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Trade Association Advocacy and the Political Conventions

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Well it’s here, the two weeks every four years when the political parties hold their nominating conventions. In DC shorthand it’s referred to as “Cleveland” or “Philadelphia” as in “are you going to Cleveland?”.

What Should You Expect From Your Trade Association?

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The question of association value comes up over and over again. Business leaders frequently ask their representative on an association board or committee to justify the expense of their association participation.

What is Association Management?

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This summer I’m looking for opportunities to explain association management and share how we do it at Verto Solutions. One of my earlier blog posts included a basic overview of association management.

On the Road for Flavor Creation

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Santa Monica sunrise on an early morning run. I had a great trip to Southern California earlier this week. The Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association hosted a workshop in Santa Monica for food industry professionals interested in learning more about flavor creation.

Advice for New Lawyers

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I’m speaking again this week to University of Alabama law students about career opportunities for lawyers working in government relations. It’s not an easy time for new lawyers to get started, so I’ve been thinking about what I can say to help them in their searches.

Innovation for Association Executives

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I’m thinking about innovation in the context of managing associations and non-profit enterprises. Innovation is a corporate buzz word, but it’s also a fundamental element in any successful and growing organization.

Association Management and Board Reports: “Done is Better Than Perfect

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The Beautiful Trees at Highlands Swim and Tennis Club – McLean, VA. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s recent book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead is in my stack to read. My wife was inspired by it and quickly passed it on to a friend.

Take a Vacation From Email

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Pool and Barn/Gym at High Meadow Farm, Washington Depo, CT. Last summer a client that I really respect apologized for not responding to an email message more quickly. He said he had been on vacation and he was working on his “work-life balance.”.

What is Strategy?

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Perhaps you’ve noticed that strategy is the most overused word in the corporate lexicon. Not just for-profit corporations, but non-profits too, and it’s also frequently used by military leaders.

An AweSOME Evening for Those in Need

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Congratulations to SOME, (So Others Might Eat), the D.C. non-profit that helps the homeless, and low income seniors, “restoring hope and dignity one person at a time.”

Spring Break in Amsterdam – With the Kids!

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In this post I’m taking a break from writing about associations, food policy, and leadership. My friends are headed to Amsterdam for spring break next week with their three children and I wanted to share what I think are some of the best things about this great city.

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SJA Golf Tournament

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Playing a round of golf on a beautiful Monday is a treat. Thank you to Trish and Craig Maloney for organizing another successful St.

Global Public Affairs

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My reading material on a recent business trip included Building and Maintaining a Global Public Affairs Functio n , by the DC-based Foundation for Public Affairs. The Foundation for Public Affairs is the association for public affairs professionals and they produce excellent publications.

Spring Hill College Alumni Board and New Offices for the Verto Solutions Companies

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The Association Navigator Blog is back. It’s been nearly three months since my last post, but I’m back and I’m picking up the tempo. I’m getting re-started with updates about Spring Hill College and our new offices at Verto Solutions. First, Spring Hill College.

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Communications and Marketing for Associations – Paid Internship

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Verto Solutions is looking for an intern to join our Communications & Marketing team. This is a part-time, paid position. The ideal candidate will be pursuing a degree in a related field and be interested in trade associations or non-profits. We’d love to work with someone who Likes social media and is LinkedIn to new and exciting ways organizations communicate with their friends and followers. We’d like someone to start soon after the New Year. If you’re interested contact me

What Does the Sale of The Washington Post Mean to Your Association?

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We’re just back from a great family vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. We played golf and tennis, went swimming, hiking, wine tasting , and visited Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. I spent most of the week off the computer , only looking at email once or twice.

Getting Started in Government Relations: Advice for Law Students

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What kind of positions or opportunities should a graduating law student pursue if they’re interested in government relations?

How Does Nick Saban Do It?

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Fortune magazine. I did some reading about Coach Nick Saban’s leadership philosophy and style in anticipation of the BCS National Championship game Monday night between Alabama and Notre Dame.

How to Make 2013 a Great Year: Your Guide to a More Productive Life

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I always enjoy the sense of possibility that comes with an approaching New Year. Fueled by holiday beverages, and reflected in a roaring fire, I see a more interesting and productive year on the horizon. Can you see it too?

Discussing Business Success Over a Shrimp Po Boy

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I had a nice lunch yesterday with Dr. Bob Sprague. “Dr. Bob” is a well-known organizational psychologist who has worked with many privately-held firms over the years. Bob is interested in helping companies and leaders think differently.

Do You Need to Spend Big Money to Get Great Speakers?

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Finding great speakers for your association or non-profit meeting without spending big bucks can be challenging. Sometimes I just wish I could dial-up a speakers’ bureau, flip through their glossy catalogue and pick a star.

Scanning the Horizon on the Chesapeake Bay

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Early Morning on Lake Ogleton, near Annapolis, Maryland. I’m just back from a short cruise on the amazing Chesapeake Bay. One of the reasons for getting out on the water, away from fast-paced daily life, is to stare at the horizon and “figure some things out.”

McLean’s Most Generous Resident?

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William Conway in Forbes. Yesterday’s Washington Post column by Robert McCartney highlighted the charitable contributions of William E. Conway, Jr. Bill Conway is Co-chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the DC private equity firm, the Carlyle Group. We hear quite a bit about Conway’s partner, David Rubenstein, who is currently on the cover of Forbes. Rubenstein’s charity is more high profile, like pledging to repair the Washington Monument.

Cutting Edge Social Media for Associations

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The magazine for association executives, Associations Now , has another great issue this month (Feb. 2013). The highlight is the article about the social media strategy at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

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Association Law Essentials

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The newest edition of Associations Now has a good article on basic association law issues. The article was written by Jerry A. Jacobs , dean of the association legal community. Jerry’s book, Association Law Handbook , is in the Fifth Edition.

True Professionalism at an Association Management Firm

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I’ve just completed David Maister’s True Professionalism. Originally published in 1997 and still relevant today, it is the single best guide I’ve found so far to managing a professional services firm like Verto Solutions.

The Best Books for Association Executives

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It’s the time of year when booksellers tell us what books make good gifts for certain categories of readers. It made me wonder if there was a list of the best books for association executives? Somewhat surprisingly, I couldn’t find one.

GMA Executive Conference: Perhaps the End of a Very Good Thing? A Review

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I’ve just returned from Colorado where GMA, the Association of Food, Beverage and Consumer Products Companies , hosted what will reportedly be their last Executive Conference.

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Vodka and Croissant: Interesting Business Leaders

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I can highly recommend a couple of recent business profiles. The thing that the two leaders have in common is serendipity. Random career paths fascinate me.

We’re All In Sales Now

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Let me repeat, we are all in sales now. This is the title of a great article in the new issue of Associations Now about Daniel Pink’s forthcoming book. The article touches several of my favorite subjects: sales, marketing, and effective associations.

Verto Solutions, ASAE & the Association Management Advantage

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Association management is in the spotlight again. ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership just published a special supplement to Associations Now that focuses on the advantages of association management.

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Speaking to Alabama Law Students about the Association World

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courtesy of [link]. I’m excited to again speak to University of Alabama law students about opportunities in the association world. The discussion is next week at the Washington offices of Hogan Lovells.

What’s Your Favorite Mars Product?

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Don’t miss the great article in the new Fortune magazine about Mars – Inside Mars, one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For , by David A. Kaplan. Here’s what I find interesting: Mars’ headquarters is in McLean, Virginia, the DC suburb where I live.

A Library of Event Checklists

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Ritz Carlton Laguna Nigel – Courtesy of Ritz Carlton. I’m just back from a successful and well-executed client meeting at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Nigel in Dana Point, California.

Social Media for Associations: Challenges and Opportunities

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Associations and non-profits are very busy trying to figure out social media. How can we use them to enhance our communications and how can we prepare for attacks launched using these new tools? The opportunities for enhanced sharing and collaboration presented by social media are mind-blowing.

Marketing Resources for Associations and Small Businesses

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Here are some good marketing resources for your association or professional services firm. The organizations and consultants below offer a variety of materials including books, blogs, webinars and consulting that have inspired me to think differently about marketing.

Food and Beverage Colors – Chicago, IL September 11-13

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What’s the latest in food and beverage color?

Chuck Spurlock: An Appreciation

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I went to Montgomery, Alabama today to be with the friends and family of Charles Hughes Spurlock, Jr. Chuck Spurlock passed away Tuesday evening after a year fighting cancer. Chuck was one of the smartest, sweetest, and most interesting people I have ever met. I admired Chuck enormously and today I learned some things about him I didn’t know. Chuck is originally from Clifton, Tennessee. Over his 60 years he lived in many places, but all in the South.

Something I Didn’t Know About Hotel WiFi

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I just learned something new about hotels and WiFi. The current system isn’t just a money grab, it’s also a capacity issue. I’m annoyed when hotels charge high fees for WiFi in conference meeting rooms. I’m not talking about guest room or lobby access, I’m referring to a strong WiFi signal during meetings so that attendees can research and multitask during sessions. I have a sense that things are changing quickly in this area.

Global Color Conference 2012

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Congratulations to the International Association of Color Manufacturers (IACM) for hosting a great conference this week in Chicago. Early September in Chicago was beautiful and IACM created a great event for color manufacturers and user companies. The Global Color Conference 2012: Food & Beverage Color in Today’s Global Market , is the latest in a series of accomplishments for IACM, the leading association of food & beverage color manufacturers and users.