Thursday, December 23, 2010

**Scholarships for Association Peeps - Deadline Jan 14**

Note: This is a scholarship opportunity that will be awesome for young association professionals. The deadline for applications is soon soon, so head's up.

Also, I ran across this information on the ASAE listservs. If you want to be privy to this kind of information, consider signing up for these listservs on your own!

Rising Star Scholarships and Publishing Trendsetter of the Year

Please consider nominating a client or colleague for our Publishing Trendsetter of the Year award or tapping a "rising star" to receive one of our Rising Star Scholarships for professional development tuition.

Our foundation is seeking applicants for the Rising Star Scholarships to be awarded in 2011 to young publishing/communication professionals. Up to three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to worthy association professionals and can be used to attend sessions with AM&P, ASAE, Folio, Stanford, Association Forum, NYSAE, and other programs.

We are also seeking applicants for the Publishing Trendsetter of the Year! Association professionals will be honored at the Salute to Association Excellence lunch, Feb 16, Washington, D.C.

Deadline: January 14. Apply @

Debra J. Stratton
Stratton Publishing & Marketing/Stratton Research Custom media * Research * Strategic consultation
5285 Shawnee Road, Suite 510
Alexandria, VA 22312-2334
P.703/914-9200 ext. 27

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Be Awesome - Say Thanks

My mother and father didn't always agree on everything. Their turbulent relationship meant a lot of things were said that couldn't be taken back. Mistakes were made. No one is perfect.

But, they purposefully and with perfect synchronization of effort instilled three rules in my sister and me.

#1. Adhere to a strong work ethic

#2. Brush your teeth

#3. Always, always say thank you

This isn't going to be a long post. My autobiography will be released 100 years from the day of my death. What I want to put across to everyone is the lesson of training oneself to say "thanks" to every person for the biggest to smallest effort is important.

My dad still wakes up at 4:30 am every day, still checks my teeth to see that I've brushed them whenever I see him, and will still whisper to say thanks or leave an extra tip for someone who deserves it. He is a big reason I keep Wisps (disposable toothbrushes) in every bag and feel paranoid if I (somehow) sleep past 7 am on a weekend. He is a big reason I am constantly asking to talk to the manager to inform him or her that the server I have is doing an exceptional job.

Today is a day devoted to gratitude and so here's the big message: Be Awesome - Say Thanks. Say thanks to your friends, family, teachers, students, communities, members, leaders, and more. Say thanks when someone has taught you an important lesson. Say thank you when someone has taken time to answer a question. Say thanks when someone helps someone close to you. Recognize extra effort exerted by someone so that you might lead others by example and make the world just the tiniest bit friendlier.

To all the regular readers of my blog, I want to assure you of these three things:

#1. I woke up before 7 am this morning and helped my mother-in-law wash the dishes

#2. I brushed my teeth both before and after breakfast

#3. I am thankful for each and every one of you who read and share my blog posts. I never installed Google Analytics on my blog or checked stats until this year and I've been stunned to find out so many people listen to what I have to say here. Thank you for your time. Thank you for listening. Thank you for making this world a better place.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Association International Expansion – You Need More Than a Passport

I know you’ll likely be on your way out of town, or desperately trying to thaw a last-minute turkey, but you can still dial-in to listen to the next ASAE Component Relations Section Council Virtual Lunch on International Expansion!

If you are an association executive in the beginning stages of expanding internationally or a component relations executive who is already working with international chapters and wondering if the model you’re using is right after all, this Wednesday is the Virtual Lunch for you to attend!

“International Expansion – You Need More Than a Passport”
Wednesday November 24, 2010
2:00 PM-01:00 PM ET

Register here to attend:

Speaker: Peter Turner
Senior Advisor, Global Development Strategy at MCI Group

Speaker Bio: As senior advisor, global development strategy for MCI Group, Peter works with U.S.-based associations on building their international communities through local office presence, market analysis and business planning, events, and regional communication. MCI Group is a global association management & consulting company with 44 offices in 22 countries. Before joining MCI, Peter's 30 year career includes having served as director, business and product development at IEEE Computer Society; director of business development at Fusion; as senior vice president and foundation executive director at Meeting Professionals International; and as director of meeting services a the American Society of Association Executives.

Resources for Discussion:
Blog Post: "Secrets to Market Share and Product Sales Growth"

Blog: Grow Globally - GG is an international management blog covering association case studies and thought pieces to help develop "locally relevant" member and customer experiences.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

EventCamp Meltdown? Fire Away - Guest Post by Midori Connolly

Written by guest blogger: Midori Connolly, Pulse Staging and Events, Chief AVGirl, Owner

In the wake of the third EventCamp, a community meltdown seems to be occurring. Unfortunately, it appears that some of the observations and questions from the remote participants were construed as personal attacks rather than the open and honest exchange of ideas (see values #1-4 of the Five Core Values of EventCamp).

As I see it, the primary impetus for this controversy (and what initiated the string of questions and observations via Twitter) is largely a result of what attendee expectations within the EventCamp community: online community, technological integration, blended audience experiences, solid adult learning design, etc.

Let me illustrate with my own personal experience..

As a remote attendee of the first EventCamp, I was thrilled to participate in thought-provoking discussion and receive inspirational education without having to leave my young children to travel across the country to an event. Then, as a face-to-face participant at EventCamp Twin Cities, the energy and excitement of the engagement occurring between participants both in-room and from afar gave me chills!

So, perhaps this is the source of the confusion for many the inability to participate remotely in the knowledge sharing and conversation at EventCamp East Coast. And this could be a major issue for ALL event managers moving forward as new generations of attendee expectations continue to evolve.

I see three areas that might have instigated the breakdown:
1) Video Stream v. Backchannel: I completely agree that not every EventCamp or gathering need be streamed via Audio/Video. However, I think it's safe to say that most of us by now have become accustomed to a backchannel conversation. Taking that away was quite an unexpected shock for audience members both face-to-face and remote. I received several messages from attendees onsite who felt they were being disconnected from those who couldn't be there face-to-face and that was not what they had expected. The same happened with remote attendees who (for some reason or another) thought I could explain why there wasn’t a backchannel conversation.

2) Hashtag: After building a vibrant and engaged #ecec10 community, restricting the flow of conversation between community members during the event felt contradictory to the purpose of creating event hashtags. If there are issues of confidentiality, then perhaps Yammer and a closed community are a better option? Then the participants who were included in the promotional/before community building could benefit from the education and knowledge of the during phase…and continue the camaraderie of the after stage of the event when community has the chance to become strongest.

3) Knowledge Sharing: One of the most appealing aspects of being a part of the EventCamp community is the open exchange of ideas. While providing educational summaries of the sessions is so fantastic (particularly with the brilliant Mitchell Beer as the provider of said summaries), it still dilutes the joy of having many perspectives in the room helping to create that content. It also limits the historical recording to one person's voice and interpretation.

In summary, this is clearly not an issue of right or wrong, but rather lessons for all. I don’t have an opinion one way or another about whether or not this was the “right” format. I just offer these journalistic observations and interpretations from someone who participated remotely in the community. Those who were able to attend face-to-face had the time of their life and the unconference format inspired a transformative experience. In contrast, our online community has come to expect certain elements as a norm, one being the ability to participate remotely in some form or another. Over the course of two years many of us have come to rely on these backchannel experiences for staying connected to our socmed bff's J

Wouldn’t it be cool if someone could now blend Adrian’s Conferences that Work model of some of the unconference formatting and create a virtual unconference? Wooooo, now THAT would be cool!

I know I will personally have a whole new insight as we move forward with developing EventCamp Green. So thank you to the ECEC10 organizers for pioneering yet another frontier in the brave new world of meetings and events!! 

Next it will be your turn to provide constructive observations and insight on our interpretation of the EventCamp model...and, as Pat Benatar would say, Fire Away so we can all grow and improve together!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Open Q&A with Open Community Authors: Lindy Dreyer and Maddie Grant

I’m taking part in the virtual book tour Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer are doing to explore concepts from Open Community: a little book of big ideas for associations navigating the social web. In this post, Maddie and Lindy answer a few questions I asked in my pre-virtual book tour post.

The Burning Questions
1. Why a book and why now?
Lindy: Maddie and I have talked to thousands of association executives who have voiced their frustrations about the social web--from the overabundance of tools and the disorderly experimentation of staff (and members!), to the lack of organizational support and the unwieldy processes for monitoring and managing social media, and that’s just the beginning. We decided to write Open Community as a way to address those frustrations and redirect the thinking about using social tools to build community online
Maddie: Yes - pretty much everyone has started experimenting with social tools now, it's no longer about answering "why is this important" but "how can we do this better" and "how can we do this strategically."
2. How did you settle upon the topic?
Lindy: Simply put, it's our manifesto. It's what we're all about and why we do what we do. We work to change the way associations think about the social web. It's not about choosing between a Facebook page or a private community site, it's about building the capacity to connect with people on an ever increasing scale. We ask our clients and colleagues to thing strategically about what they want to achieve, how to connect with their community where they're already spending time online, and how to organize and manage the work of building relationships. Then we can start talking about the best tools for specific goals.

3. Have you already thought of a sequel or series? Please dish.
Maddie:  Not specifically, though the thought has crossed my mind to do a second edition with all of the case studies we'll be collecting over the next year or so.  We very consciously did not put any case studies or examples in this book - we wanted people to think more deeply about how their own organization could approach all of the things we talk about. I hear people say all the time, "that wouldn't work for us, our members are different" or "we have a whole internal team of people ready to do this, but we're struggling with juggling existing work, how can we add this to the mix?" - but all associations have a community, everyone needs to figure out how to nurture it (online and offline) in their own ways. It's just too easy for members to go somewhere else if they don't feel heard or cared for.

4. Who are your social media/community influences?  Who are the "gurus" that rub you the wrong way?
Maddie: Ha - for influences, you can take a look at my Twitter "the big league" list...  the people that I deliberately don't follow are those who lead with tools and tactics, and those who say there's "a right way" to do social media.

Lindy: There's a reading list in the book, and endnotes where you can see many of the sources and people who influenced us. I will say, we somehow managed to get a Big Lebowski reference into the book. I'm not sure the Dude is a credible influence, but I take my inspiration wherever I find it.  

Maddie: LOL!  Serendipity is always a valuable thing...
5. The book, the tour, the Kindle version, the...audiobook?  Where are you going from here?
Lindy: We're really working hard to gather stories that support the premises in the book, and you'll see a lot of that on the SocialFishing blog between now and August...and probably beyond. Can't tell you all our super-secret-yet-undefined plans, though. Gotta keep you on your toes!  ;-)

Bonus Points Questions: 
When you started SocialFish, there wasn't anything like it in the association space. You have watched more and more social media consultants/marketing firms/etc come onto the playing field. Has it changed your focus? Would you have done things differently in the beginning?
Lindy: Well, from the very beginning, we've had a core philosophy that social media is about building relationships. And that means that organizations need to build the capacity to do that for themselves, because ultimately, that's what being an association executive is all about. So that focus hasn't changed. We're really happy to see more people providing social media services to the association industry, because that means the market is maturing. We're lucky to have a number of success stories from association clients who have been working with us to organize and scale their social media work. And we have a lot of great relationships with thought leaders in the association space, as well as social media thought leaders who help us constantly learn and evolve as the technology evolves. 
Maddie:  One thing we are doing now that there are more players, is defining more clearly what we do - strategy, internal process infrastructure, training - that is different than a social media marketing company, or a PR agency, or even a community platform vendor who helps with strategy.  We're working on articulating those differences. For example, if an association wants a social media campaign or someone to build a Facebook page for them, we're not the right agency. But if they want to figure out internal structures for social media management, or to develop policies, or to train staff on how to build relationships online all year round, then we can deliver results because that's the work we do every day.
What is the most important lesson you've learned in owning your own business?
Maddie: That being able to make a living from what you love doing and are really, really good at trumps all fears about striking out on your own... and, specifically for our social media strategy work, that it's imperative to be a practitioner, to live what we preach, to show the work it takes to nurture real world communities.
Lindy: Owning this business, in particular, has demanded a lot of experimentation and agility in our thinking. I've learned to recognize when something is not working and change course so that our clients and our business see results. There's a lot of satisfaction in turning a failed attempt into a success. 

What is the number one thing every association needs to have in place when it comes to social media?
Maddie:  Enthusiasm and willingness to build real connections. 
Lindy:  Internet access. ;-) How about we throw that question back out to your readers? Thoughts, gang?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Open Community: The Pre-Virtual Book Tour Post

My copy of Open Community arrived today and just a quick glance has assured me it is awesome stuff. Watch on this site for an upcoming post with more information about Open Community, "A little book of big ideas for associations navigating the web."

Top Five Questions I have for Maddie & Lindy:
1. Why a book and why now?
2. How did you settle upon the topic?
3. Have you already thought of a sequel or series? Please dish.
4. Who are your social media/community influences?  Who are the "gurus" that rub you the wrong way?
5. The book, the tour, the Kindle version, the...audiobook?  Where are you going from here?

Bonus Points Questions: 
1. When you started SocialFish, there wasn't anything like it in the association space. You have watched more and more social media consultants/marketing firms/etc come onto the playing field.  Has it changed your focus? Would you have done things differently in the beginning?
2. What is the most important lesson you've learned in owning your own business?
3. What is the number one thing every association needs to have in place when it comes to social media?

Smiling adoringly because I received Open Community at last!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Judge Me By My Friends and Lessons from BlogWorld

All I knew was BlogWorld was a place to find inspiration and I blame Maddie.

Maddie Grant is blogger who makes her living doing stuff similar to what I do: she talks to associations about how to create a bond with members, helps some create a social media strategy, helps some train staff about new communication tools, and (basically) teaches association leaders and staff how to better relate to the members they serve.  [P.S. She and her enigmatic/feisty partner-in-crime Lindy Dreyer just came out with their first book, Open Community, which you will be reading about on this blog more in the very near future.]

Maddie is an inspiration and a good friend.  When Maddie told me BlogWorld would help me avoid social media burnout, I listened and acted.  Thank God I did.  Because I did act on her advice (and because my very cool boss understood the importance of the conference for me), I met people who are working in various creative fields whilst incorporating a business mindset.  End of story.  I will be back.  Twitter is great, but talking with people in person is better when the conversation relates directly to what I do for a living (and my passion).

So, if you are interested in attending BlogWorld in the future...if you can't imagine life without blogs and Twitter, but are wondering how you can spend another minute devoting so much of your life to helping others understand are the FIVE LESSONS for BLOGWORLD you need to commit to before arriving in 2011.

1. Go to Everything - Talk to Everyone

Even if they are wearing pink furry hats.  In fact, because they are wearing pink furry hats you should meet them.  Have fun.  Attend the parties even if you know NO ONE.  By the time you leave, at least a few people will know who you are and that is a win.  Plus, you have no idea what person or what conversation will lead you to a new understanding, idea, or tool that will change the way you do things for the better.  Have you tried Amplify?  No?  It's awesome.  I heard about it as a result of a conversation that two people near me were having.  You'll have similar stories as long as you don't isolate yourself.

2. Invest [heavily] in 5-Hour Energy Drinks and Starbucks Via

Part of joining in is staying up to mingle despite a time difference.  Staying up until 4 a.m. PT is hard even if you live in that time zone.  Add three hours to it and you're talking serious hurt.  The magic of 5-Hour energy drink is in the massive doses of B vitamins and it might just help you party like a rockstar while you are attending BlogWorld Expo.  It helped me.  Starbucks Via is another mainstay in my luggage whenever I am traveling.  You never know when you'll need an extra dose of caffeine and this stuff tastes fairly decent.  In fact, come and get me if you don't like it, I think Starbuck Via tastes as good as their regular brew.

3. Creativity Counts

Sure, people will remember you at BlogWorld if you have a pink furry hat, blue hair, a business card that doubles as a beer bottle opener...that is true.  But if you are also super smart and a very real person who dares to mingle with the masses, they will also remember you. Ultimately, it pays to put a little time into thinking of ways to define your image and make yourself memorable before attending any event.

*[By the way, the pink furry hat, blue hair, and bottle opener business card people I'm thinking of are amazingly savvy and not surviving by their memorable meeting promo/materials alone, but rather allowing their signature pieces to play into their personal brands. Look up Miss Destructo if you need an example of "super savvy" or someone who would make the perfect Lara Croft. (Sorry Angelina.)]

4. The Bloggers Lounge is Your Home Base

Any blogger worth his or her salt will find free coffee and plenty of outlets.  The Bloggers Lounge at BlogWorld offers both and it will call to you with its siren song in the morning when you most need another cup to follow your Starbucks Via. 

Let it happen.

You will meet people there.  People who need wifi, outlets, and caffeine like you do...people who are your family at some strange level.

Let it happen.

5. Attend the Seminars You Wouldn't Normally Attend

The best session I attended at BlogWorld was the one I ended up in accidentally.  The sessions I received the least from were the ones I had planned to attend.  My best advice?  Attend the seminars you don't think you need. They will give you advice you didn't know you needed.  The content will be different than you are used to and you will feel more alive when you leave. 

Go Ahead, Judge Me

When I was in high school I remember hearing my father say people judged a person by his or her friends.  I had a lot of crazy friends at the time, so I didn't particularly like what he was saying, but I thought about what he said many times while at BlogWorld.

I danced with Maddie and our friends at BlogWorld and watched her smile and smile.  She was re-filling her well, capturing moments in her life that would feed her during late nights in her future when she was writing blog posts and working for clients.  I smiled too.  If I were judged by my friends at that moment I would be perfectly fine.  I knew that no matter how much my feet would hurt in the morning, the experience was worth it.

Lady GoGo on Halloween 2010

Hide and Seek at 33

I am surprised to find myself hiding out for a spare 15 minutes in the bathroom on my iPhone so my almost-three-year-old won't steal it to play Tozzle or Robot Unicorn before I'm finished checking email/FB/Twitter/etc on an almost daily basis.

I am a 33-year-old playing hide and seek.

Posted via email from kikilitalien's posterous

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why I Think You Should Donate to the ASAE Foundation

[Full disclosure: I serve on the ASAE Foundation Development Committee.]

As an active volunteer for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), I try to impress upon anyone I know in associations the benefits for belonging to ASAE. My own membership and participation has influenced and shaped my career path and I can't imagine where I'd be without it.

Currently, I chair the ASAE Component Relations Section Council and as we march toward our goals this year with our projects I know that if our Council develops something to benefit ASAE members, ASAE will try to find a way to fund it - even if it isn't specifically in their budget for the year. How do they do this? Well, they try to do what any of us would try to do...they try to make it work based on their budgetary realities.

Introducing the ASAE Foundation's Annual Fund... 

What exactly will the ASAE Foundation's Annual Fund do? ASAE Foundation’s Annual Fund will:
  • Build upon our current body of knowledge in association management by creating the resources needed to survive in today’s economy and thrive in the future
  • Cultivate and retain the next generation of leaders for the 21st century workplace, while fostering a community that is diverse and inclusive
  • Build sustainable organizations that exchange ideas and best practices for a global world 
We (the other Foundation Committee members and I) are asking you to make an annual investment on behalf of your organization to ensure that your association, and associations like yours, remains competitive in the future. Your contribution is also a tax deductible as a charitable contribution. If you are writing a check, please make it payable to The ASAE Foundation, which is a 501 (c3) organization.

If you are making a donation on behalf of your organization, please consider a personal gift to match your organization’s gift. Personal pledges typically range from $100, $250 and $500 (but even gifts of $20 can make a difference!).

Every gift can help make a difference – no matter what size it is.
Please go to today and let us know your commitment to our foundation.

If you want to make me look good to the Committee, fill out the form below and fax it in (it shows that I influenced your decision to donate)...cheeky!

ASAE Foundation Annual Fund

Whether you donate or volunteer or BOTH, thank you for all you do for ASAE - and for your support of the ASAE Foundation!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monuments By Moonlight and the Magic of Shashi

It is impossible to live in DC, be involved in social media, and not know of Shashi Bellamkonda of Network Solutions. Shashi is somewhat of a legend in the social media arena (did you see Network Solutions make a cameo in The Social Network movie about Facebook?), but also one of the nicest, most down-to-earth individuals you will ever meet.

There is a little bit of magic that goes along with Shashi. He is always smiling, always thinking of something brilliant, and so things seems to go into a fuzzy sort of happy-zone when he's around. That's why I'm especially excited about this Friday.

Meet Shashi - Connected and Helpful!
The Washington Business Journal and Network Solutions are hosting the 2nd Annual Grow Smart Biz Conference in Washington, DC on Friday!

I live in the association/non-profit space, an industry known for trying to maximize what organizations get for their dollars, and because of that I'm looking forward to the smart conversation I'll hear about growth on a budget and using technology to its most efficient degree during the Conference. In fact, there is an entire track devoted to Small Business, Government, and Nonprofits...but I'm banking on the amazing speakers and attendees to really make the difference. I've heard fabulous things about last year's meeting, so I'm extremely excited to attend this year's!

Also, the Happy Hour the night before is shaping up to be quite the event on its own, featuring a DC Monument Tour by Moonlight and giveaways...(I even read mention of an optional stop at the Dandelion Patch, one of the conference speakers' businesses. (I need to order 25 fabulous invitations to a holiday party I'm throwing for family...I think this might be the place I use for invitations. We shall see!)

I'm going to broadcast my weekly Social Media Sweet Spot web show from the meeting, so stay tuned for more news and I hope to see all of you there on Friday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What I Want From Santa for Christmas 2010 - No. 3

Dear Santa,

I can't think of one good reason you shouldn't send me to SXSW. In fact, I can point to many reasons why *not* sending me is a bad idea:

1. The North Pole and Santa brand needs an overhaul and some cool WOM marketing tactics integrated with social media would help you out a great deal. I could boost what I already know about all of that while at SXSW. Pow! That's me. Call me...I can help.

2.  SXSW "fills the well" and would give me new ideas to ponder for the entire year and beyond. Can you imagine how many blog posts I could write about things other than what I want for Christmas?

3. Did you see the Interactive track? That's all me. I could learn from those around me how to not only do my web shows better, but how to be better at my job. That's really important.

4. I have direct influence over an almost-three-year-old in my house. Santa is big at this age...don't make this child's mother cry in envy when Mommy starts seeing all the tweets from SXSW...

So you see, Santa, I think at least this Christmas wish deserves some thought. What do you think?

Many thanks,


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Top 10 Things You Shouldn't Do At BlogWorld

1. Get in a bar fight with someone over how many Twitter followers you have
2. Open the minibar in your room after a full night of drinking
3. Agree to too many offers (over drinks) to start new blog collaborations with other people (geek version of, "I love you, man!")
4. Sleep in your makeup
5. Live on the sponsors and gift providers food and drink offerings (McCallan and Domino's pizza anyone?)
6. Just tell people to meet at the "Slushie Bar" - there are a lot of those!
7. Leave without visiting the blogger lounge
8. Spring for a new hair cut, color, and Brazilian hair treatment at the most expensive place possible
9. Order at 4 a.m. from a McDonald's where the electricity to the cash register is off and the person taking orders is doing math on a sheet of paper
10.  Spread meh

Monday, October 18, 2010

BlogWorld's Best Booth - A Taste of DIY Creativity

Attending BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010 was supposed to give me inspiration. I went to BlogWorld to "fill the well" while learning new things I might apply to my job and passion.

There will be many more posts to come once I have a chance to rehash everything in my mind, but I wanted to make sure to address the Expo Hall experience early on so I could give a company with a great outlook some attention.

One of the best booths I saw in the Expo Hall, if not the best, was not the most expensive or the one with the best giveaway ('sup McCallan! Thanks for the free whisky!). had a DIY attitude reflecting the org's idea of "Sharism" at their booth and they should have had their own session during the show to discuss this idea and application of it. In the nonprofit/association world I live and work in, the need to share and find creative ways to market is not only interesting, but imperative for survival. This outfit gets it.

Here's a clip of me talking to (Jon Phillips @rejon) about the idea of "the more you give, the more you get." (if the vid doesn't load, try this: had a small booth featuring bags and promotional t-shirts from other companies featuring the logo (a super cool design, by the way) which they screen-printed at the booth in an excellent display of practicing what they preach. There is plenty of stuff out there you can use to re-purpose as your organization's own marketing...why spend thousands of dollars when you don't have to? I like the team. You should, too.

What I Want From Santa for Christmas 2010 - No. 2

Why don't I have this yet? Oh yeah, because I'm poor and convinced the iPad 2 will have things like a webcam and USB ports...

Still, for conferences and meetings, I know I need one. Santa, what's a geek gotta do?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why You Already Love EventCamp HQ

They say they are just everyday people, like you and me.

The EventCamp Headquarters Team includes industry thought-leaders, innovative meeting planners, and knowledge-management heavyweights.

Part of a dynamic, ongoing online conversation using the hashtag, eventprofs; Christina Coster had an idea…why couldn’t a group of event professionals come together for a face to face meeting using all the talents they had for a creative learning experience similar to the social media bar camps she’d attended?

And they did it.

We’ll hear more about the history of EventCamp on Monday when I will have the chance to interview the leaders of EventCamp Headquarters for Social Media Sweet Spot Radio at 11:30 am ET. You can tune in on your computers or by dialing in and there will be a chance for the audience to ask questions. Feel free to tweet about the show using #eventprofs or #sweetspot hashtags.

Monday’s show will feature:

Christina Coster is an award winning special event and meeting planner based in New York City. She is a blogger on and is the founder of EventCamp. She's a social media enthusiast, lover of all things tech, and an avid Mets fan. You can connect with her on Twitter at @Mizcity or on LinkedIn.

[Editor’s Note: She is also someone whom others refer to as brilliant, but who doesn’t seem keen to promote herself that way…I’ll love talking with her on Monday!]

Michael M McCurry is a 30 year veteran of the meetings and events industry. McCurry is currently a Strategic Account Manager with Experient and is responsible for oversight of the relationship between Experient and numerous corporate and association clients. He has been an active member of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) since 1993 and most recently 2009 President of the Greater Midwest Chapter.

Mike has a special affinity for technology and has become a strong social media advocate and active blogger. Outside of work, he is an accomplished musician, guitarist and songwriter. When he’s not riding his Harley, he’s rooting for the Chicago Bears and Cubs.

Jessica Levin - With a background in marketing and event planning, Jessica’s dual forte is networking and netweaving. She has a reputation as the “Go To” person re: marketing, meeting planning and anything involving trends in technology. Jessica uses social networking tools to build and strengthen both personal and business relationships and teaches others how to embrace social media as a way to create both corporate and personal brands.

Jessica’s professional background includes experience in the professional services arena, association management and industrial marketing. Her strategic approach to marketing includes a mix of both traditional marketing channels and web 2.0 tactics. She focuses on creating, strengthening and maintaining relationships for business and for the people that drive them.

Jessica is the President of the New Jersey Professional Marketers Association (NJPSMG) and the social media moderator for the MeCo list. She is also a member of the Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). She was named Planner of the Year by the New Jersey chapter of MPI and is a JASPER Award winner in the special event planning category. Jessica holds the designation Certified Meeting Professional (CMP). She was named New Jersey’s 2009 Top Forty Under 40. a 2010 Planner to Watch by Convention South magazine and was inducted into the New Jersey Social Media Hall of Fame in 2010.

Jeff Hurt has worked in events/nonprofit arena for more than 20 years including Keep America Beautiful as a consultant/trainer/writer; Keep Texas Beautiful as Education Coordinator; Professional Development Manager for Meeting Professionals International; Professional Development Manager for Promotional Products Association International; and Director of Education and Events for the National Association of Dental Plans. He has also served on several board of directors for several North Texas, state and national charities and organizations. Currently he serves as Director of Education and Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting.

[Editor’s Note: He is also one of my all-time favorite bloggers with his Midcourse Corrections blog.]

Mike McAllen helps companies save time, energy, and money for Meeting Production. The focus is on educating, motivating, networking and smart budgeting. He has a passion for helping meetings and event professionals through production solutions for live events and meetings...also through the internet with his show,

McAllen has been producing events and meetings, videos, and new media for 15 years. Co-founder of Grass Shack Events and Media 8 years ago - A corporate meetings and video production company. Co-founder of and internet radio show which is in its 3rd year and more than 135 weekly shows. He is co-founder of a "wordcamp" style event put together from the Eventprofs Twitter group.

[Editor’s Note: I am still waiting for an official headshot from Mike. So far, I’ve only found shots of him with other people online, including one photo titled, “The Godfathers of Eventprofs” from]

Do you have questions you would like for me to ask this crew of EventCamp leaders? I’ll be happy to include them for you!

Date / Time: 10/4/2010 11:30 AM

Category: Business

Call-in Number: (347) 884-9582

[From NFi's Blog Today] Quick Snapshot of Must-Read Association Bloggers

Quick snapshot of Must-Read Association Bloggers

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Real Housewives of Non-Profits

It's a Sunday night. My daughter is playing with a stuffed rabbit and Barbie on my bed to my right while The Will to Govern Well sits next to me on my night stand, patiently waiting for me to open it again before going to sleep. In the background, the Real Housewives of DC is playing on the television which provides me with another example to add to my ever growing, "Bad Mommy List."

The Real Housewives of Non-Profits would play out a little differently, I think.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Recipe for a Solid Social Media Program, Association-Style

[Disclosure: This is a post telling you to attend Progress U...basically a commercial, since it is a DelCor event and I'm speaking at it. Just wanted to be up front about it...]

I'm a terrible cook. I love good food, but unless it is comfort food, I am probably not the person who should be making it. Ask my boss at DelCor and he'll say, "just keep her away from the salt" (he was able to see my awful cooking in action at a "Cooking with DelCor client event).


Even I know the secret to success is a good recipe. I am good at creating a solid social media program for associations and the secret is in THREE KEY INGREDIENTS.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday Wins

Neighbors complained about our dog barking, which we heard about from a policeman who came to our door at 9 pm.

We ordered an anti-bark collar and invisible fence last night.

GoGo can now get out of the crib on her own and wants to sleep with us.

Woke up multiple times last night from her wanting to sleep with us and trying to get her to go back to her bed.

No dice. The morning alarm was her little feet kicking my spleen.

This morning we discovered one car was broken into last night with our GPS stolen (3rd time this has happened).

I have a sore throat and I want to move. win. I'm calling in sick and resting.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

KiKi's Top Five ASAE 2010 Annual Conference Experiences

It's hard for me to begin to explain how amazing the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Annual Meeting really was. I've spent the past two hours on the plane coming back from LA with the desire to write this blog post, but not knowing where to start. The reason is I am still processing everything that happened and all of the meaningful contacts and conversations I had over the past several days.

One thing I can do is talk about a few of my favorite experiences from the conference. I'll likely go into greater detail on some of these in later posts, but here is a quick sampling.

My Top Five ASAE Conference Experiences:
  1. Celebrating joining DelCor Technology Solutions (I met the DelCor crew at #ASAE09)
  2. Recording the first Social Media Sweet Spot with a LIVE audience
  3. Dancing in the YAP Flashmob on the Expo Floor
  4. Meeting friends from Twitter and Facebook in person (and not meeting Jeff Hurt in person for the first time while wearing my metallic gold leotard!)
  5. Jumping into the Westin Bonaventure hotel fountain on the final night
I feel motivated, challenged, inspired, and will be posting more about this amazing conference in upcoming days. All I can say is it feels good to belong to a supportive community and I think that's what we should all strive to create for our associations' members, clients, vendors, and online friends. But there is room for improvement (I'll be exploring the relationship between state associations in future posts).

Note: Not on my list of great experiences at ASAE 2010? The "Guilt by Association" sitcom shared at general sessions. Great concept, but not well-received, in general (at least not by the people around me...). They liked members being involved, but thought the laugh track was just one thing that pushed it into overkill.

Do you agree or disagree?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Metallic Gold Leotard and Jeff Hurt

My mother regrets not putting me in dance class when I was a little girl. She admits that now, but for years I secretly blamed it on her for thinking I was too fat for a leotard. Actually, it wasn't a secret. She said, "Kylee [my younger sister] is just built more like a dancer" which, let's be honest, translates into, "You're just too fat to be a dancer, sweetie." I, instead, took piano lessons.

Nevertheless, nothing could stop me from embarrassing myself by putting on the record player outside (and then the tape player and then the CD player - technology progressed like mad while I was a kid) and dancing wildly on the back porch, emulating the movements of the Solid Gold dancers. I imagined a tour bus would get stranded and some famous person would stumble across me dancing in the middle of Nowhere, Missouri, and would say, "Hey...kid! You have talent! Get on the bus - I'll make you a star!"

I had that dream, the Sweet Valley Twins book series, a little sister, and a latchkey. Those were the days of Kool-Aid and Pringles.

Fast forward to this week and me receiving my shipment of dance wear in the mail. Inside the box was a metallic gold leotard, black stirrup tights, legwarmers, an off-the-shoulder midriff baring tee sporting "Dance" across the front in rainbow colors and sparkles, and a petticoat tiered black tricot skirt. Flashes of the Solid Gold dancers came into my mind as I visualized arriving at the DelCor booth (#226) for the American Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting (#ASAE10) wearing my new 80s inspired ensemble. A girl's dream realized on a 33-year-old's body. *sigh*

The theme for our booth is retro and so the plan was to dress from the 60s through 80s with a remembrance for old technology and nudge to attendees that if their technology at work looks like what we have in the booth, they may need some good advice. ;-) [DelCor provides technology consulting, so this isn't an entirely random message.]

Along with all of the excitement going on for the booth, there is an amazing amount of other fun stuff going on at ASAE10, too. For instance, I'm doing a Social Media Sweet Spot web show with my good friend and regular co-host Maddie Grant with a live audience from the conference. There will be council meetings, parties, learning sessions and a flash mob.

More importantly, there will also be a large number of people I admire and have corresponded with online whom I will have the chance to meet face-to-face for the first time ever at this meeting. Which brings me to Jeff Hurt.
This is an illustration of Jeff Hurt.
If you are not aware of who Jeff Hurt is, check it out:

  • Prolific and respected blogger 
  • Mastermind in the events industry
  • Leader of awesomeness in the association realm
  • Social Media All Around Cool Dude
  • One of my online heroes
Jeff Hurt will be at ASAE10 and I will have the chance to finally meet and talk with him in person. I'll also be meeting Garry Polamateer, Lauren Fernandez, Christine Melendes, and a whole bunch of other cool folks I like and I hope will continue to like me. Even in my gold leotard.

So you see, the past, present, and future are colliding for me at ASAE10. My friends who are knowledgeable about physics might argue that this is already the case, that the idea of linear time is a fallacy and so I need not worry. 

Then I look at my shiny gold leotard and think that even physics can't help me now.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Is That All There Is?

Professional societies and trade associations are amazing. People who aren't aware of the inner workings of these organizations miss out. Even people who are a part of the the inner workings of associations sometimes miss out. That's because while the members of an association have a clear understanding of why they belong, the people who are not members usually aren't even aware such organizations exist. If they are aware, they have no reason to let the knowledge sink in because the associations doesn't impact their lives immediately.

Members connect with other members and keep in touch with pertinent information in their industries. Sometimes they are fighting for a law that will impact their bottom line. Sometimes members are sharing technical knowledge to improve scientific understanding. Sometimes members are looking for their next job from their association.

But is that all there is?

Rather than be disillusioned with cynical ideas that some associations' members are only getting charged more and more for less and less, I prefer to focus on the positive works happening with organizations focusing on ways to give back to members and all of society. I do not believe the traditional association model is all there is.

Recent association news indicates a renewed interest in bringing association members together to help make the world a better place. More "Kumbaya" than existentialist "Is That All There Is", this post, and this post, and this post make me believe we can all help each other and ourselves by putting creative thinking and positive action together on projects focused on sharing our strengths to improve society around us. 

What do you think?  Are associations changing the way they do business?  Should philanthropy be on every organization's agenda?  Please share your thoughts!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My One New Thing for Improving My Productivity

I've heard from different sources over the years about the importance of either ending or starting the day with a list of priorities. I realized this morning that I have a tendency to turn on my computer and sort of blast away without first reviewing my priorities. How much has this influenced the way I spend my time online? I'm not sure, but after making my priority list I am realizing my work has taken on a much more efficient flow.

What are your best tips for being more productive at work?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Next Update: Installing a USB Port in My Neck and Bluetooth in My Head

When my iPhone 4 died last week, I thought a piece of me died with it. I walked around for two days without the alerts, buzzing, and special rings that had become as commonplace to me as the sound of my own heart beating...perhaps even more commonplace. I was envious when I heard other people's phones ring with familiar sounds and when I was stuck waiting in a line, I had nothing with which to occupy myself during the unexpected wait.

My iPhone has become indispensable to me. It evolved from being a sometimes useful, always entertaining novelty into my Swiss Army Knife for life. There are apps I use to countdown upcoming events, trips, and conferences; apps for tracking my time spent on projects, and regular access to all the social media tools I have come to rely upon for timely information on what is happening in my industry, circle of friends, and from thought leaders around the world. How quickly the world has changed without me even realizing it.

When I was in grade school I recall a teacher railing against the use of calculators. "Pretty soon," he said "no one will be able to do any kind of math without one!"

I was scared when he made such a grand statement, but also thankful I was around for the calculator since my forte was not in arithmetic. I was thankful for my digital watch and thankful for my time spent in the hallway playing "Oregon Trail" on one of my school's few computers. I had special privileges to use it and did on a regular basis. I quickly adapted to what seemed normal around me with only irregular outbursts from people like my teacher who predicted the downfall of intelligence based on the little machines we used to practice our multiplication and spell out "boobs" (60065) upside down.

But then my iPhone stopped working as I was driving home and suddenly I felt vulnerable. What happened if my child's daycare tried to reach me? How could I access my next appointments? How would I find the address to the next meeting? What the hell was my husband's cell phone number?!?

That's right. I don't even have my own husband's cell phone number memorized. We have been married over five years, we have a daughter, and share many responsibilities...yet, without my cell phone I have no idea how to reach him.

I love gadgets and technology and web tools and all of the nifty things you can do to use and re-use information. But was my teacher right all those years ago? Am I useless at doing things now without my SmartPhone? How quickly we adapt!

Maybe it isn't as bad as it seems...

Redeeming facts:
  • I can now donate to worthwhile causes from my phone
  • I can now book a doctor's appt for my daughter on my phone
  • I can avoid forgetting where I parked in a garage because of my phone
  • Unless we all still had rotary dials, I never had a chance of memorizing my hubby's number
  • I'm not good with numbers...period.
  • I can track what's happening at work while stuck in a line or waiting to meet someone at a restaurant.

Sometimes when it rains, I like to turn off everything and just listen to the quiet. This doesn't happen much anymore because usually I have a two-year-old running around me, but occasionally I still find these odd pockets of time in quiet. And I feel centered. I take account of where I am in life and I take a deep breath and feel really happy.

When the rain stops, the phone begins to buzz, and I come back into my usual noisy life; I realize that I don't give a damn that I need a calculator when I balance my checkbook. I don't mind taking advantage of the handy devices created to help and entertain us all. As long as my math skills are good enough for me to calculate 20% off for sales and I keep a card with my husband's number secured in my wallet (and car console, and jacket pocket, and dropbox) I will be just fine.

I just pray my iPhone doesn't fail on me again...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

LOL or Lurkers: Leverage Your Largest Online Audience

Do you want to learn how to tap into your largest online audience's potential? Would you like to see your private social network community get a second wind? This webinar will teach you to take another look at your membership. You're not alone if the vast majority of users are passive most of the time. The spectrum of activity is wide and filled with people who are contemplating action, observing the scene, browsing, searching, reading, lurking, or otherwise passively hanging out. Passive members or "lurkers" have value. KiKi will uncover to the key to turning lurkers into champion members passionate about their membership and the community.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Communicating with Chapters: The Keys to Success!

Each month the ASAE Component Relations Section Council has a discussion on a topic of interest to its members. This is an opportunity to bring new ideas to the table and get some feedback!

This Month's Topic: Communicating with Chapters: The Keys to Success!
 Date(s): Wednesday, June, 302010
Time: Noon - 1:00 pm EDT

Follow the discussion on Twitter at #CRPLunch.

This month's Guest Presenters:
  • David Lorms, CAE, President, Core Concept Solutions LLC, and
  • Kylee Coffman, Education and Membership Specialist, The Optical Society of America
Register Now:
 The dial in conference number is 1-218-936-7979; access code 189780.
Location: Virtual - Audio Only
CAE Hours: Earn up to 1 hours

Friday, June 18, 2010

Charlene Li -ping Into My Weekend (#Buzz2010 Recap)

You know what I hate? I hate when I am wrong.

I also hate when I discover that I am not as open as I think I am.

Darn that Charlene Li and her Openness Audit!

“Cultural sharing, what we feel comfortable sharing, has really changed and that has changed how we look at relationships in the workplace.” Charlene Li, author of the book, Groundswell and now Open Leadership, set the Buzz2010 series on fire with her educated and inspired musings on Wednesday, June 16, at Clyde’s in Penn Quarter during Digital Capital Week.

Buzz2010 was packed with recognizable (at least, recognizable to me) non-profit social media types. Think: Maggie McGary, Peggy Hoffman, Ray Van Hilst, Sterling Raphael, Maddie Grant and Lindy Dreyer (of course), Wendy Harman, Jamie Notter, The IFDA Social Media Mavens, and on and on...

The focus of Li’s talk was on building relationships with association members and the public, rather than on the social media tools used to communicate and engage. Hmmm...openness in association leadership? Could this be an issue? I'll let you think about that for the 2.5 seconds it takes for you to give a furious head nod, "YES!!!"

Here are the five basic takeaways (taken from Charlene Li's slides) to inspire open leadership within your organizations:
  1. Align openness with your strategic goals
  2. Calculate the new lifetime value of a “customer”
  3. Find and develop your open leaders
  4. Prepare your organization
  5. Embrace failure
The event, hosted by SocialFish and SmartBrief, is the first of a breakfast series with two more events taking place during the summer, including:
  • Managing Risk, July 20–Risk is a reality on the social web, whether you choose to engage or not. So what is your tolerance for social media risk and how do you manage it? What do you need to do as a leader to ensure that your organization is taking the proper course to manage your unique risks?
  •  Social Media ROI, August 18–With all the talk around social media, the question of ROI is the most vexing. Why should you pour your organization’s time and resources into something so unproven? And how do you make sure that the resources you do apply create business value?
Follow Buzz-related events at #Buzz2010 and register for the remaining events if you'll be in DC around that time. I will most definitely be there. Especially for Olivier Blanchard...his ROI attitude makes me happy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No Zzzzzzs for Buzz morning I'll be attending the 1st event in the Buzz2010 conference series (part of #DCWeek) by the smarties at SmartBrief and SocialFish and I need my beauty sleep. 


There is no snoozing at Buzz2010. The Buzz experience is all about quality content. If last year's Buzz is any indication, there will be no passive listening fluff in these sessions.

Also, this year I am part of Team Buzz, a cracker jack group (if I do say so, myself) of bloggers and social media types who will be reporting on Buzz2010 throughout the various events. I need to be well-rested to run with this bright crowd.

My Checklist for Tomorrow's Buzz2010 Event with Charlene Li:
  • Starbucks Via (which I first sampled at last year's Buzz, courtesy of Guy Kawasaki)
  • Groundswell and Open Leadership books for Charlene Li to sign 
  • Laptop, iPhone with cracked screen (yes, I pre-ordered the 4 today), iPad envy, Flip
  • Emergency flip flops (danced with the SocialFish the other night and still recovering)
  • UStream Producer installed and ready for action - planning a little Sweet Spot on the spot recording
  • a charger for my phone (because I've been forgetting my charger a lot lately)
 I will report from Buzz2010 tomorrow (look for hashtag #Buzz2010 on Twitter and #sweetspot posts throughout the day) but for now I need my zzzzzzzs. There is no rest tomorrow for Team Buzz.