November 21, 2017
    Who are the TRENDS 2017 Young & Aspiring Association Professionals

    They are the professionals who stand out in a crowd, and they don’t even mean to, there’s just something about them. It’s their confidence, their demeanor and most of all, their natural leadership quality. People see it and are attracted to it. They are today’s leaders AND tomorrow’s leaders. They are the TRENDS Young & Aspiring Association Professionals!

    A professional must be nominated to be considered for this honor. The professional must be younger than 40, working in the association space for at least five years, and demonstrably active in the association community, among other criteria. 

    Jamie D. Beaulieu, CAE, Director of Membership & Professional Development, Society for Neuroscience, Washington

    From her nomination: Since her arrival [at SfN], Jamie has made a tremendous difference in the Society’s strategies and programs:

    • Jamie was an essential partner as SfN worked to reimagine membership from a “member service” mentality to one of member value, member onboarding, member retention and member engagement. All have grown during her tenure. Also, she became a key part of efforts to modernize SfN’s governance oversight of membership activities, intentionally connecting U.S. and international strategies and integrating our 150+ chapters more effectively. 

    • Jamie has been a major catalyst to transform SfN’s professional development programming, and led efforts to intentionally connect that programming to the value of membership. Jamie seized the opportunity to work with volunteer leaders and other staff to rapidly reimagine and restructure how SfN would provide professional development programming. In short order, she took the function from providing mostly brick-and-‐mortar events and a few webinars annually, to a robust year-round program of online events, videos and chats. Just recently, she took the lead with colleagues to introduce a successful new model for SfN’s diversity programming. It integrated in‐person sessions, technology and online interaction, resulting in the first “hybrid” online conference that supported diverse scientists with in‐person experiences while communicating to the global neuroscience community the priority of increasing diversity. 

    • Jamie provided crucial financial leadership for a large and complicated portfolio. The department was a locus for many of the Society’s externally funded programs and partnerships, including with long‐time private foundations, federal agencies and international partners. Within a year, once‐challenging, grant‐funded projects were reporting accurately and successfully on revenues and expenses, identifying areas of shortfall, and as important, identifying ways to redeploy available funds. 

    • Throughout this time, Jamie has remained an active and engaged member of the ASAE community, maintaining her CAE status, attending regional and national ASAE events and serving as the chair of ASAE’s National Capitol Area Council 2016‐17 term. Former CAE Commission member.

    Amalea Hijar, Program Director, Growth, MAPI, Washington

    From her nominations: “In her 13 years working in association management, she has risen from coordinator to the level of senior staff at her current organization. Always a servant leader, Amalea has a reputation for being a workhorse who helps her colleagues get results. At the National Association of Charter School Authorizers she more than doubled revenues from advertisers, exhibitors and sponsors. While at the American Staffing Association she developed new techniques to increase member retention. And while at the American College of Cardiology and the MAPI she greatly increased the percentage of people participating in membership and engagement programs.”

    • “I needed a self-starter who could be calculated and think several layers deep, multi-task, plan ahead and produce! She delivered on all counts, and more.”

    • “She brings a level of energy and big-picture thinking to work that I haven’t seen in 150+ other colleagues. One of her strengths is that she remembers that nonprofits are businesses and should be treated as such – monitoring expenses and innovating with processes should not be limited to corporations or treated as perfunctory annual exercises.”

    • “As colleagues working in the association profession (I am a CEO), I am glad to know that the future is in the hands of someone like her.”

    • “Among her most recent accomplishments for the benefit of the association community:

    – Publishing an ebook titled How to Create a Project Toolkit for Your Local Chapters, which is the most popular content on Association and was featured in several articles by ASAE. Also for this website, she will be a speaker in its virtual conference, running a session called “How to Effect Change No Matter Your Job Title.” She is a pioneer everywhere she goes.

    – Asked to make videos for ASAE’s Working Smart series in which she provided career advice.  

    – Assisted ASAE with establishing its young association executives membership type and serving on the first Young Association Executives Council for two years, including as its communications chair.

    – Serving on ASAE’s Component Relations Council for multiple years, including as chair.

    Brandon Robinson, CAE, President, Association Management at Eisenman & Associates, and Executive Director, Virginia Society of Association Executives, Richmond, Va.

    From his nomination:  Brandon currently serves as executive director of VSAE, the largest client of Eisenman & Associates, a Richmond-based association management company for which he is president. He joined Eisenman in 2014 as VP. His previous experience includes serving as assistant VP at Easter Associates, another Richmond-area AMC and a strong progression of experience at the Propane Education & Research Council during the formative years of his career.

    What really distinguishes Brandon is his passion for association management. He has earned his Certified Association Executive credential, is very well read and always seeks out opportunities to engage in conversations about emerging trends and hot topics in the association profession. He is an effective volunteer, both as chair-elect of the Association Societies Alliance and is a past chair of ASAE’s Young Professionals Committee. As a participant in ASAE’s NextGen Association Summit, Brandon brought his passion, experience and insight to conversation to help bring them to a higher level. It has been a pleasure to watch Brandon’s career develop, and I cannot wait to follow his continued success well into the future.

    • In August 2017, TRENDS selected Robinson as an Extraordinary Executive along with VSAE chairman Scot McRoberts, who is executive director of the Virginia Council of CEOs. In the interview, Robinson was asked, “How did or are you going about determining what to change, what to keep, what to try?” He replied, “In my role as the executive director, I am constantly challenging the board to stay aligned to our vision, mission, and strategy. It seems simplistic and perhaps redundant in practice, though I am constantly asking the question, “does this help us realize our vision or is this part of our mission?”

    Rhea M. Steele, MS, CAE, CIP, COO, Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, Washington

    From her nomination: She contributes to ASAE and the extended-association community in numerous volunteer roles, strategically improves the technology, operations, and bottom lines of every organization she has worked with over the past 12 years, and is guaranteed to continue to positively impact the association community and professionals because of her vision, leadership, tenacity, and authenticity.

    Rhea first came onto the association scene as part of the 2006 ASAE Leadership Academy. 

    One of her many volunteer roles was as chair of ASAE’s National Capitol Advisory Council, where she led the transition of the Greater Washington Committee from having a tactical, implementation focus to a strategic advisory group strongly aligned with ASAE’s mission. Her numerous volunteer contributions demonstrate a commitment to the association profession and align with her role as a mentor to many of the Technology Section Council for ASAE. Earlier this year, she and several fellow technologists founded Association Women Technology Champions. 

    In her current role as COO, in her first year, she led the board through a rewrite of the bylaws and creation of a Governance Policy manual to help strengthen its governance functions, while facilitating the organization’s strategic planning process. She also led the development of core values for the organization, which helped increase employee engagement and were incorporated into the most recent annual evaluation cycle. She just kicked off a data integration project that promises to usher in a new era of information sharing for CAEP. 

    While Director of IT and Operations, Council of Chief State School Officers, she led the organization through a foundational implementation of an Association Management System, which transformed the way CCSSO interacted with members and monitored relationships.

    She is relevant already and will continue to influence our great community positively for many years to come.

    • Rhea is the leader of a share group of 20+ COOs here in DC. She is one of the first people I seek counsel regarding anything related to technology. She is extremely adept at finding ways to increase efficiency and reduce expenses.

    Melissa Walling, CAE, IOM, Vice President of Membership and Education, Association Forum of Chicagoland

    From her nomination: Melissa was promoted in June 2017 after demonstrating strong results, commitment and accountability to deliver the mission of Association Forum.

    In life, there are people who watch things happen and then there are those who make things happen.  Melissa has more than proven her ability to deliver an impact in every organization she has touched. She understands the value of associations and is passionate about association management as a career.  This is demonstrated through receiving her CAE and IOM in the same year, 2011.  Melissa was in the inaugural class of ASAE’s Next Gen Summit in 2013. Her career accomplishments have only begun. 

    Melissa’s commitment to service is not limited to associations. She joined the U.S. Peace Corps as an Organizational Management Consultant/Business Educator in 2001. There she managed eco-tourism initiatives and collaborated with volunteer boards in Ghana, West Africa.

    Melissa brings a professionalism to the association community and is admired and sought out by many for advice and mentoring. Her respectful and dependable persona is appealing to Forum members across all sectors.  It is through her nurturing personality that the Forum has increased membership engagement and growth. 

    Her work experience includes:

    • Institute of Real Estate Management, 2005-14. Started as a membership coordinator and left as a Director, Customer and Member Services

    • American Academy of Pediatrics - 2014-16, Director, Division of Data & Analytics

    • Association Forum, 2016 – present.  VP reporting directly to the CEO

    • Active Volunteer with Association Forum prior to hiring in 2016.  She served in various capacities including three years as a Shared Interest Group Chair, part of the CAE Working Group, part of the Awards & Recognition Committee. In 2016, served as a mentor up for ASAE's Next Gen Program.

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