Sector and AuSAE News

  • 12 Jul 2023 10:38 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) is thrilled to announce the addition of three new Certified Association Executives (CAEs) to the growing cohort in Australia and New Zealand. Anne Livingstone, Gregory Harford, and Kylene Schlebusch have achieved this distinguished global credential, representing the highest level of professional recognition in the association industry.

    The CAE Commission of ASAE, a leading global organisation for association professionals, has been at the forefront of recognizing and promoting excellence in the field. With the addition of these three accomplished individuals, the total number of CAEs worldwide now surpasses 4,500. This milestone is a testament to the increasing significance of the CAE credential and its impact on the association industry.

    Congratulations to Anne Livingstone, Research & Projects Director at Global Community Resourcing/Aged Care Industry Technology Council, Gregory Harford, CEO at Retail NZ, and Kylene Schlebusch, Administration Manager at the Hire Industry Association of New Zealand, for their outstanding achievement in earning the CAE credential. They have demonstrated exceptional dedication, knowledge, and commitment to their respective fields. Their achievement of the CAE credential speaks volumes about their expertise and the impact they have made within their organisations and the industry.

    AuSAE, in partnership with ASAE launched the first localised version of the CAE credential in New Zealand and Australia in February 2021. This localised CAE program has provided association professionals with a unique opportunity to enhance their skills, knowledge, and professional standing within the industry. AuSAE remains committed to championing the CAE credential and furthering the profession of association management.

    Recognised as the highest professional credential in the association industry, the CAE designation signifies a deep understanding of association management principles, ethical standards, and best practices. CAEs possess the skills to navigate complex challenges and drive positive change within their associations. By earning this credential, Anne Livingstone, Gregory Harford, and Kylene Schlebusch have established themselves as industry leaders, equipped to drive their respective associations forward and make a lasting impact.

    The achievement of these three remarkable professionals is a celebration and also an inspiration for others in the association management industry. It serves as a reminder of the importance of continuous professional development and the value of the CAE credential. Aspiring association executives can follow in their footsteps by registering for the AuSAE 10-Week September Spring CAE study group. For more information about the credential or to register for the September Spring study group visit the AuSAE website

    Congratulations again to all!

  • 07 Jul 2023 9:43 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The future of the association sector is in good hands, and one shining example is Tracey Rudd. She's the recipient of the 2022 Future Leader Scholarship program, a joint initiative by AuSAE and the Adelaide Convention Centre. This program is all about nurturing emerging leaders, creating a network of dedicated individuals, and propelling the association sector into a brighter future.

    Meet Tracey Rudd 

    Tracey is currently the General Manager and Company Secretary of the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA). Her journey to this leadership role is a fascinating one. She started with a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Sydney University in 1993, laying a strong foundation in healthcare.

    In addition to her pharmacy degree, Tracey holds a Certificate in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University. This commitment to continuous learning showcases her drive to evolve and excel in her career.

    Diverse Professional Experience

    Tracey's career path is a testament to her versatility. She has held various roles in the pharmacy field, ranging from community pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry to contributing to the National Prescribing Service. She even ventured into entrepreneurship, running her own medication review business.

    However, her current role as General Manager at ARA marks her debut in the association sector. This transition is a testament to her adaptability and leadership potential.

    The Future Leader Scholarship Program

    Being selected as a 2022 Future Leader Scholarship recipient underscores Tracey Rudd's promise and dedication to the association sector. This program, powered by AuSAE and the Adelaide Convention Centre, equips emerging leaders with resources and a supportive network.

    Tracey's participation in this program signifies her readiness to assume leadership roles that will shape the future of associations. Her diverse experience and commitment to innovation make her a leader to watch.

    As Tracey Rudd continues to lead the Australian Rheumatology Association and a recipient in the Future Leader Scholarship program, she stands as a role model for aspiring association leaders. Her journey, characterised by education, adaptability, and innovation, promises to drive positive change in the association sector, both in Australia and beyond. 

    For more information about the Future Leaders program, visit

  • 22 Jun 2023 11:39 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Associations Matter Monthly Poll – June 2023 Results

    The June Associations Matter Poll looked at the current economic situation, and association leaders' perspectives about how economic uncertainty, increasing interest rates and inflation might impact their association, including the challenges they face and their expectations for renewal rates.

    Overall, association leaders are quite pessimistic about the impacts, with three in ten saying they are concerned about the current economic situation, and over half (52%) somewhat concerned. Only 5% express any optimism.

    The biggest challenges facing association leaders are concerns about the cost-of-living impact on membership renewal (42%) and conversely, managing the increasing costs to provide products and services (36%). Closely tied to these issues are meeting revenue targets, and an inability to invest in additional staff to deliver the products and services used by members. Some are concerned about the impacts to other revenue generating activities like attendance at events and conferences, with around a quarter citing this as one of their primary issues.

    While the quantitative results present a somewhat gloomy outlook, the verbatim comments show associations are more concerned about the effect the current economic situation will have on their members, saying “the biggest challenge to us is the increased demand for member assistance when those same members are doing it tough in the current economic environment”.

    Other free text comments are largely neutral, with some association’s renewals not due until the end of the year, therefore “it's hard to know what the impact will be yet”, while around one in five suggest a more positive outlook, saying “initially we did believe renewals would drop as cost of living increased, however this has not been the case with overall membership still growing slowly…”.

    It is clear from these results that the sector is experiencing much of the same impacts as many others. It remains to be seen how this plays out over time, particularly if the predictions of further interest rate rises are realised.

    “Renewals are about to go out now so the response will be interesting to see in coming weeks… and financial pressure on us as a business is ever increasing - wages, overheads, insurances etc. and the margins just get tighter” CEO, Professional association.

    About the Associations Matter Monthly Poll

    The Associations Matter Monthly Poll is an initiative by AuSAE and Survey Matters. We think it's important to stay up to date with the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities facing associations. The Associations Matter Monthly Poll aims to provide insights into the thoughts and opinions of association leaders, giving them a better understanding of how others are responding to current situations and developments. The Associations Matter Monthly Poll is conducted by Survey Matters, experts in association and membership research.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Associations Matter June 2023 Poll. You can register to receive future polls here.

  • 20 Jun 2023 2:19 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The AuSAE MX 2023 event series has come to a close, and what an incredible journey it has been! From the vibrant city of Sydney to the bustling streets of Melbourne and the charming vibes of Adelaide, we embarked on an incredible journey deep into the realm of association management, focusing on the critical aspect of membership. The events brought together membership professionals from various industries, providing a platform for connection, collaboration, and learning. 

    We kicked off the event with a bang, thanks to the brilliant Sarah Sladek, CEO of the Membership University. She took the virtual stage and blew our minds with her keynote on membership strategy. Sarah dove headfirst into the fascinating world of MemberShift, where she explored the reasons behind why members leave associations and shared invaluable tips on how to bring them back. Her keynote set the tone for the rest of the event, igniting curiosity, and sparking meaningful discussions. 

    But that was just the beginning. Brenda Mainland, the Co-Founder and Director of Survey Matters, took over and wowed us with her presentation on membership insights. She dug deep into what truly matters to members, the secret sauce that drives engagement, and the reasons why individuals join and stay connected with associations. The "aha" moments were aplenty! 

    And let's not forget about the awesome workshop led by Felicity Zadro, the Managing Director at Zadro. Communication is everything, my friends, and Felicity showed us just how crucial it is to effectively communicate the value of an association to its members. We brainstormed and explored various strategies and techniques to ensure that our members truly understand and appreciate the amazing benefits they receive as part of their membership. 

    Of course, we can't overlook the epic session by Lindsay McGrath, the CEO of SPASA Australia. He took us on a thrilling deep dive into the art of mastering member experience. Lindsay emphasised the importance of delivering exceptional experiences to our association members and shared some tips and real-life examples to inspire us all. We left that session ready to take our member experience game to a whole new level! 

    But it wasn't just the incredible speakers that made this event series a hit. We had the privilege of hearing remarkable case studies from associations - Australian Institute of Project Management, Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, Local Government Professionals NSW, Canegrowers, Speech Pathology, Family Business Australia, Water Research Australia, Australian Boarding Schools Association, and Civil Contractors SA, that are truly making waves in their industries. From redefining member value propositions to successful advocacy and engagement campaigns, to engaging younger members and building online communities, and using learning as tool for growth and navigating the ESG journey, we were treated to a buffet of inspiration. The dedication and impact showcased by these associations reminded us why we do what we do—it's all about making a difference for our members and communities. 

    To all the attendees, speakers, partners who joined us on this journey, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude. Your passion, expertise, and commitment created an atmosphere of growth, learning, and connection that made this event series truly unforgettable. You are the true rock stars of association management, and we salute you! 

    As we wrap up this event series, we carry with us a renewed sense of purpose and a deep appreciation for the power of associations. The MX 2023 events in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide have left an indelible mark on the association management community, equipping professionals with the knowledge and inspiration to drive positive change and enhance the experiences of our members. 

    So, here's to the future! Let's continue to flourish, adapt, and thrive as associations, championing the needs and aspirations of our members. Until we meet again at the next AuSAE event, let's carry the spirit of collaboration and innovation, transforming the landscape of association management one step at a time. 

  • 31 May 2023 4:05 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) has announced the newly elected Board of Directors. The board members were endorsed at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Monday, 29th May, following the election process, and bring a diverse range of expertise and leadership to the organisation.

    Lindsay McGrath, CEO of Swimming Pool & Spa Association (SPASA) Australia and Alan McDonald, Head of Advocacy and Strategy at Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) New Zealand, will join the board for the first time. We are also pleased to welcome back continuing and re-elected Director Elise Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand School Trustees Association.

    Lyn McMorran, Executive Director of the Financial Services Federation, will retire from the board after six years of dedicated service, including serving the last four years as President. Lyn's contribution to and leadership of the organisation have been invaluable, particularly through the difficult years of the pandemic, and we extend our sincere gratitude for her service during her tenure.

    We also thank outgoing director Peter Saffin who resigned from the board earlier this year after serving for almost three years. Peter has left to take up a role outside of the Association sector.

    Following the AGM, the board convened to elect a new President and Vice President of the organisation. We are pleased to announce John Winter, CEO of ARITA - Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association, has been elected as the new President and Elise Adams as the Vice President of the AuSAE Board.

    Furthermore, the board resolved to co-opt Nick Pilavidis, Chief Executive Officer at the Australian Institute of Credit Management, to join the Board.

    “I’m deeply honoured to take on the presidency of AuSAE. Associations strengthen every industry and every profession every day. We underpin supporting every aspect of business, social, environmental, professional and community life. The role that AuSAE plays in developing the competency and leadership of those who work in Associations has never been more important.” said Winter.

    “We have a strong and diverse board and leadership that will ensure that AuSAE is well-positioned to support associations across New Zealand and Australia into the future.”

    We would like to express our gratitude to all the members who participated in the election process and congratulate the newly elected and re-elected board members.

  • 25 May 2023 2:15 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Associations Matter Monthly Poll – May 2023 Results

    The May 2023 Associations Matter Poll examined associations’ familiarity with the current artificial intelligence (AI) applications, and the impacts of AI both on their own association, and in the sector more broadly.

    Almost two in five participants have some knowledge of AI, saying they were either very familiar (6%), or somewhat familiar (53%) with current applications of AI. Few have no knowledge at all, and three in 10 rate themselves as not very familiar.

    Positively, over two thirds of respondents are optimistic about the impacts of AI applications on their associations, with the majority believing it provides opportunities to automate routine tasks and improve operational efficiency, thus reducing overheads and increasing productivity. Most also expect generative AI to help increase member engagement through personalisation and will also provide better data analysis capabilities.

    While few participants think there will be negative impacts on the sector or their association, around a quarter are concerned about the risks associated with the use of AI applications on protecting member data and personal information and have concerns about the “lack of regulation” and “privacy and copyright issues”. Some raised concerns that associations lack the “digital knowledge and in many cases the intent required to capitalise on the potential of AI systems”, because they have traditionally been reluctant to invest in the technologies and skillsets required to harness the full possibilities of any new technology or application, saying “the sector does not properly capitalise on automation that has been available for 10+ years”.

    Further analysis of the verbatim comments also shows that many believe applications like ChatGPT are very useful in helping to create content, craft marketing messages, and generate ideas, with comments that “it is already helping us be more creative by challenging our thinking”. Others said associations must adopt AI regardless, because “it's obvious that AI is part of the future… we need to remember, change always happens and the businesses and associations that do not embrace change will be left behind, like it or not”.

    Overall, these results point to a sector that is aware of the rise of AI, and cautiously optimistic about its ability to enhance and improve associations’ capabilities, if it is harnessed and used appropriately.

    “AI will change the nature of our offerings from the provision of routine assistance on compliance and business processes to those that deliver relationship value.” CEO, Industry Body

    About the Associations Matter Monthly Poll

    The Associations Matter Monthly Poll is an initiative by AuSAE and Survey Matters. We think it's important to stay up to date with the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities facing associations. The Associations Matter Monthly Poll aims to provide insights into the thoughts and opinions of association leaders, giving them a better understanding of how others are responding to current situations and developments. The Associations Matter Monthly Poll is conducted by Survey Matters, experts in association and membership research.

    Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Associations Matter May 2023 Poll. You can register to receive future polls here. The June 2023 Poll will be launched on June 9 2023.

  • 05 May 2023 9:36 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    In the ever-evolving association sector, nurturing future leaders is paramount. The Association of Australian Association Executives (AuSAE) and Adelaide Convention Centre supports the 2022 Future Leader Scholarship program which recognises emerging leaders in the association sector. Among its standout recipients is Louise Reid, currently serving as the Communications and Marketing Manager at Cooperative Research Australia (ACT).

    The 2022 Future Leaders Program

    The 2022 Future Leaders program is all about fostering leadership excellence in the association sector. Its aim is to equip emerging leaders with the skills and connections needed to propel both their organisations and the association sector to new heights. By investing in emerging leaders, this initiative supports the future success of the association sector.

    Louise Reid: Shaping the Future of Association Leadership 

    Louise Reid's diverse background sets her apart as a standout recipient of the 2022 Future Leader Scholarship program. Her career spans various sectors, including shipping and logistics, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and even successful entrepreneurship. Today, she brings her extensive expertise to the field of research and innovation as the Communications and Marketing Manager at Cooperative Research Australia.

    What defines Louise is her unwavering interest in business strategy and growth. She collaborates with authentic leaders who inspire their teams to achieve collective goals. Her dedication to fostering teamwork aligns perfectly with the program's goals.

    As a recipient of the 2022 Future Leader Scholarship, Louise Reid embodies the qualities of a future association leader: innovative thinking, a strong sense of purpose, and a passion for continuous learning and growth. Her journey from diverse professional experiences to her current role reflects her adaptability and resilience—an important trait for any leader.

    Louise Reid is poised to make a significant impact on the association sector. Her commitment to excellence, ability to inspire, and dedication to innovation will shape the future of association leadership.

    We look forward to seeing Louise's contributions to her organisation and the broader community as she continues to grow as a future leader. 

    For more information about the Future Leaders program, visit

  • 06 Apr 2023 9:29 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    In the dynamic world of professional associations, emerging leaders like Jessica Landers are making their mark. In 2022, Jessica was honored with the Future Leader Scholarship powered by AuSAE and the Adelaide Convention Centre—a program dedicated to fostering leadership within the association sector.

    Nurturing Tomorrow's Leaders

    The 2022 Future Leaders program is dedicated to identifying and supporting the rising stars of the association sector. It provides mentorship, growth opportunities, and a network for talented individuals like Jessica, who are committed to driving positive change within their organisations and the industry.

    Jessica's Association Management Journey 

    Jessica's journey in the association sector began in 2019 when she joined the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association (AOPA) as a Member Services Coordinator. Her passion and drive quickly propelled her into positions of leadership.

    Today, Jessica serves as the Deputy CEO and Manager of Accreditation and Certification at AOPA, where she oversees crucial aspects of the organisation's operations.

    A Leader in the Making

    Jessica's rapid rise is a testament to her dedication and leadership potential. She exemplifies the transformative power of passion and commitment in the association sector. Her ability to strategise, adapt, and inspire sets her on a trajectory to shape the future of associations in Australia.

    A Bright Future Ahead

    As we look to the future of associations in Australia, Jessica Landers stands as a beacon of hope. With her vision and determination, she is poised to leave a lasting impact not only on her organisation but on the entire association sector. Her story is a reminder that the future of associations is in capable hands, and with leaders like Jessica at the helm.

    For more information about the Future Leaders program, visit

  • 29 Mar 2023 9:00 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) is proud to announce the recipients of the Association Influencer Award for 2023. The award recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to the association sector and have demonstrated exceptional leadership and service to their respective organisations.

    The 2023 AuSAE Association Influencer award recipients are:

    • Anne Cornish – Chief Executive Officer, Records & Information Management Practitioners Alliance - Global
    • Brett O'Riley – Chief Executive, Employers and Manufacturers Association
    • Greg Wallace – Chief Executive Officer, Master Plumbers New Zealand
    • Hannah Raisin – Manager, Jilamara Arts & Crafts Association
    • Lindsay McGrath CAE – Chief Executive Officer, Swimming Pool & Spa Association
    • Noel Dos Santos – General Manager - Growth, Engineers Australia
    • Sandra Kirby – Chief Executive, Physiotherapy New Zealand

    Toni Brearley, CEO at AuSAE, congratulated the award recipients, saying, "We are thrilled to recognise these exceptional individuals who have made a significant contribution within our tribe and are setting the benchmark for future association professionals. Their work inspires us all to reach new heights, to strive for excellence, and to make a positive difference in this world. Their leadership, creativity and innovation have had a positive impact on their organisations and the wider community, and we are privileged to have them as members of our association community." 

    “We look forward to seeing the continued impact of their work, and we are honoured to stand beside them as we shape the future of our industry together.”

    The Association Influencer Award recipients were selected based on their achievements and contributions to their organisations and the sector in Australia and New Zealand. The recipients will be recognised at the AuSAE National Conference in Canberra on 28-29 November 2023.

    For more information about AuSAE and the Association Influencer Award, please visit

  • 08 Mar 2023 12:41 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day to recognise how far we’ve come towards gender equality, and also how far we have left to go to creating new social, economic and cultural codes for a gender equal future.

    At AuSAE, we celebrate all women, in all their diversities. We embrace their facets and intersections of faith, race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, or disability. We celebrate those who came before us, those who stand beside us now, and those who will come after.

    We asked three association leaders, what is the most important message you want to share for the women thinking about their careers.

    Lyn McMorran, President at AuSAE & Executive Director at the Financial Services Federation, shares, “As someone who has had a very long and satisfying career, I would say don’t sell yourself short. Australia has just announced legislation to require their large companies to report on their gender pay gap – New Zealand needs to follow suit. What really disturbs me is the fact that they have to because a gap still exists. The reasons for that are many but I think women are often so pleased to be given an opportunity that they either don’t consider what they are actually worth or are concerned that if they demand pay equity they might be disadvantaged in terms of further opportunities. As I said, things have changed a lot for the better in the decades I’ve been in my career – women are no longer passed over for senior development because they might leave and have babies, they’re no longer judged if they return to work from parental leave, nor are they (or at least I hope they’re not) judged on their appearance – but the fact that we are still having this conversation means that there is obviously still work to do. My hope for my generation’s daughters and granddaughters is that these conversations become no longer necessary.”

    Lori Modde, CEO at Outdoors NSW & ACT, shares “Everyone should be empowered to create the life they want, they deserve this opportunity and nothing should stop that. Today’s world is removing so many barriers that existed in the past and your time is now, get out there, go make a difference in the world!

    See what you can achieve, and you would have lost nothing by trying …. But I can guess you will surprise yourself as all it takes is that first step!”

    Toni Brearley, CEO at AuSAE, shares, “I remember from a very young age my Dad telling me that I could be anything I wanted to be. In his mind there were no caveats to that and if there wasn’t a clear path then go out and make one. I didn’t realise at the time how fortunate I was to have a champion that dared me to dream and cheered me on matter what. Seek out opportunities where the people around you will cheer you on no matter what. Surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, who will champion you and who are truly inclusive. Where choice, no matter what your gender, background or beliefs is equal for everyone as this is where will have true equality - and if you can’t find that – go and make one!”

    Find out how you can take action at

The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Australian Office:
Address: Unit 6, 26 Navigator Place, Hendra QLD 4011 Australia
Free Call: +61 1300 764 576
Phone: +61 7 3268 7955

New Zealand Office:
Address: 159 Otonga Rd, Rotorua 3015 New Zealand
Phone: +64 27 249 8677

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