The fusionSpan Blog

Grow Your Association Management Career in 2015

By Adam Thocher |January 2, 2015
Association Management Solutions (AMS)EventsNon Profit

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black backgroundWith each new year, we reflect on as many of the last 365 days we can remember while simultaneously resolving to [insert unattainable New Year’s resolution here]. For me, 2014 was a big year with more resolutions checked off the list than I had anticipated.  Topping the list are wedding plans coming together, travel adventures from Costa Rica to Iceland and a healthy number of airline miles in between, the Fiancée finishing up her MSW (I can’t take much of the credit for that, but it still makes the top 10 on my list), three days lost in Florida, no longer owning this sail boat, and – perhaps most challenging of all – attaining my CAE credential before I turned 30.

Now, I could spend most of my space regaling you with adventure stories, sea shanties, wedding planning tips, or how to make the most of your United Club membership – but this is an association blog, and thus I will devote much of this valuable screen space writing about professional development.

One resolution that made it on my list year after year after year, from the time I decided that I was dedicating my career to association management, was attaining my CAE. I encourage anyone who wants to advance in the profession, while increasing their knowledge and their network of dedicated association executives, to prepare for the CAE exam. Of course, just like my three days crossing the Floridian peninsula on foot, my intrepid trek to Destination CAE wasn’t without incident.  First, remember to submit your application by the deadline, as not reading the directions will put you out of contention before you even start!  Second, for me the collection of CAE hours wasn’t easy. Continuing education is time- consuming and expensive, and we all are suffering from a lack of excess time and ample professional development budgets.

To help you complete your professional development goal for 2015, here is my top five list of go-to resources for securing the coveted CE hours so that you too can take and pass the CAE exam (or some other professional certification not related to association management) – many of which are FREE resources:

  1. The Higher Logic Learning Series – seriously, this is the best bang for your buck – because it will cost you ZERO bucks. They offer a regular series, free of charge, on topics related to member engagement and community management.  Each hour-long webinar awards you with 1CAE credit hour.
  2. ASAE – Another great bang for your buck. They offer at least monthly complimentary webinars to members and non-members alike on career development and general association management practices and ideas. Your reward for engaging in one of these sessions will be between .5 and 1 CAE credit hour.
  3. org – Sorry if you clicked that link; I just made it up. While you are on the hunt for inexpensive CE, consider the training and education offered by your own organization. You would be surprised how many great education sessions you can use that are put on by the very organizations for which you all work.  It’s a win-win: you will have the opportunity to network and interface with your members and also be awarded with hours that will count toward CAE qualification.
  4. CAE Study Courses – I didn’t take one of these, but in retrospect really wish I would have. They keep you on track with the required readings, provide you with the study guide, and help you prepare for the exam itself – at the same time awarding you with as many as 20 CAE qualified hours (check with the provider for details)! If you are short on hours and need a few quickly, look to the CAE study courses.
  5. ASAE events  – You wouldn’t think I would omit these from the list, would you?  Yes, they are generally a bit more expensive, but the networking and education opportunities you get in return should more than justify the price. If you are local to DC, check out the smaller events, and if you are not – look to your local Society for more information.

CaptureIn 2015, if you make one resolution, it should be to follow my dog on Instagram (@NNVLT_THE_BMD). If you make a second – you should invest in yourself and designate 2015 as The Year You Enhance Your Professional Standing.  If you want to chat about your path, just give me a call.

For me, I resolve in 2015 to write for you more than twice – if the editors ask! And to Like my dog’s photos on Instagram. He gets really ticked off when I don’t.

Adam Thocher

Adam Thocher is the Director of Member Services for the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy in Falls Church, VA, President of the Board of Directors for the Clarendon Alliance, and a member of the ASAE Young Professional Committee.

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