Monday, May 24, 2010

Everyone Needs a Savvy Redhead in their Arsenal

My first job working for an association was a whirlwind of learning, confusion, and opportunity. That first year I was introduced to a director who would become a lifelong friend (the newlywed, Ginny Hussong), membership at ASAE (my professional home), and the wild, wild world of association chapter management.

My task was to build a chapter program from the ground up and thanks to the advice of my dear friend (and new boss at the time), Ginny, I found great pearls of wisdom on the ASAE Component Relations listserv and by following the advice of one Cynthia D'Amour.

Cynthia D'Amour is not only one of the most creative personalities you will ever meet, but she lives and breathes chapter relations and leadership development. She is a supportive and knowledgeable soul and is widely recognized for her abilities as well as her vibrant red hair. Cynthia actually wrote the book on component relations (actually, she has written several books on leadership and component relations) and is an avid supporter of the chapter professional community online and everywhere she goes.

Her advice helped me build a chapter program from the ground up in my early association days and this Wednesday (May 26, 2010) she will share her expertise on a free conference call, "Helping Struggling Components Succeed."

You can read more about Cynthia on her blog at, but if you are in any way interested in leadership of groups or chapter-relations, definitely register for the call on Wednesday. You won't be sorry! 

Register here:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hurt So Good: I Need to Be a Better Team Player

Whine, whine, whine. That's what I feel like doing. But I can't because I'm the problem.

Okay, so you see, this is how it works...I try really hard to do a good job with most things. But, recently I received word from someone that I didn't do this one thing so well. In fact, she felt confused, uncomfortable, even lied to. Not good.

I had a few excuses already popping into my head for why things didn't turn out better. My natural inclination is to find excuses or get defensive. But I didn't want to do that because at the end of the day, I knew I could have and should have done better.

How could I have let this happen? At some level I was afraid of showing my ignorance, I'm sure. But it was more than was not accepting true ownership over a project that I was sharing with someone else. And, to some extent, not being a good team player.

Have you ever done that? Been co-presenting with someone and left something to the last minute? Or worked on a project that someone else leads, and you kind of falter along barely scraping by with your support work?

Communication is so important. I am great at it in so many areas in my life, but when it comes to establishing boundaries with some projects, I am often afraid of "stepping on toes" or "being a drag" on someone else. Therefore, I am not jumping at the chance to ask for more help or to taking control of projects that need me to provide guidance.

This is a confessional sort of post. Therapeutic. I would love to hear if any of you face these same situations. Do you find it hard to establish your place in a team project when you are not the leader? I like being in charge of a well-defined project, but have always (even all the way back in grade school science projects) done better when working alone.

Ironically, I never necessarily saw myself as a leader. I imagined myself in that position, but never thought I had the charisma to pull it off. Now, charisma is the least of my concerns...I just want to be a valuable team player and never let someone down again like I did today.

How can I prevent this from happening again?
  1. Being clear about the status of what I am working on
  2. Not shying away from difficult situations/conversations
  3. Admitting when I disagree with the way something is happening
  4. Just doing the boring backup stuff
  5. Communicating to the point of annoyance
Do any of you have additional tips to add?

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Tassels can provide the finishing touch on furniture or drapes. They can also help you distinguish your alpaca from someone else's in Peru. Are tassels essential? No. But they are fun, entertaining, and helpful should you need to grab the right alpaca in a quick getaway.

Why are you looking at me with that smirk on your face? Was it something I said? Do you know where your organization's tassels are?

I remember discovering one organization's tassels buried on their website. Three, maybe four, steps into their content, there it was...a blog with (gasp!) activity - a real conversation had been taking place - and then I saw there were no new posts in the past three months. When I asked about the forgotten blog, the marketing director told me the chair had changed and the new chair wasn't interested in things like blogs. So, the once shiny new toy was placed to the side and buried.

I asked the marketing director why they hadn't asked another leader to take it on and he told me they hadn't considered it. After a little more discussion, we changed subjects and went on to discuss other things.

A few months later, I visited their website and saw a rejuvenated website...and a revival of their blog with a snappy button for people to subscribe if they so chose. Apparently, they had discovered a new leader to write for their blog and were proudly sharing it with their members! They hadn't invented an entirely new concept. They hadn't even created a new communication method. They just gave something another look and added the sparkle back to it. Energy in - energy out. *Jazz hands*

So, what do you say, are you ready to swing your tassels? I'll bet your members are.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Social Media Events I’m Interested In (Mostly in DC Area - some elsewhere)

2nd Tuesdays Tech ‘tails and Networking Salon  May 11, 5:30pm at Gua Rapo, Arlington, dc The Capital Cabal presents 2nd Tuesday, a special networking event for all D.C. area techies, webbies, quasi-webbies, and smart business people who appreciate a smart crowd. <--probably going to this!
Mak­ing Your Media Matter May 12 Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Mak­ing Your Media Mat­ter is a con­fer­ence for estab­lished and aspir­ing film­mak­ers, non­profit com­mu­ni­ca­tions lead­ers, fun­ders and stu­dents look­ing to learn and share cutting-edge prac­tices for mak­ing their media matter.
Win­ning Media Strategies May 20–22 Wash­ing­ton, D.C. BIA/Kelsey’s annual con­fer­ence focused on the lat­est devel­op­ments and trends for enhanc­ing the tra­di­tional media busi­ness and cre­at­ing the pro­gres­sive change tele­vi­sion, radio, cable and news­pa­per com­pa­nies must make to ensure long-term success.
Con­fer­ence on Weblogs and Social Media May 23–26 Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The 4th Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Weblogs and Social Media brings together researchers from dis­parate dis­ci­plines to increase our under­stand­ing of social media in all its incar­na­tions. This event will be held in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., where gov­ern­ment inno­va­tors are exper­i­ment­ing with the use of social media to increase trans­parency and bet­ter engage with the citizenry.
Gov 2.0 Expo May 25–27 Wash­ing­ton, D.C. Gov­ern­ment 2.0 is about empow­er­ing gov­ern­ment employ­ees to serve cit­i­zens bet­ter and open­ing up the gov­ern­ment into a plat­form that enables cit­i­zens to bet­ter help their communities.
TWTRCON NY June 14 New York TWTRCON NY is a one-day con­fer­ence focused entirely on the busi­ness use of Twit­ter where you’ll see case stud­ies and learn best prac­tices from lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions that are using the real-time Web to deliver bottom-line results.
Gnomedex Aug. 19–21 Seat­tle Gnomedex is a top gath­er­ing of geeks, open source pio­neers and cool kids.
Inbound Mar­ket­ing Sum­mit — Boston Oct. 6–7 Boston Chris Bro­gan presents the third in a series of social influ­ence mar­ket­ing con­fer­ences for 2010.
Online News Association Oct. 28–30 Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The 10th annual gath­er­ing of new media movers and shak­ers, jour­nal­ists and online news managers.
LeWeb Dec. Paris LeWeb is the top Inter­net event in Europe, with 2,400 par­tic­i­pants from 50 coun­tries attend­ing in 2009. No date yet for the 2010 event.