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Association Laboratory, Inc Presents

National Summit on Association Membership and Engagement - Chicago

Your Exclusive Invitation to a Critical Conversation on the Future of Membership

You are invited to join the nation’s leading companies in membership and engagement strategy in a 1 day immersive discussion of the future of the association membership and engagement model.

Produced by Association Laboratory in cooperation with Marketing General Inc,  Higher Logic,  and ITN Productions Industry News, The National Summit on Association Membership and Engagement is the nation’s premiere event focusing on the future challenges and emerging opportunities of engaging, recruiting and retaining members.

Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018
8AM – 6 PM

OLC Education & Conference Center
9400 W Higgins Rd #100, Rosemont, IL 60018

Sponsored by


Critical Insights into the Future of Associations

Based on research and insights gained from thousands of association client projects, attendees will learn about and discuss the following key areas.

The Future of Association Engagement and Membership Modeling

Dean West, FASAE will outline the environment facing future engagement and membership strategy decisions, emerging research based theories of engagement modeling and discuss the critical conditions of success necessary to create customizable, adaptable engagement and membership models.

Key insights will range from membership decision making by young professionals to creating an engagement curriculum allowing for an integrated, market focused approach to serving stakeholders throughout their career.

At the end of this session, attendees will understand the critical changes in the strategy environment, their implications on engagement and membership strategy and understand emerging theories of engagement modeling designed to help associations construct future focused strategic value propositions.

Putting the Person in Personalization 

Vivian Swertinski , Strategic Services Manager of Higher Logic, will ask you how your audience interacts with you – what are your organization’s touch points? This is how persona building starts. Imagine the impact with a unified understanding of audience needs, values, motivations, and frustrations. Would it spur innovation, or enhancements? Would you be able to identify and remedy risks or pain points? Keep that audience front and center. Rediscover your members to plan, problem-solve, and serve them better.

Emulating the Best Strategies, not the Best Companies

Everyone knows Amazon – it’s a company that sets the bar high for predictive content; meaning dynamic, personalized communications. Associations know they can’t compete, and they don’t have to. There’s no need for dozens of data scientists to stay one step ahead of your members – you likely already have many of the resources to deliver not only what members ask for, but what they didn’t even know they needed. Emulate the strategy of market understanding not the company.

Heather McNair, Vice President of  Engagement Strategy at Higher Logic will address how current research shows that customizing quality content and experiences to member audiences is essential to success. You must offer a customized engagement experience to connect them to one another, whether it’s a community, volunteer programs, online courses, or events. The key to success is understanding the behavioral and transactional data that comes from the people within this environment. What topics are discussed, content downloaded, emails opened, or courses completed. It’s a robust information ecosystem that can give you powerful member insights. 

Join us for a discussion on the future of engagement, and how your association can take the member data being generated every day and deliver customized experiences to improve lifetime value for every member.

From Legacy Programs to Emerging Digital Best Practices

Tony Rossell, Senior Vice President of Marketing General Incorporated will take you on a unique journey as this program highlights the changing face of marketing and how the methods that associations use to attract, involve, and renew members are changing forever.  Research and practical experience across hundreds of organizations and tens of thousands of members indicates a single emerging best practice.

The future is found in data understanding and digital marketing.

The digital revolution allows you to speak to your members, and the prospects that look just like them, 24/7 anywhere they live online with almost instantaneous feedback and tracking. The data revolution allows you to customize messages to specific segments of your members and prospects driven by their activity, purchases, demographics, and firmographics.

These marketing changes are the most transformative wave for associations since email and websites became core communications channels.   Without taking advantage of these tools, your association will never be able to catch competitors and create meaningful relationships with your members and stakeholders.

Learn the power of how these tools can move your association to the next level.  

Video Secrets from Richard Branson, the British Royal Family, and Drug Lords

During the digital age, video is a powerful tool and a communications medium associations should not ignore.  Join Simon Shelley, a video content producer for more than one thousand brands and organizations, as he provides insight into how your association can also produce powerful content and make emotional connections like Virgin Holidays, the Royal Family, and Netflix.  Learn how to motivate engagement among current and prospective members, change perceptions and keep your audience coming back for more!

Learn from Leading Experts in Engagement, Membership and Community

Nationally recognized key note speakers and industry thought leaders will outline the critical issues that need to be addressed for association success.

Dean West, FASAE and President, Association Laboratory

Dean West is a national thought leader and futurist for the association community. An engaging, provocative and conversational speaker, he understands the unique needs of association leaders working in a complex, dynamic environment.

He conceived and has led the groundbreaking association environmental scan Looking Forward, the nation’s most sophisticated environmental scan of the association strategy environment and was principal researcher for The Future of Association Engagement, a white paper developed in cooperation with the ASAE Foundation, outlining emerging changes in association membership models. He has contributed to a wide range of industry publications including Membership Essentials: Recruitment, Retention, Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources (ASAE and Wiley, 2016) and the ASAE book, Core Competencies in Professional Development.

Vivian Swertinski, Strategic Services Manager, Higher Logic

Vivian is a digital marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience working with a variety of non-profit organizations and multi-channel retailers. She is a frequent thought leader at industry events, and provides strategic guidance to help associations and nonprofits make meaningful connections with their audience. In her role at Higher Logic, she partners with clients to maximize their digital marketing efforts through customized strategies leveraging the sophistication of the marketing automation platform. 


Heather McNair2

Heather McNair, Vice President of Engagement Strategy, Higher Logic

Heather is a well-regarded thought leader with 20 years of marketing, technology, customer acquisition and retention experience, 16 of those years in the association and publishing industries. She is adept at leveraging technology to increase customer engagement, and is a frequent speaker and writer in the industry. At Higher Logic, Heather is responsible for defining and refining effective engagement strategies and best practice recommendations as it directly relates to the member and customer experience.

Prior to joining Higher Logic, Heather launched and managed two successful communities in her roles as vice president of marketing, membership and strategic technologies at the American Association of Nurse Assessment Coordination, and senior manager of member engagement at the Medical Group Management Association. MGMA’s community launched in 2008 at the early onset of online communities for the association space, and many techniques Heather founded from that launch emerged as foundational best practices for Higher Logic clients today.

Tony Rossell, Senior Vice President, Marketing General Incorporated

Tony Rossell is an industry icon in membership strategy having led thousands of strategy engagements over the course of his career. A frequent writer and speaker on marketing topics, he is a contributing author to two books, Membership Marketing (ASAE) and Membership Essentials: Recruitment, Retention, Roles, Responsibilities, and Resources (ASAE and Wiley, 2016).

He is the past Chair of the Membership Section Council for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).  Tony also launched and directs the annual Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, now in its ninth year with over 1,000 participating associations worldwide, and he developed the widely adopted membership relationship framework known as the “Membership Lifecycle.”

Simon Shelley ITN Headshot

Simon Shelley, ITN Productions

Simon is the Head of Industry News at ITN Productions. World-leading news producer ITN, the UK’s leading provider of independent broadcast news, creates unique industry specific news-style programming in partnership with sector associations. Industry News is produced by Academy Award nominated, six-time Emmy Award winning, ITN Productions; the commercial and creative arm of ITN, and is developed in partnership with leading bodies and national associations as a means of providing constructive, accurate and positive storytelling in a compelling news-style. Simon and his team at ITN Productions have worked with over 1500 brands as part of Industry News.

CAE Credit

Association Laboratory is a CAE Approved Provider. The program meets the requirements for fulfilling the professional development requirements to earn or maintain the Certified Association Executive credential. Every program that we offer which qualifies for CAE credit will clearly identify the number of CAE credits granted for full participation, and we will maintain records of your participation in accord with CAE policies. For more information about the CAE credential or Approved Provider program, please visit www.asaecenter.org/cae. As a CAE Approved Provider educational program related to the CAE exam content outline, this program may be applied for 6.5 credits toward your CAE application or renewal professional development requirements

Research and Discussion Guides

All attendees will receive access to the following research reports to help inform discussions:

  • Looking Forward 2018 – Association Laboratory Inc.
  • Leading Strategic Change in Associations – Association Laboratory Inc.
  • 2017 Membership Benchmarking Report – Marketing General Incorporated.
  • 2017 Community Benchmarking Report – Higher Logic

In addition, a discussion guide and workbook will be provided orienting participants to the onsite agenda and process and allowing them to organize their thoughts, take notes and capture specific ideas to use when they return to their office.

Preliminary Agenda


Program Activities

8:00 am – 8:30 am

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 am – 10:00 am

Welcome and Opening Presentation:  The Future of Association Engagement and Membership Modeling

10:00 am – 10:20 am


10:30 am – 11: 30 am

The Modern Face of Deeper Member Understanding

11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Lunch and Video and Your AssociationThink Like a Broadcaster

12:30  pm – 2:00 pm

From Legacy Programs to Emerging Digital Best Practices

2:00 pm – 2:20 pm


2:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Emulating the Best Strategies, Not the Best Companies

4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Closing Summary Presentation: You Can Do It: Peer Success Stories

4:30 pm – 6:00 pm


Access to a Leading Network of Association Innovators

You will join chief staff officers and senior executive staff from some of the nation’s leading individual membership societies to discuss essential conditions of membership success and to create a strategy road map designed to lead your organization from outofdate practices and legacy programs to a deeper understanding of your audience and successful application of digital and community marketing best practices.

Register for The National Summit on Association Membership and Engagement

Registration Fee includes:

  • Access for one Association Executive to attend the meeting.
  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch. Post Event Reception included.
  • All classes, activities/exercises, and course materials

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