Sector and AuSAE News

  • 03 Aug 2022 12:48 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    If you’re leading an association which has no strategic plan, you’re not alone!  The metaphorical beaches are filled with heads in the sand.  

    It’s not uncommon for the leaders of associations to spend too much of their time ‘in’ the business rather than ‘on’ it. Does your board spend a lot of each meeting debating what software to use to handle regular procedures, addressing issues within the team, reviewing venue options for events and other such operational topics? If so, you’re stuck in the weeds, you’re limiting success and you aren’t adding your highest-level value.

    Effective strategic planning is simple and clear.

    Having a solid strategic plan (including a set of goals with a 3-year horizon and a detailed action plan for the coming 12-months) is the single best tool to help keep the board focused in the right areas. The process of determining a strong strategy includes many steps, the first of which is to be clear on:

    • Who your organisation does and doesn’t do.
    • What drives you and what you stand for.
    • What problem do you solve for your members.

    Step 1:
    In other words, you need to be crystal clear on your mission, vision and values (MVV). Check out our Mission, Vision, Values Cheat Sheet which will help you to easily get clear on these guiding principles for your organisation.

    Step 2:
    The next step is to develop a three-year strategy; a set of aims addressing where you want to get to and what you want the organisation to look like in the future. You will be guided by your MVV while developing the strategic plan. We recommend between 3-5 key pillars or goal areas, with between 3-5 key goals under each one. A simple 1-page document is enough to lay it all out.

    Step 3:
    The final step in the planning phase is the development of a detailed plan of action for the following 12-month period. What do you need to achieve in the next year in order to set you up for success in three years? Broken down into quarterly goals and month-by-month actions, this document becomes your working roadmap.  At its most drilled-down level, this is your to-do list!

    Planning is a continuous cycle
    The planning cycle – in the diagram below – is a continuous cycle of assessment, action-taking and review. 

    The benefits of solid planning are many: spend less time questioning decisions, eliminate time-wasting on non-core activity, get all your stakeholders ‘on the bus’, have the knowledge you need to plan and budget for the resources you’ll require, deliver the value your members want. And for the board; you can get back to your rightful role - in the driver’s seat.

    For more detail on simple strategy development, contact onsomble.

  • 08 Jul 2022 2:51 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    AuSAE is excited to announce that nine association executives recently earned their Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential from the CAE Commission of ASAE. 

    They join the growing cohort of CAEs in Australia and New Zealand, with more than 4,600 industry leaders worldwide who hold the CAE credential.


    • Jill Brookfield, CAE - Chief Executive Officer, Association of Australian Certifiers
    • Kym De Britt, CAE - Chief Executive Officer, Australian Dental Industry Association
    • Kim Harland, CAE - Marketing Manager, Skin Cancer Clinics
    • Lindsay McGrath, CAE - Chief Executive Officer, Swimming Pool & Spa Association of Australia
    • Joanne Phillips, CAE - Director Member Services, Australian Retailers Association
    • Jonathan Seller, CAE - Senior Director of Development – APAC, AVIXA
    • John Winter, CAE - Chief Executive Officer, Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association


    • Allison Delaney, CAE - Executive Director
    • Brett Francis, CAE – Chief Executive Officer, Window & Glass Association NZ

    Toni Brearley CAE, Chief Executive Officer of AuSAE, says, “We are proud to welcome this new cohort of CAEs and have them join the CAE community.” Earning the CAE demonstrates their commitment to the profession and ongoing professional development and activities in association and not-for-profit management.

    AuSAE, in partnership with #ASAE, launched the first localised version of the CAE credential in New Zealand & Australia in February 2021. We are committed to championing this important credential for the sector and advancing the association management profession.

    The Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential is an international marker of a committed association professional who has demonstrated the wide range of knowledge essential to manage an association in today’s challenging environment. 

    For more information about the credential or to register for the September 2022 study group, visit the AuSAE website -

  • 04 Jul 2022 10:35 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Events have been and always will be the backbone of any association's reason for being. They deliver an array of important benefits that are the entire reason for most associations' existence: education, professional development,  industry insights, building valuable connections and contacts up and down the value chain.

    But as we look to shake off the shadow of the last 2 years, we have an important opportunity to ‘hit reset’ on the traditional association event strategy.

    Here are Uncommon Conference's top 5 things we know your members will be looking for in your 2022 event calendar:

    1/ An event calendar, in the first instance

    You do have one, right? Because if you don't, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary headaches. But don't just dust off what you used to do, unless you are absolutely sure that's what your members are still looking for (which would be very surprising)!

    Shifts in patterns around work from the office vs home, commuting and flexi hours are having a direct impact on in-person event participation. And not everyone will want to or in some cases be able to return to what was.

    Time to get a blank sheet out and build afresh!

    2/ A demonstration of how you've incorporated their input (Because you did ask them, right?)

    If there's one truism in event strategy design, it's: know your audience. That doesn't come from a survey though. You need to have actual conversations.

    Now is the perfect time to seek frank input from members on what they are prepared to commit to. Businesses seem busier than ever, trying to make up for the 'lost years'. That makes the proposition for attending events a lot different now. For a while there we had a captive audience, stuck at home and looking for any semblance of connection. No longer.

    So, yes, it's time to hit the road (or the phone) and get in front of members again and ask the hard questions!

    3/ A demonstration of what you've learned over the past two years

    After all those great conversations, patterns will definitely emerge around what members want and need from you.

    We're already seeing shifts in terms of what will get people out of their sweats and back to commuting when it comes to in-person events. The old offering of a prawn cocktail and a warm beer won't cut it any more!

    They're looking to reconnect first and foremost, and yes, looking for fresh perspectives on how to get sh!t done. So now is not the time to overload your participants with endless 'expert' sessions. They definitely won't be excited at the prospect of being spoken at over the course of a dozen sessions in a dark, sleep inducing room. (After all, you could have just recorded the sessions and your members could have just viewed them in their own time.)

    4/ A clear offering of optimism and hope

    Which leads us nicely to our next point. We have a chance to finally do things 'better' when it comes to gathering our communities. Better in terms of the value members gain from joining. Better in terms of the impact events have on the individuals that join. Better in terms of the way they encourage, enlighten and inspire. We all need a good dose of optimism to take us through these ever-evolving weeks and months.

    Will you take up the challenge?

    5/ The ratio of in-person to virtual events

    You probably noticed we haven't mentioned event format much. That's because it's always secondary to what we're hoping to achieve from a gathering. That said, it's probably time to state the obvious: virtual events are here to stay. And for good reason.

    There was a serious disconnect between what was promised and what was gained from joining events that involved mostly one-way transmission of information. Everyone wins by hosting those online - no commute, no great expense, easier to take notes etc etc.

    It's now time to think about the different audiences an in-person vs virtual offering might satisfy. How? Go back to your research to unpack what your members need most from you. If it's education-heavy, then the answer is obvious: stick with digital. But if it's connections and contacts and inspiration they seek, you're going to want to design something a lot more participant-led and engaging, with lots of opportunities to discuss, debate and decide.

    Which just so happens to be what Uncommon Conferences specialises in. Say if you're ready to take your events to the next level!

  • 23 Jun 2022 6:38 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    One year from opening, over 70 conferences are already in the calendar for Tākina, Wellington’s new premium, purpose-built convention and exhibition centre.

    Located in the heart of Wellington’s cultural precinct and on track to open mid-2023, Tākina will be a meaningful place to connect and collaborate.

    Among the lineup of events confirmed for Tākina are Festival for The Future, the annual conferences of the New Zealand Veterinary Association, Federated Farmers of New Zealand and the New Zealand Aged Care Association.

    Sitting across two levels and ideal for conferences with a plenary of up to 1,600 delegates, Tākina sits at the centre of New Zealand’s compact, walkable capital.

    Australian professional conference organiser Jessica Ferguson of Arinex says she’s looking forward to the opportunity Tākina will bring. 

    “The small but mighty capital of New Zealand is full of flavour that is sure to enhance any business event that selects it as host city. Wellington is a city that allows a conference to truly own the destination and showcases the warmest manaakitanga welcome and kiwi hospitality to all who visit.”

    The convention centre will be operated by Tākina Events alongside conference venue and national museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, enabling business event organisers to access and book the spaces and services of two of Wellington’s premium conference venues together. Situated just across the road from each other in the heart of the vibrant, walkable capital, it’s also ideal for delegates.

    To enquire about booking a conference or event in Wellington, visit or contact the Business Events Wellington team

  • 21 Jun 2022 2:19 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    Congratulations to ADAVB President Dr Warren Shnider and the new ADAVB Branch Council following our recent branch elections. Dr Warren Shnider is a registered specialist in special needs dentistry. He is Head of the Integrated Special Needs Dentistry Unit at the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne and is in specialist private practice in Hawthorn. Dr Shnider is also Academic Lead, Special Needs Dentistry at La Trobe University and a fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons. Dr Shnider is an examiner and an accreditation assessor for the Australian Dental Council and a specialist advisor for the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency.

    We also welcome our new Branch Executive team: Dr Jonathan Teoh (Vice President), Dr Jeremy Sternson, Dr Andrew Heredia and Dr Carolyn Ng and congratulate newly elected first time council member Dr Conny Qian (2019 La Trobe University graduate). Stay tuned for more information in July’s Victorian Dentist.

  • 10 Jun 2022 6:06 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    The How do your views on association staffing, meetings, and membership compare to those of fellow executives? 

    Marketing General released the 3rd Edition of its Association Economic Outlook Report the other week, which includes the perspectives of roughly 500 association professionals and consultants. Association professionals also shared assessments of their associations' responses to the pandemic in 2020. The report is helpful to association professionals looking to benchmark their 2022 forecasting and plans against others in the association sector. This week's blog features ten quick stats:


    • 92% of association executives believe their association responded and adapted quickly to the events unfolding in 2020
    • Factors supporting the quick adjustments were attributed to:
      • The rapid pace of senior executive decision-making (81%) 
      • Staff expertise in launching new initiatives and programs (79%)


    • 71% of associations saw an increase in member engagement in 2021
    • 85% of associations expect an increase in member engagement in 2022
    • 44% of associations plan to increase their 2022 membership marketing budget


    • 71% of associations plan to keep the distributed workforce model as an option for employees moving forward
    • 54% are concerned about the deterioration of morale and company culture from a remote workforce
    • 66% worry about having fewer opportunities to develop communication and relationships among co-workers


    • 44% plan to host a hybrid event
    • 39% plan to host an in-person only event
    (Editor's note: This survey was in the field in October and November of 2021 - more current feedback on plans for association meetings indicates a higher trend towards in-person meetings due to member preference and the added cost of producing hybrid events.) 

    Access your copy of the Association Economic Outlook Report to see how the outcomes and trends of other associations compare with your experiences.

    The full report is available at

    first published MSAE 2022

  • 31 May 2022 1:32 PM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    The Australasian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE) has announced the appointment of four board members with John Winter, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA); Craig Young, Chief Executive of the Telecommunications Users Association New Zealand (TUANZ); and Paul Nicolaou, Executive Director of Business Sydney, joining the board for the first time. We are delighted to welcome back continuing and re-elected board member, Holly Morchat Stanko, General Manager, Association of Consultants & Engineers New Zealand.

    These Board members will serve with Lyn McMorran, Executive Director of the Financial Services Federation, Peter Saffin, Chief Executive Officer of the Mathematical Association of Victoria, and Elise Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the NZ School Trustees Association.

    Damian Mitsch, National Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Dental Association, will be stepping off the board after completing his full term of service. We are thankful for his commitment, contributions, and support over his six years of service.

    Fellow directors Paula Rowntree, Head of Events & Experience, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Leigh Catley, General Manager, Communications of Federated Farmers of New Zealand will also be stepping off the board after two years of service. We are grateful for their service and support.

    “It has been yet another extraordinary year for us all, but it is an exciting time for the association sector with a bright future ahead of us,” said McMorran.

    “We will continue to be challenged with unexpected circumstances; however, we have adapted and continued moving forward. The borders are opening, people are reconnecting and beginning to enjoy the business benefits of meeting face-to-face at in-person events. We are looking forward to getting back to the real trans-Tasman sharing of ideas that AuSAE has been so good at in the past.”

    Lyn McMorran, AuSAE’s President, thanked the organisation’s partners for their contribution and commitment to our members and the association sector.

    “We have a great network of organisations who share our passion for the association sector and have been providing such excellent value to our members.”

    McMorran said, “Finally, I wish to thank our members for their continued support of AuSAE. Without our members, there isn’t an “Association of Associations”. We look forward to continuing to work with our members and partners over the next year; together, we can create a better, brighter future for Associations and their Executives.”

  • 13 May 2022 6:29 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    To encourage better respect towards people’s boundaries, event hosts are using colored accessories to help people communicate their comfort around physical touch

    Lanyard system

    While organising the conference, provide a green, yellow, or red lanyard to participants so they can indicate their level of engagement comfort to others.

    The green means, ‘I’m fine. I’m comfortable. Come give me a hug,’

    The yellow means, ‘I’m not so comfortable. Maybe give me a fist bump and stay 1 to 3 metres away from me. I’ll have a mask on maybe.’

    The red means, ‘If you can keep 6 feet from me, I’d appreciate it. I will have on a mask.’”

    People can display their own comfort level—and most importantly, you can see it from a distance. Creating a safe environment for you to feel comfortable and still network and make connections and do all those kinds of things that you do when you attend a conference.

    Attendees will choose their lanyards when they get to the conference. Attendees, if they change their mind while at the event and begin to feel more or less comfortable, can ask staff to swap out their lanyard.

    In addition to the lanyard system, the organization is considering using color coding for other things, like Reception tables.

    • Green table, they may have 10 chairs,
    • Red table, they may have four chairs.

    So, people can perceptually feel comfortable and see what that looks like before they join.”

    Send out an email every other week to discuss updates and safety protocols.

    The hardest thing about planning for this aspect of the conference is the changing regulations, which Shanklin and meeting staff are following closely. Right now, the Fort Worth Convention Center does not require masks, so the lanyard system makes sense. If anything changes, the organisation will reflect that in their final plans and language used to describe the system.

    Make the event be safe. And make sure you are also giving people the opportunity to be as comfortable as possible.

  • 26 Apr 2022 11:00 AM | Sarah Gamble (Administrator)

    When was the last time you scrolled social media or the news and saw the word ‘community’? We’re willing to bet it was within the last hour.

    As big believers in the power of community, we’re loving the attention communities are getting. It seems everyone is busy building, joining, promoting or celebrating communities and it’s just what the world needs in the aftermath of the isolation and distance we’ve experienced over the past two years.

    Conferences have always played an important role in community-building, especially among professional associations, and here we unpack how this has become more relevant than ever.

    For many associations, in-person conferences used to be a keystone, annual touch point. But beyond a handful of folks making a conscious effort to stay in touch and perhaps a survey, post-event ‘engagement’ was virtually non-existent. If you were really savvy, you’d create an online forum for participants to “continue the conversation”, but this rarely worked to build and maintain a true sense of community.


    Because community building is not something you “set and forget”. It requires leadership and stewardship, and most important of all, your members need a compelling reason to keep in touch.

    -> Enter virtual

    Who would’ve thought the very format we used to shun would not only bring us closer than we could’ve imagined, but has taught us to stay close.

    It’s safe to say most of us have mastered and now consider virtual meetings to be the norm so that’s a big barrier removed. Sure, Zoom fatigue is real – but now it’s reserved for poorly designed online experiences.

    As your members seek meaningful connections with others in their industry, it’s time for your association to show how much you’ve learnt through the pandemic about why and how your members will gather, how often, and where.

    Interweaving in-person gatherings with regular, purposeful, virtual touchpoints will show your prowess in community-building and care for your members.

    Our tips for simple but effective virtual community gatherings:

    • Take the time to design a program, better yet a roster, that delivers value to your members
    • Create a schedule to prime participants and set expectations
    • Focus on quality over quantity in the r(Z)oom – smaller groups of members online will work much better for meaningful connections over vast numbers of anonymous black boxes
    • Keep the infrastructure simple and lean in to familiar tools - Zoom, Google docs etc. will suffice
    • Share ground rules in advance and at the start of the session so participants have plenty of warning and can opt in: e.g. mics on, cameras on, energy ON

    Perhaps you’ve already built a community, but struggling to maintain it – or you’re in the early days of building a community of and for your members; whichever camp you fall into, a properly researched, designed and implemented calendar of online and offline events will go a long way to achieving those goals. 

  • 22 Apr 2022 6:35 AM | Brett Jeffery, CAE (Administrator)

    Organising an event in Wellington has become even easier with two premium venues combining under one umbrella – Tākina Events.

    As of April 1, Te Papa Venues and Tākina, Wellington’s new convention and exhibition centre opening in mid-2023, officially began operating under the new brand.

    The partnership enables business events planners to access and book the spaces and services of two of Wellington’s premium conference venues together.

    And situated just across the road from each other in the heart of the vibrant, walkable capital, it’s also ideal for delegates.

    Te Papa is one of the capital’s leading conference and events venues hosting more than 900 events each year.

    Meanwhile, bookings are flowing in for Tākina, which offers 10,000sqm of flexible meeting and events space over two floors, catering for up to 1,600 delegates in the main plenary space.

    The new combination means Tākina Events will not only attract and deliver a wider range of conferences, exhibitions and events, but it will also ensure events are delivered at an international standard with a distinctly Wellington flavour.

    “What is already an exciting new asset for Wellington, combined with the venue spaces at Te Papa under one operation, now gives us an opportunity to deliver unique events on a scale the capital hasn’t seen before,” says Tākina Events general manager Andrew Dorrington.

    “And joining forces will help to support the promotion of the capital as a vibrant destination for hosting local and international events,” he says.

    “With flexible spaces, built-in technology and celebrating local cuisine in the heart of Wellington, and one dedicated team to run the operation means clients – and delegates - benefit from a more efficient service across both buildings.”

    Conference & Events Ltd managing director Janet Matheson is excited about the Tākina Events team coming together under one brand.

    “We’ve worked closely with the team over several years and we appreciate the experience they bring to the operation.

    “Not only are they a well-oiled machine, already having a great relationship with them means we can hit the ground running once the new build opens.”

    CTA: Visit

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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