This article first appeared as "The association executive as seen by…" in the 4/10/09 issue of Association TRENDS.
By ROBERT A. HALL, MEd, CAE
The member: The Fount of all Wisdom, the universal help desk, the place to go with odd questions, a human Wikipedia about my profession or industry.
The member’s administrative assistant: The annoying person who keeps sending these dues bills, conference registration forms and legislative alerts that overflow my trash bin.
The staff member: That overpaid slacker who’s always out having lunch at someone else’s expense, or on a trip to some nice location, who takes credit for all my hard work.
The association president: The best gofer I ever had, but needs constant, daily supervision to be sure all the details are taken care of.
The hotel sales representative: The rude person who hung up on me just because I called three times last week, but whom I must smooze as long as there’s any chance the association might bring its conference to my hotel.
The legislator: A potential source of campaign funds if I can keep them guessing about my position on their bill.
The committee chairman: A person waiting idly by the phone, hoping I’ll call with a new project to relieve the boredom.
The executive’s administrative assistant: A nice person who shouldn’t be allowed out without a minder.
The board: A dreadfully tight-fisted naysayer, who keeps complaining that all the wonderful things we want to do aren’t in the budget or the strategic plan.
The finance committee: A hopeless spendthrift who’s responsible for the association going into the red this year by not sticking to the strategic plan and the budget.
The IT director: A neo-Luddite, who can’t use a computer as well as the average 5-year-old.
The volunteer: A spammer who should be cut off from the computer and e-mail.
The lawyer: My deep-pockets lunch, if only he/she will make one little mistake.
The spouse: Seen? I ain’t seen anybody around the house lately. I might as well be single.
Him/herself: A carnival entertainer, running back and forth keeping 20 plates spinning, juggling several balls and other objects, while participating in a conference call on a headset and answering e-mail on a Blackberry.
Society: The glue.
Hall is executive director, American Assn of Hip and Knee Surgeons, Rosemont IL.