your online member community.


    You probably send attendee surveys after your organization’s meetings and events. But do you get member feedback in other areas? Start reaching out to members to learn what they think about your products and services. For example, send a periodic survey to gather members’ thoughts and ideas about your organization’s programs and benefits. Also, gain insights by spending a few minutes each day reading what members are saying in your online community and participating in conversations to spark more feedback. You’ll likely uncover some simple tweaks you can make to provide even greater value to your members.

    Originally posted here

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:45 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    While the 2021 ACE Conference and Exhibition did not travel to Melbourne this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we reimagined and transformed the event into a 100% live and truly immersive 3D virtual experience on 2-3 August 2021.

    AuSAE's ACE 2021 Reimagined Virtual Conference saw over 350 associations professionals tune in to watch 23 speakers gather for 16 sessions to discuss the theme 'Advance, Connect and Engage'. The conference offered 2 days of inspiring and educational content designed so that delegates could learn and network virtually with their peers and industry leaders.

    Day one started with Andrew Klein, our master of ceremonies opening the ACE 2021 Virtual Conference, calling it the 'Association Olympics 2021', and ACE is the place to watch and participate, virtually and without barriers.

    Shadé Zahrai, an Award-Winning Leadership Strategist, presented the opening keynote on Embracing an Opportunity Mindset and shared her insights and science-backed strategies to thrive during change. She showed us how to choose what we see, take time to name our state and just remember to keep things 'CHILL'.

    We then took a deep dive into thought leader sessions. We explored the evolution of membership models with Belinda Moore and skilled-up on organisational culture with Michelle Stanton.  Followed by express learnings on metrics your association must measure with Michelle Lelempsis, increasing engagement with data with Marcus Duhon, and the value in virtual with Banu Kannu.

    One of the conference highlights was the incredible panel discussion with association leaders Charles Cameron, Lyn McMorran, Merlin Kong, Tom Dunsmore, Toni Brearley, Chris Roberts, Amy Flint, Andrew Hiebl and moderated by Paul Ramsbottom. Delegates could ‘Ask Them Anything’, and our association influences shared their insights and ideas on driving member engagement, new business models to replace lost event revenue, and technology updates and investments to consider for their association. Day one wrapped up with a networking session where delegates connected and shared experiences with their colleagues and peers.

    Day two kicked off with networking sessions in the Virtual Tradeshow, showcasing the latest solutions reshaping the association sector offered by our sponsors and exhibitors. Delegates met with 30+ exhibitors in their virtual booths via live video and message chats to answer their questions and help their associations thrive.

    Gihan Perera, a futurist and author, gave us a glimpse into what’s ahead with his opening keynote address on Disruption: Future of Leadership in a Fast-Changing World. He showed us how to become fit for the future, lead in uncertainty, share some great ideas - to expect the unexpected, start before you're ready and always remember to ooch!

    Next up, thought-leaders sessions featured the science of community management with Venessa Paech and communicating a message that counts in moments that matter with Shane Hatton. Followed by express learning sessions on navigating virtual AGMs with Vera Visevic, who’s sponsoring who with Julian Moore, and strengthening member value with advisory services with Alistair McDonald.

    Over the two days, delegates were connecting via the meeting hub and social media and sharing photos of how their viewing, where they are. We saw dogs, cats and two horses, lockdown beards, crazy hats and breath-taking settings.

    In the final session, Antarctic Expedition Leader and Adventurer, David Knoff presented Leadership Through Adversity, sharing his story of leadership, motivation, inspiration, and endurance. He spoke about his year-long Antarctic Expedition in 2019, being away from Australia for an epic 537 days, and missing the entirety of 2020 and the pandemic response. His adventure, leadership lessons and mental health resilience lessons was a great way to close the conference.

    Toni Brearley, CEO of AuSAE, said, "With lockdowns being enacted in our major cities we had to quickly and decisively move the ACE 2021 Conference to the online world during the pandemic and reimagine learning and development value for our members. We realised the importance of keeping our association community connected no matter what the barriers."

    Brearley added, “The camaraderie and learning from a supportive association community are always important. Still, in a year filled with so many challenges – a strong community is essential.”

    "The ACE Reimagined Virtual Conference provided an interactive platform for association professionals to stay connected, be supported and inspired, wherever they may be located.” This has demonstrated the vital role AuSAE plays in providing professional development opportunities, support and networking opportunities for existing and emerging association leaders in Australia and New Zealand.

    We hope to see you either in person or digital (depending on COVID-19 regulations) at our upcoming pop-up networking events, webinars, and ACE Conference & Exhibition in July 2022.

    We'd like to thank our amazing event partners, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors for their continued support and making the ACE 2021 Reimagined Virtual Conference possible.

    Tourism New Zealand Business Events, Advanced Solutions International, Pullman Melbourne on the Park, Adelaide Convention Centre, Higher Logic, EventsAIR, Outstanding Displays, uncommon conferences, ICMS, Saxton Speakers, Adelaide Expo Hire, APT Solutions Ltd, FineHaus, Beaumont People, Destination Gold Coast Business Events, Canberra Convention Bureau, Causeis, FCB Group, Guild Insurance, hmh Advisory, Mills Oakley, NT Business Events, Pointsbuild Pty Ltd, Professional Advantage,Prosple, Strategic Membership Solutions, Survey Matters, Melbourne Showgrounds (Victoria Pavilion)

  • 06 Aug 2021 5:40 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The stakes are high for associations in regards to ransomware attacks—which have been rising in notoriety this year.

    It’s hard to get away from ransomware these days—in no small part because of the outsize impact it can have on large organizations.

    "This will be a topic at the AuSAE LINC conference in September"

    Beyond the direct repercussions for individual organisations, ransomware is an issue of diplomacy and has even affected the supply chain on more than one occasion.

    Given the data that associations have about their members and the stored data that’s vital to their continuity, associations need to pay attention to ransomware, even if it seems like something that happens to other organizations.

    It’s a question of risk. Derek Symer, a partner at AHT Insurance and director of its nonprofit practice, says that in addition to presenting a financial problem (experts recently estimated that the worldwide cost of ransomware will top $265 billion by 2031, from about $20 billion this year), ransomware could be a significant deterrent for members concerned about protecting their sensitive data.

    “Think of your membership,” he says. “These folks may not want their individual or corporate names associated with an association. Associations could have proprietary information about their members, competitors, an industry, or trade secrets that are sensitive. All of these risks are on the table in a ransomware attack.”

    And the best way to handle risk is to mitigate it.


    One thing you should not do when mitigating risk: wait.

    Some people may have an instinct to tackle ransomware issues as they occur, but Symer stresses that the scope of ransomware’s potential toll can’t be underplayed. Victims face significant costs that are both tangible—the literal cost of additional security, data restoration, and infrastructure upgrades—and intangible.

    “People may need to work around-the-clock without sleep, which can exact a significant emotional toll,” Symer warns. “Strategic initiatives may be put on hold, and overall a ransomware attack will be a huge time drain. If this comes at membership renewal time or heading into a virtual conference, it could be costly, time-consuming, or worse.”

    The recommended course of action is straightforward: plan ahead and budget for an attack. With that in mind, Symer says budgetary concerns must also be front of mind when discussing ransomware. He recommends that associations “be very thoughtful and analytical” about managing cybersecurity risks. That might mean more frequent backups or infrastructure upgrades.

    “This can include the costs and benefits of things like cyberinsurance premiums and deductibles, as well as the spend on self-insurance and IT security costs,” Symer says. “The budget is the budget, but how these various factors impact the budget will be carefully weighed.”


    Of course, not every association is large enough to have a technology team to manage its infrastructure in a way that can help avoid ransomware issues. Associations in that position can lean on an outside vendor to help manage their technology needs.

    Symer notes, however, that even security vendors are having ransomware issues at this time, so it’s important that executives understand the issues at play.

    “There’s no magic wand,” he says. ”Any executive or board member today, even without a formal IT background, should be able to understand IT fundamentals, ask questions, and get answers. How are we protected? Is our cyber coverage adequate? How does our security posture compare to our peers’? Senior leadership and the board must be engaged on this.”


    Nobody wants to have to resolve a ransomware attack, but developing a strategy in advance will save time and money down the line. Consider going through an exercise to figure out how your organization would respond to an attack—including whether your organization would be willing or able to pay a ransom.

    “A tabletop ‘war room’ exercise with a ransomware scenario is a great mechanism to give you the proactive chance to think through exactly how you would respond if the worst case presents itself,” Symer says.

    He also recommends that associations review their insurance policies, which probably already offer access to information on phishing, security awareness, and password education.

    “Many folks need to better understand what free resources are available, tucked into insurance policies they are already paying for,” he says.

    Symer emphasizes the importance of employees sounding the alarm on issues that could lead to a ransomware attack—and says that training people to spot the signs of an invasion is critical.

    “Employees are truly the last line of defense,” he says. “Like in soccer, a strong back line will keep the ball safely away from the goal. If employees are educated and trained in common phishing attack vectors, basic security awareness trends, your whole organization will be safer and better off.”

    Originally posted here

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

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