Association Brain Food Weekly: 1.8.21

Free educational resources and events for the association management community

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

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Virtual conference closing. I still remember the final moments of a virtual conference I attended last year. The last session finished… and then nothing. The conference experience just stopped. Close tab. Inspired by Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering, WBT Systems describes how to close a conference in a meaningful way instead of ghosting your attendees.

Virtual conference pricing. At ASAE, Warren Hoffman of the Association for Jewish Studies explains how they priced their virtual annual meeting. This case study will help you make an effective argument for appropriate pricing.

Building new norms. I was going to pull out a quote from Lowell Aplebaum’s piece about the exciting possibilities for associations in building new norms in 2021, but I can’t choose. I’m sure you’ll find lots to inspire and make you think in this one.

Forget normal. Holding out for normal is a bad idea, says Mark Schaefer. As a keynote speaker and consultant, he had “to make permanent business adjustments and develop new opportunities based on the world reality that is emerging.” You and your association must do the same.

Empathy. Change and uncertainty are unsettling, which is why, WBT Systems says, it’s more important than ever to practice empathy. Data-driven empathy is especially useful for understanding the ever-evolving needs, interests and aspirations of your members, customers and colleagues.

Deep work. Don’t confuse busy work with productivity, they’re actually archenemies. Achurch Consulting explains how to build a culture of deep work for your remote staff so they’ll have the time to focus on what’s most important, not what’s easiest.

Neurodiversity. I miss Maggie McGary’s regular blogging, so you can bet I perked up when I saw a new post from her in my inbox. What a gift. I hadn’t understood neurodiversity or its role in an inclusive organization until reading her explanation. This is a must-read for everyone.

Chapter data. Billhighway says chapter performance data could put you and your chapters on the path to a rewarding relationship. Skeptical? You won’t be after reading this, it makes perfect sense.

Impact of remote work. Derek Thompson describes the possible impact of the shift to remote work on local economies, entrepreneurship and politics. He also hedges his bets with an “Or, you know, maybe not” alternative scenario for each prediction.

Quick hits before we get to the list of next week’s free education

  • 17 non-negotiable things your email newsletter needs right now. (Ann Handley)
  • CAPTCHAs don’t prove you’re human—they prove you’re American. (Terence Eden)

Good eats

Skip down to the list of free webinars if you prefer take-out. If you’re a home cook, check out the weekly In The Kitchen posts on my Grabbing the Gusto blog.

  • The highlight of our holiday feasts was creamy baked crab cannelloni on Christmas Eve—a Giada recipe. Wow wow wow. On the side, roasted broccoli with red onion and garlic.
  • On Christmas morning, I made a cheese danish. Not from scratch, heavens no, those days are long gone, for now, because this recipe calls for frozen puff pastry. Since I prepped the filling the previous afternoon, it was super easy to put together in the morning. It’s a keeper, the two of us quickly scarfed down half of it.
  • For Christmas dinner, we had shrimp fra diavolo with linguine. I was inspired by this Serious Eats recipe, except I made a broth with the shells (to use in lieu of the clam juice) instead of pan-roasting them. I added bacon and onion to the sauce, and made a panko topping inspired by this Ina recipe.
  • On the side, garlic bread, of course. You don’t really need a recipe for garlic bread but ever since I saw this NY Times version, I haven’t looked back. But I adapt it by softening the butter instead of melting it, using whatever fresh or dried herbs I have on hand (parsley, basil and/or oregano). The mozzarella cheese (fresh or regular) is a must, not optional.
  • I made the most swooningly delicious dessert in the slow cooker: sticky toffee pudding. It’s out of this world with vanilla ice cream—and will be my new Christmas tradition.
  • On New Year’s Eve, we had linguine with calamari, another keeper. On the side, chard sautéed with red onion, garlic and dried cranberries.
  • Every New Year’s Day, I make corned beef for Jim because it’s his birthday. I top the corned beef with an odd mix of ground spices and roast it for several hours in a low oven. On the side, we enjoyed this extremely cheesy potato gratin and a cabbage sauté with bacon, onion, carrot, red bell, poblano and jalapeño pepper, and garlic.

Here are the educational events scheduled for next week. If you have a free webinar or event coming up, please send me the link before Wednesday evening the week before it’s scheduled. I’ll be happy to feature it as long as it’s not too product-centric.

Fri 1/8 at 10 a.m.* – Member ROI Simplified: Safeguarding Your Organization’s Future

The most important method for safeguarding your organization’s future is to research, embrace, and maximize your Member ROI. Learn how to measure your current ROI in actual dollar numbers, use the numbers for influencing the membership decision, grow your ROI, and prove beyond a doubt that membership in your organization is a good business decision. More info/register.

Host: Ed Rigsbee, CAE, president at Rigsbee Research

*All times are Eastern Standard Time unless otherwise noted.

Fri 1/8 at 12 p.m. – Striving for Sustainable Excellence? Case Study of EAIE 2019 Conference

The EAIE Conference and Exhibition is the largest international higher education conference in Europe and the second largest in the world. In 2019, it gathered 6,200 participants in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Such a large and visible occasion provided the opportunity to showcase the close co-operation between the client (EAIE) and the hosting venue (Messukeskus Helsinki) to build a sustainable event and provide an example that inspires the meeting industry to be more sustainable. 1 CMP credit. More info/register (fee for MPI non-members).

Host: MPI

Presenter: Paula Blomster, Conference Manager, Suomen Messut Osuuskunta

Mon 1/11 at 11 a.m. – The ROI Member Recruitment Brochure: How to Create Brochures That Positively Influence Membership Decisions

Learn to determine who should be membership targets, which features of membership should be highlighted, how to develop an effective brochure layout, decision motives for joining, and how to train your members to use the brochure. More info/register.

Host: Ed Rigsbee, CAE, president at Rigsbee Research

Mon 1/11 at 1 p.m. – Chatting with Agnes & Cecilia

This series of 15- to 20-minute videos cover hot topics and issues related to 501c organization management. New episodes are posted by 1 p.m. every Monday.  Check out Cecilia’s Nonprofit Executive Spotlight series too.


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

Tue 1/12 at 11 a.m. – Sponsors in the Spotlight (Coffee & Connections)

Hear about new opportunities for virtual sponsorship benefits, examples of year-round sponsorship engagement that’s not dependent on your annual conference, transitioning benefits from in-person sponsorships in a new environment, ensuring your association stands out among the competition for sponsor support, and gaining staff and board buy-in for new sponsorship programs. More info/register.

Host: Map Dynamics


  • Bruce Rosenthal, Bruce Rosenthal Associates
  • Alexis Simoneau, CAE, Map Dynamics

Tue 1/12 at 1 p.m. – 2021 Association Survey Results with ReviewMyAMS

Get an in-depth, sneak preview of the yet-to-be released 2021 Association Trends Survey findings. See what 400 membership pros said about trends impacting their organizations, including top non-dues revenue sources, the shift to virtual events, the #1 job challenge, and COVID’s impact on member engagement. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: GrowthZone


  • Teri Carden, founder, ReviewMyAMS
  • Amy Gitchell, Marketing Specialist, GrowthZone AMS

Wed 1/13 at 11 a.m. – Understanding Search & Why Your Organization’s Future Relies on It

For associations, a great search experience is critical because of the amount of content that they have, usually across multiple websites and web platforms. This session will focus on all aspects of search including off-site search (SEO and Google searching), on-site search (federated searching of all of your organization’s web platforms), reputation management, and paid search. 1.5 CAE credits. More info/register.

Host: U.S. Transactions Corp.


  • Jake Toohey, Senior Digital Consultant at Adage Technologies
  • Joe Post, Vice President Strategy & Experience Design at Adage Technologies
  • Eric Matthias, Senior Director of Application Development at the American Academy of Pediatrics

Wed 1/13 at 11 a.m. – The First 100 Days—What to Expect

Hear about current and potential policy that can impact your organization in 2021, key legislative and regulatory priorities for the 117th Congress as well as the Biden-Harris team, initiatives or regulations that will be continued or reversed from the Trump administration, pitfalls, and where government affairs teams should prioritize their efforts. More info/register.

Host: FiscalNote


  • David Thomas, Partner, Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas
  • Nicole Venable, Principal, Invariant
  • Kevin O’Neill, Chair of Legislative Practice Group, Arnold & Porter

Wed 1/13 at 11 a.m. – The ROI of Words: How to Write Website Copy That Will Drive Member Renewal and Recruitment

You can no longer depend on interns or web designers to write your member value copy for influencing renewals and retention. They do pretty, you must do effective. Learn how to write the kind of benefit (or what’s in it for me) copy that will influence the decision to join or renew. More info/register.

Host: Ed Rigsbee, CAE, president at Rigsbee Research

Wed 1/13 at 12:30 p.m. – New Year, New You: Reframe Your Personal Style for a Virtual World

Join us for a conversation with three experts – a personal stylist, video image consultant, and career coach – who will share their insights on how to fashion an authentic look and video frame that can transform your virtual world into valuable relationships. More info/register.

Host: Association Chat


  • Allison Hamilton-Rohe Personal Style Coach, DailyOutfit
  • KiKi L’Italien, Video Image Consultant, Amplified Growth, and senior consultant, Tecker International, LLC
  • Shira Lotzar, Career Coach and Recruiter, Purposeful Hire

Wed 1/13 at 12:30 p.m. – The Future of Association Events

Learn the dos and don’ts of virtual events from five peer association examples. Hear about monetization strategies, session management, and how to create more long-term value from a limited budget. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Hosts: Association TV® (by WorkerBee.TV, Inc.)

Wed 1/13 at 1 p.m. – Tax Implications of the Cares Act and the Newly Signed Stimulus Bill

The CARES Act is the largest economic relief bill in US history, allocating $3 trillion to support individuals and businesses through the pandemic and economic downturn.  In December, another stimulus bill was signed into law which expanded the scope of the CARES Act. Learn about the tax implications of provisions of the CARES Act, FFCRA, and the stimulus bill and in particular how it will impact your organization in 2020, 2021 and beyond. 1.5 CAE credits. More info/register.

Host: U.S. Transactions Corp.


  • Jennifer Eubanks, CPA, CGMA, CMA
  • James (Jim) Niblock, JD, CPA
  • Sheetal Sood, CPA, MSACC, MBA

Wed 1/13 at 1 p.m. – #ExpoChat on Twitter

ExpoChat is a Twitter-based conversation on topics related to the trade show industry. More info.

Wed 1/13 at 2 p.m. – Meeting the Technology Demands of Your Members in 2021

Association leaders have expressed feeling very behind when it comes to providing the right technology for their communities, even in pre-pandemic days. COVID-19 has only widened that gap. Explore what taking on a modern mobile strategy can look like in 2021. Through client examples and case studies, we’ll look at the engagement successes an on-hand, all-encompassing app can bring about after a year of many challenges. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: Clowder

Presenter: Clowder’s Director of Sales Billy Barnes

Wed 1/13 at 2 p.m. – Small and Simple Meetings: Revealing the Hidden Complexity in Your Event Program

Even the smallest meetings have their own unique set of challenges, but for most organizations, these events are handled by non-professional planners. During our recovery path from the global pandemic, these events will be more common. Learn how small meetings can mean big financial risks, and the complexity of attendee safety and security. More info/register.

Host: Cvent

Presenter: Allison Hamil, Senior Director, Professional Services, Cvent

Wed 1/13 at 3 p.m. – The Road Ahead: State of the Event Industry 2021

Hear what planners should be thinking about now and for the months to come. This discussion will cover why venue ventilation is more important than Hygiene Theater, balancing attendees’ psychological comfort with liability concerns to determine risk, how to think about the return to in-person events as “reverse hybrid planning,” and why 2021 will be the year of user experience when it comes to virtual. Get insights into how the world will look like in the year ahead, how COVID may change social behavior, and how anticipated trends will impact the events industry. More info/register.

Host: Event Leadership Institute


  • Howard Givner, Founder and CEO, Event Leadership Institute
  • Kevin White, CSEP, Founder & Chief Strategist, XPL
  • Brandt Krueger, Technical Producer, Event Technology Consulting

Thu 1/14 at 10 a.m. – What’s Working Now: Designing Your Website RFP

Redesigning your website and choosing the best CMS for your association’s needs can be daunting – and so can the RFP process for choosing the right website partner. Join your association peers for an interactive discussion around designing your website RFP for success. We’ll review the steps for creating your RFP, focusing your list of potential partners, and selecting the best fit to ensure your success. More info/register.

Host: Results Direct

Presenter: Alexandra Mouw, CAE, Principal Digital Strategist, Results Direct

Thu 1/14 at 1 p.m. – LMS Selection: Mastering the Process, Avoiding the Pitfalls

The right LMS can mean the difference between a big success and a big headache, but the selection process can be daunting. In this session, we’ll discuss our time-tested process for selecting a learning management system and highlight the pitfalls to avoid. Attendees will leave the session with a clear understanding of how to lead their organization in choosing the right learning technology. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Hosts/presenters: Celisa Steele and Jeff Cobb, co-founders of Leading Learning and Tagoras

Thu 1/14 at 2 p.m. – Leading with Your Strengths

While the world can seem obsessed with fixing what’s broken with people, if you invest your energy into building on your natural talents (and your team’s natural talents), your productivity and engagement will see a boost. More info/register.

Host: KiKi L’Italien, senior consultant, Tecker International, LLC

Guest: Shaara Roman, Founder and CEO, The Silverene Group

Tue 1/19 at 3 p.m. – From Systems of Record to Systems of Action

Do you struggle to make member data central to your decision-making process as an organization? Hear how technology can help you use your member data to drive strategy at your organization. Our speakers will explore their data philosophies and help inspire you to improve how you use member data in 2021. More info/register.



  • Reggie Henry, Chief Information and Engagement Officer at ASAE
  • David DeLorenzo, COO at Association Analytics
  • Jeff Horne, CEO at Wicket

Thu 1/21 at 12 p.m. – Advancing (and Adapting) Innovation Amid Uncertainty – A CEO Dialogue

Strategic plans set, new ideas ready to pilot, business objectives mapped—and then the pandemic hit. Unsure of the impact of such an unprecedented event, you assessed, pivoted and forged ahead—but to what extent? What ideas were forced to the backburner, and when will they reemerge? What new objectives have emerged? How do you advance, and adapt, innovation efforts amid this era of uncertainty? Hear how recent ASAE innovation grant recipients advanced and adapted their plans to sustain their commitment to innovation, and how the pandemic impacted steps taken and decisions made. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: ASAE


  • Michelle Mason (moderator), FASAE, CAE, president and CEO, Association Forum, Founding Member, ASAE Innovation Grants Program (IGP)
  • Kate Dockins, CAE, IOM, senior vice president/member experiences, executive director, foundation, Institute of Food Technologists
  • Lynette Sappe-Watkins, CFRE, executive director, PA Foundation
  • Michelle Siekerka, Esq, president & CEO, New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJIBIA)

Thu 1/21 at 1 p.m. – Digital Training: 6 Dimensions of Transformation

The realities of 2020 forced organizations to digitally transform their training and certification businesses overnight. Some were more successful than others. How did the best move forward at high speed while improving quality and building a solid foundation for the post-COVID future? Learn how each of these interdependent elements plays an integral role in the successful transformation process: business realities and objectives, strategy issues and opportunities, content priorities, technology infrastructure, people and culture, and promotion roadmap. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: Talented Learning


  • John Leh, CEO & Lead Analyst at Talented Learning
  • Ashish Rangnekar, CEO at BenchPrep

Thu 1/21 at 1 p.m. – Facilit8Me Community of Practice

Join us for our open community of practice dialogue! We ask participants to bring with them any facilitation challenges (past, present or future) they’d like to discuss as a group for supportive feedback, debrief and evaluation. No challenge is too big or small. We leverage the collective wisdom and experience of the group to brainstorm possible solutions, advice and recommendations in a safe and growth-minded environment. More info/register.

Host: Event Garde

Thu 1/21 at 2 p.m. – Content Curation 101: Creating Meaningful Member Relationships

Explore how to keep your members engaged with relevant, personalized content. Through the power of artificial intelligence, a different newsletter could be effortlessly created and sent to each individual based on their unique reading habits. Learn the tools, methods, and best practices for curating outside news sources in order to deliver personalized, automated news that your reader is interested in reading. Find out how expert-level curation will help you to always stay top of mind amongst your members. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: ASAE

Presenter: Erica Salm Rench,

Thu 1/21 at 4 p.m. – Taking Your Event Virtual: Lessons Learned from the 2020 RV Dealers Convention/Expo

When the RV Dealers Association pulled the plug on the association’s major annual event in August, the staff had to shift its planning from a week-long meeting in Las Vegas to a two-week virtual convention/expo. Hear about lessons learned re attendee engagement, “right-sizing” educational offerings to fit the audience, providing value to exhibitors and sponsors, budgeting, finding the right partners to hold and promote a virtual event, and virtual meeting metrics. 1 CAE credit. More info/register.

Host: ASAE Reston-Loudoun Idea Swap


  • Phil Ingrassia, President of the RV Dealers Association (RVDA)
  • Karin VanDuyse, Karin has a account Chief, RV Learning Center, RVDA

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 Wednesday evening.

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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.

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