So I know everyone is asking and waiting for my #ASAE11 recap, so I’ll just say up front that I’m not sure if I’ll do any analysis beyond this post. I just have a few simple things I want to say here, and I’m thrilled by all the great recap blog posts coming out of the conference that do a great job of showcasing the specifics of the meeting. Read them all here – LOVE that ASAE tried ScoopIt for this, because it rocks. Don’t forget you can suggest posts to them through that page, if they missed a few.
1. Thank you.
Thank you SO MUCH to ASAE for listening, not just to me with my big online voice (hidden in a small-ish person) but to all of us who had constructive criticism last year. The fact that thoughtful changes were made EVERYWHERE is amazing and we are very, very grateful. I know you can feel it, based on the blog posts and Twitter stream coming out of the conference. Thank you.
As for me? Here’s my recap.
2. Worked hard.
I personally felt like I worked hard during the whole conference, didn’t really stop to take anything in. Here’s a brief list of what I got up to.
- Saturday – Tech Council. I’m rolling off the council in December, as I’m just swamped, but my last task is to lead a team of “ambassadors” at the Technology Conference to welcome new attendees. If you’re a Tech Conference veteran and want to be involved either at the conference or in figuring out what this will look like, let me know.
- Sunday – Here are the slides and recap (thanks Celisa!) from Lindy’s session with Elizabeth Engel, Social Media Trouble Spots. We conducted a live version of our SocialFish assessment of a mock association and I thought it was really really awesome. Did you attend? Feedback please! Let us know in the comments if you liked it/what we could improve next time.
- Monday – Here is the recap (thanks Larissa!) from my session with Sterling Raphael and Tom Myroniak of SEMA on Social CRM for Associations: Future Trends for Managing Member Data. This was an advanced session (I posted a disclaimer to that effect right up front) and I hope it made sense and that people weren’t overwhelmed. I spoke about what Social CRM is and what it means for associations and specifically for membership management; then Sterling and Tom talked through the strategies accompanying the key SCRM tools that SEMA is using. Once again, if you were there please give me feedback.
- Tuesday – Jamie Notter and I held our very first open conversation about our forthcoming book, Humanize, hosted by Kiki L’Italien (thank you Kiki!). You may not know this but we have been under NDA with the publisher until recently, so we couldn’t say much about it before! So it was exciting and nerve-racking to finally be able to talk about it and get reactions. We (hopefully) were able to illustrate how what looks like social media implementation questions are actually shining a light on much deeper organizational changes that need to be made, to move us out of a machine system into a more human ecosystem. The whole book actually has a Matrix metaphor running through it (unplugging from the machine world, geddit?)… You’ll hear a lot more about all of this obviously, but we were SO THANKFUL to have some great association colleagues attend our unsession and dig into the theme of trust, specifically. Again, if you were there, let us know any improvements for the next (many) facilitated conversations we will have! And thank you for attending the very first one!
3. Played hard.
I have a whole lot of stuff going on in my life right now, including having just moved to a new apartment (the day before I flew to St Louis!), and I had so much work to do (see #2 above) so I will confess that I did not attend much this year. I missed both general sessions; I fell asleep early on Sunday and missed a bunch of receptions; I spent some time hanging out with Mandy Stahl, ASAE’s new community manager (interview coming soon!!), in the online engagement lounge during session times; and I concentrated on seeing friends who I don’t get to see in person during the year (thank you Jeff for arranging a great group dinner; thank you Sandra for letting us crash the Four Seasons pool, thank you Mickie, Jamie, Bill and Kiki for coming out to lunch on Tuesday when we couldn’t find seats in the closing general session – thank you to everyone for hanging out with me! I love you guys so much!!).
And thank you Ben for wearing those skinny red jeans…. I am so overwhelmed by the success of our YAPnation fundraiser and I am 100% sure that our YAP spirit was the catalyst. We asked people to donate a $5 or $10 bill to go to Joplin, the Missouri town decimated by the tornado a few months ago. We collected a bunch of $5s and $10s, then lots of $20′s, and a handful (!!!!) of $100 bills. Holy crap! With matching $1000 from YAP (thank you to Avectra and AMR, our amazing sponsors, who agreed to let us do this), and two anonymous donations of $300, we have so far raised a massive $2900. And the funds are still coming in! If you’d like to donate, please contact Jamie Notter (jamienotter[at]gmail.com) and/or buy Red4Joplin t-shirts at yapstar.org (coming soon – contact Kiki L’Italien for more info). THANK YOU for donating, for attending, for dancing, for being the awesomest group of association execs on the planet.
4. Thought hard.
So I spent a lot of time just pondering things, during this conference. I spent a lot of time by myself, actually, or with people very close to me that I could talk to about all the big changes in my life (you may be surprised I’m less extroverted than I seem online).
Introspection, direction, passion and focus were this year’s themes for me. The wonderful Ignite session I did attend seemed to be about this too – if you have a point to make, and you only have 5 minutes and 20 slides to make it in, what will you say?
And my dear friend Joe Gerstandt‘s Freak Flag session (this post by the mysterious Sarah describes it perfectly) was the one that seemed to crystallize everything for me (and for a lot of other people too, judging by the tons of kudos I’m reading in lots of blog posts).
He made us think about how we were connected to others – and how you can’t usually see those connections, you have to share part of yourselves to find them. He asked us to write our obituaries, to think about what we were here for, what our gift was. Jamie and I talk about this a lot, but the thing I know for a fact is that despite having a pretty good idea what my gift is, I’m still trying to understand where it’s going to lead me. But a lot of things, including the important work we’re doing at SocialFish, and not least my Humanize book, are fitting together like puzzle pieces in the service of something pretty amazing. I can feel it deep down inside.
I’m just happy to be part of this association community, and grateful to ASAE for providing the spaces to be able to make powerful connections happen.