November 22, 2017
    Memories, light the corners of my mind…

    Thinking Aloud...on my 1,000th issue at TRENDS. By Ed Dalere

    By Ed Dalere | 06/29/2017

    Then and now, and in-between: 3 iterations of the print versions of Association TRENDS, all designed by me. On the far left is a partial redesign of TRENDS after the acquistion by Columbia Books & Information Services. Note the use of 4-color and improvement of graphics, such as a silhouette figure with text conforming to the image. At the bottom is the latest TRENDS magazine, and behind it is my first issue as managing editor of TRENDS, the broadsheet newspaper in 1997. (Behind me is the Maryland state flag.)

    This issue marks my 1,000th as managing editor of Association TRENDS. What was supposed to be a two-, maybe five-year stint - according to my plan way back when - somehow blossomed into 20 years and 1,000 issues. And what a terrific 1,000 issues it has been.

    Being based in D.C., where many associations have headquarters because of their government relations work, reporting on government is a large part of what TRENDS does. There can be a government angle to almost everything we cover, whether outrightly or subtly.


    Did you know I asked then-presidential candidate George W. Bush to answer questions that were of direct interest to the association community at the time? He graciously agreed to the interview. I believe we were the first (maybe the only) association trade publication to get such an interview. (I also asked Vice President Al Gore the same questions. I’m still waiting to hear back from them.) 

    My first presidential press outing was with President Bush at a gathering of the National Restaurant Association, for which I will forever be thankful to Steve Anderson, IOM, CAE, who invited me to cover the event for TRENDS. Anderson was the restaurant group’s CEO at the time, and now he is president of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, a TRENDS Association Executive of the Year, and a very good Friend of TRENDS.


    I’ve attended the legendary inauguration afterparties of the Recording Industry Association of America, including for both inaugurations of George W. Bush. At the first one, I was literally face-to-face with country star Lee Ann Womack at the Hard Rock Cafe in D.C. It was hard to not become part of the crowd when she sang “(I Hope You) Dance.” For his second inauguration, I was at the RIAA afterparty where Three Doors Down was the headliner. I was among the first reporters brought into the green room to interview the band. The other two reporters asked about their music; I asked what they thought about RIAA’s efforts to quash music-sharing pirating software - why wouldn’t I? (The Bush daughters never did show up as was rumored they would do.)


    For President Obama’s first inauguration, I went to American Hotel and Lodging Association’s inauguration party. The headliner was Parliament Funkadelic; I have to admit, that was mostly why I chose that party to go to. My date and I waited until we finally had to leave well past midnight; we never did get to dance to “We Want the Funk.” Later I heard George Clinton was great. We also got stuck in an elevator with actor Matthew Modine, who was staying at the hotel but wasn’t attending the AHLA party. Nice guy.


    Here’s a fun presidential-related story: I had received an invitation to the opening of the Reagan Building in D.C. Since it has meeting space in it, I thought it was an appropriate event to cover in TRENDS, and I had already done the hardhat tour. I showed up at the appointed hour, but my name was not on the press list. No worries, the media person said, and in minutes I had credentials and a terrific seat way in the back, but my throwaway camera was useless from there, of course. I found out later the reason why I wasn’t on the press list was because I was actually an invited guest, and they were wondering why I hadn’t shown up to my seat near the front. I’m not at all bitter about the mix-up because ultimately I was witness to history, no matter where I was sitting; I saved that credential and will give it to one my nieces and nephews one day.


    I was at the ASAE annual meeting at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville in 1998 during the Monica Lewinsky trouble. On the night of ASAE CEO Bill Taylor’s retirement tribute dinner, President Clinton was going to address the nation regarding Lewinsky at the same time. Many of us snuck out of the dinner and crammed into a nearby shoeshine stand (where the closest TV was) to hear what Clinton had to say. The next day, Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, R, was the keynoter at the general session, so of course, I was champing at the bit to ask him about the previous day’s developments. The impromptu press conference was flooded with local media who asked about local issues, but he gave me the final question, which I promptly asked what he thought of the president's declaration, and would Congress respond. “We’re going to wait and see,” he said, before rushing off to catch a plane back to D.C. I wished we had time for a more one-on-one.


    In 1998 I also launched the Young & Aspiring Association "Executives," now Professionals. In 2005, TRENDS launched the Associaton "Vendor" now Partner of the Year. And in 2007 I created the first list of what has become the Leading Association Lobbyists. In 2015 I created the TRENDS Tech 10 list, honoring innovative technology leaders in the association space.


    One of my favorite memories occurred at We Love New York Day, the old annual tradeshow of the New York Society of Association Executives. Rudy Giuliani was an honoree at the event. He was also rumored to be considering a run for New York senator at the time. At an impromptu press briefing with Giuliani, the assumption was he was going to make that announcement, but he didn't. In fact, I can’t even remember what his remarks were, they were quite unremarkable compared to what we thought was going to be “it.” 

    Later in the luncheon, I saw another opportunity to talk with Giuliani. I brazenly walked up to the honorees table, introduced myself, asked him a question about D.C. vs. New York nonprofit communities, hoping to get him to talk about his possible candidacy. It was a throwaway question, and that’s exactly what I got back as an answer - New Yorkers are the best at spotting bull. When it came time for Giuliani to deliver his remarks, he started with, “A reporter from 'D.C.' just asked me…” As if on cue, there was an immediate crescendo of good-natured boos all around. Hey, to get called out by Rudy Giuliani and be booed by New Yorkers are badges of honor to me.


    My fondest memory was the time I brought my mother to the 75th anniversary of the Shoreham Hotel in Washington. As the TRENDS editor, I received the invitation, and wrote back to the GM to thank him and to let him know that my mother was a resident at the hotel (when they still had apartments there). My mother came to D.C. as a staff member of the first ambassador from the Philippines to the U.S. after Philippine independence following World War II. The young country had not yet found housing for their ambassador and his family and staff, so they put them up at the Shoreham for six months unitl they found permanent housing. When that ambassador was eventually called back to the Philippines, Mom stayed: She was determined to make the U.S. and D.C. her permanent home. The Shoreham's GM loved my mother's story, and wrote back that she was more than welcome.

    When we first arrived, we were seated at a table in the back, to which I didn't give a second thought. Then, two very nice young women came to us and apologized profusely and said our table was somewhere else. They moved us to Table 2, next to Table 1, where the biggest names in D.C. government, and in the association and hospitality communities were sitting. The GM read my mother's story at the celebration, and it brought the room to their feet. Afterward, attendees treated her like a movie star. We even ended up in the Georgetowner newspaper as a photo op. For a very shy woman, my mother handled her temporary fame gracefully. It was a magical evening for both of us, especially since my father had recently died. 

    I have so many other memories - the saucier ones I've left out here - that to recount them all I would need to start a serial. I just want to thank everyone who has come into my life professionally, even if for the briefest moment. You all have made the past 20 years and 1,000 issues a fun ride, and I hope we are in constant contact for the foreseeable future. Leave me your thoughts in the Comments section below. Thanks!

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