Association Brain Food Weekly: 12.20.19

Free professional development resources and events for CAEs, association staff and others in the association community

The weekly list of free educational events and resources for the association community…

Free professional development resources and events for CAEs, association staff and others in the association community

Your plans for the holiday season are probably like mine: feast. We’re the lucky ones. Many of your neighbors, including children and seniors, won’t have enough to eat during the holiday season. ‘Tis the season to support your local food bank—you can find yours on this map from Feeding America (where you can also search by zip code).

Your food bank might have a holiday match going on so your donation goes a lot further right now. If you’re in North Carolina, please consider supporting the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Through December 31, your gift will be matched so every $10 provides ten nutritious meals. Thanks for considering this gift. Now, on to the show…

Here’s your 2020 mantra: stop being so productive! WBT Systems explains why shallow work (busywork) takes up way too much of our time instead of deep work that taps into our real brainpower and creates value.

Worlds colliding! I love Alison Roman so imagine my delight when I see Samantha Whitehorne writing at Associations Now about meeting planning lessons based on Roman’s recent cookbook, Nothing Fancy. Seriously this woman, Alison (not Samantha, sorry), should have her own cooking show—see what I mean.

Number 3 (yes, I’m counting) in Billhighway’s series on chapters in crisis is all about managing and preventing federal and state compliance issues at your chapters. If you read Collaborate, you’ve seen stories about this kind of thing.

Some people make the decision not to join your association because they don’t think they have time to enjoy the benefits, says Amanda Kaiser. Makes sense, doesn’t it, so how can you persuade them otherwise?

Do you know about the horrific impact some of the new gig worker laws will have on freelance writers, journalists and other professions? The American Society of Journalists and Authors is suing California to protect the rights of freelancers there, thank goodness. New York and New Jersey are proposing similar laws—speak up if you live there. If this law ever comes to North Carolina, I am screwed. Yeah, it’s that bad, going out of business bad. On behalf of my fellow freelance writers, speak up if you live in CA, NY or NJ, please.

Quick hits before we get to the this week’s little list:

  • This worksheet helped one association trim its website copy by 95%. (Chelsea Brasted, Association Success)
  • 5 ways to sustain association membership. (Simma Lieberman, MultiBriefs)
  • ‘Tis the season to say “’Tis the season”—and learn why we sing “Fa la la la la, la la la la.” (Merriam-Webster)

Good eats—skip ahead, please, if you’re not into cooking, I understand:

  • What a pleasant surprise this one was: spicy chocolate milk-simmered chicken from Food52. It may sound odd but it was delicious. I used boneless, skinless thighs and chopped the jalapeño. In my opinion, the dish went from good to great because I added chipotle en adobo. Chocolate and smoky chile? Yes, please!
  • I saw this recipe before Thanksgiving and it stuck in my head: just-like-Thanksgiving turkey meatloaf from Taste of Home. I’m telling you, while it was cooking, my house smelled like Thanksgiving. Having the leftovers tonight (as I write this), yay! It took longer to get to temp then the recipe suggested but it was still incredibly moist.
  • To glaze the meatloaf, I made an old stand-by, cranberry ginger chutney from Saveur. I only needed 1/2 cup for the meatloaf so I have plenty to serve alongside other dishes in the coming week or so—and I can always freeze what I don’t need. I use maple syrup instead of honey, omit the white sugar, add orange zest and usually grate too much ginger but add it all anyways.
  • And I wonder why I never lose weight… I had some Velveeta cheese lurking in the frig from way back. It smelled and looked just fine so (after Googling) I decided to use it in this crock pot mac and cheese recipe from Cleverly Simple. I zhuzhed it up by adding sautéed ham, onion and garlic chives. Oh my. It firms up like concrete when it’s cold but boy oh boy have we been enjoying this, especially with the addition of pickled jalapeños.

Now that we’re entering full-on holiday mode, next week’s list is a tiny but mighty one.

Mon 12/23 at 1 p.m. – Mission/Vision/Values: Chatting with Agnes & Cecilia

This series of 15-minute videos cover hot topics and issues related to 501c organization management. A new episode is posted every Monday by 1 p.m. More info.

Host: Rogue Tulips LLC


  • Agnes Amos-Coleman, MBA, CMP, education, conference, event, certification consultant, Amos-Coleman
  • Cecilia Sepp, CAE, CNAP, principal and founder, Rogue Tulips LLC

Tue 12/24 at 2 p.m. – Association Chat on Zoom

Everyone else might be taking time off but KiKi is hosting an Association Chat on Zoom. If I’m not up to my elbows in dinner prep, I’ll be there. And, since ‘tis the season for giving. Consider supporting her Patreon too. More info.

Host: KiKi L’Italien, founder, Amplified Growth

Tue 12/31 at 2 p.m. – Association Chat on Twitter (#assnchat)

The original #assnchat Twitter chat is back. Join an online tweet chat with fellow association professionals by following the #assnchat hashtag on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. More info.

Host: KiKi L’Italien, founder, Amplified Growth

As a holiday bonus, here are some of the resources I rely upon for professional development.

Holiday break reading

In addition to the blogs mentioned above—Associations Now, Association Success, Billhighway, MultiBriefs, Smooth the Path (Amanda Kaiser), and TopClass LMS by WBT Systems—I regularly check out these sites.

Association Universe – an aggregator of association management blogs

DelCor Technology Solutions – a team of smarty pants and I say that in the nicest way possible

Leading Learning – curated links from Tagoras aka Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele

MemberSuite – AMS provider who’s taught me a lot lately about AMS architecture, yeah, go ahead, call me a geek

Velvet Chainsaw – good reads on conferences and education from Dave Lutz and his team

Wes’s Wednesday Wisdom – from Wes Trochlil at Effective Database Management

#assnchat on Twitter – lots of goodies in there

ASAE Collaborate – daily digests from many communities, for ASAE members only

Nuzzel – top stories from the people you follow on Twitter

I read much more since I read for a living—writers have to read if we want to solve problems—and I’m sure I’m missing something, although Twitter and Association Universe cover a lot of ground.

What else do I read? Lordy, the list is long and I’m too lazy to embed all the links, sorry. Here’s what I see right now in my inbox: Fast Company, The Aspen Institute, Scott Monty, HubSpot, The Broadsheet, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Conversation, The Week, The Download from MIT Technology Review, Knowledge@Wharton, Quartz Daily Brief, 1440 Daily Digest, Axios, Seth Godin, Next Draft, digitalNow, Innovation Excellence, Exponential View, Harvard Business Review, CB Insights, Wired, Benedict Evans, Read This Thing, Christopher S. Penn… phew.

I’m not including my food, books, writing and arts resources because that would take all day.

Holiday break listening

I don’t always listen to these podcasts as often as I’d like because I tend to prioritize my food and book podcasts. But every time I do push one of these to the top of my listening list, I ask myself, “Why don’t I listen to this more often?”

Leading Learning from Jeff Cobb and Celisa Steele at Tagoras

Reboot IT from Dave Coriale at DelCor Technology Solutions

Association Chat from KiKi L’Italien at Tecker International (yes, new role!)

The Talented Learning Show from John Leh at Talented Learning

The Association Adviser from Naylor Association Solutions

Does your organization host an association management-related podcast? Please let us all know in the comments below.

That’s it. Brain Food will return on January 3, 2020.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!

Association Brain Food Weekly is published Friday mornings. If your organization offers free professional development for the association community, please send me the link via email or Twitter before Thursday afternoon.

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Author: deirdrereid

Deirdre is a freelance writer for companies serving the association market, who after more than 20 years in the association and restaurant industries, is enjoying the good life as a ghostblogger and content marketing writer. Away from her laptop, you can find her walking in the woods, doing yoga, going to shows, journaling, cooking, or relaxing in a comfy chair with a good book and a glass of something tasty in hand.

One thought on “Association Brain Food Weekly: 12.20.19”

  1. Hi Deirdre,
    Just wanted to stop by and wish you a very happy holiday season. Thanks for your weekly updates, reads, recipes and laughs!
    Hope you enjoy your time off with family and friends.

    Cynthia De Jesus, Solutions Advisor
    703.828.8680 x53 office

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