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Blog: From My Seat at the Bar

Does Your Association Educational Conference Suck?

At a recent association conference, I heard a classic cliché, “I learn the most during conversations in the hallway.” My response? If you’ve devoted all that time and energy to an educational event and the best learning is a random conversation in the hallway, your education probably sucks needs improvement.   Any reasonably competent meeting planner or educator should be able to produce an activity more meaningful than a random conversation. In Looking Forward 2019, 81% of association leaders indicated they were concerned or somewhat concerned about producing compelling professional development opportunities. I go to and speak at many conferences. I’ve also acted as a Master of Ceremonies for events. Association Laboratory also designs our own association executive educational events. We also develop education strategy. Here are some thoughts. Audience Understanding (or not) Educational events don’t have an “audience”. They have a Venn diagram of audiences. Multiple markets who are […]

What I Learned Starting Association Laboratory

I’m not a “milestone” sort of person. I rarely celebrate with big birthday parties for example. My wife and I famously celebrated our anniversary with a drink at the United Club once as we passed each other in the airport. This year, though, when I announced the 20th anniversary of starting Association Laboratory on LinkedIn, the response surprised me. I received more than 7,000 views of the post. I only have 1, 531 connections on LinkedIn. People I’d never met were interested and supportive. It got me thinking about how it all began and what I learned about business and life through the years as I conceived, started and grew my small business. Below is the original HQ of Association Laboratory (no hassles please, I’m not a photography consultant). I started the company out of my condo on the 12th floor.  The voice on my answering machine for the company […]

Association Laboratory News!

Association Laboratory Partners with Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives

Association Laboratory partners with Mid-Atlantic Society of Association Executives (MASAE) in the first ever Revenue and Research partnership.

Promotions for 2 Association Laboratory Team Members

Association Laboratory is proud to announce promotions for two staff members based on their outstanding contributions to the company and its clients. Nikki Haton Shanks, CAE, MBA Promoted to Strategist Nikki Haton Shanks, formerly an Analyst, is promoted to Strategist. Nikki Haton began her career at Association Laboratory in 2016. She is a 40 Under 40 Award winner and currently a volunteer leader on ASAE’s Healthcare Council. She leads client engagements and, recently, took over leadership of Association Laboratory’s content partnerships with state and other organizations of association executives. “Nikki is a rising star in the association industry and I couldn’t be more proud to reward her for her efforts at Association Laboratory and in our industry. ” – Dean West, FASAE and President of Association Laboratory Meg Whedbee, MPP Promoted to Senior Analyst Meg Whedbee, formerly an Analyst, is promoted to Senior Analyst. Meg Whedbee began her career with […]