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The Association Adviser Podcast
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The Association Adviser Podcast

Author: Association Adviser

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Delivering best practices, news and leadership strategies for association professionals.

Episodes are published monthly.

Interested in being a guest? Don't want to be a guest, but want to hear about a certain topic? Email us at!
21 Episodes
Association Adviser welcomes Tamsen Webster of The Red Thread® to this episode! Tamsen helps organizations to help people find, build, and tell stories of their ideas. She combined 20 years in brand and message strategy with four years as a TEDx Executive Producer to create The Red Thread™, a simple way to change how people see and what they do as a result.The Red Thread™ is the connection between a question and the answer. It's how you get others to care about your association's story. This could mean how you get members to join, and how you want them to engage with your association once they've joined. Weaving your Red Thread is about doing the work to know where your members are, to build THEIR case for joining and staying involved, and for creating a sense of pride in being a member of your association and industry.Tamsen taught us that people want to believe they're smart, capable, and good. You'll want to listen to how she explains "letting others have your way" when it comes to disagreements and opposing viewpoints.Learn more about The Red Thread at Find her free Red Thread assessment for your association here: in advertising on this podcast or within another Association Adviser publication? Browse our media kit.
We talk with Jen Capstraw, strategist and email geek, about today’s email capabilities and how anyone can be a proficient email marketer if they take advantage of the tools available to them.Links:Women of Email: Find them on Facebook and at the Women of Email website.Email Geeks Slack ChatEmail and Cross-Channel Testing: You're Doin' It Wrong (webinar referenced during the episode)Learn more about Iterable.Advertise with Association Adviser!
Join Sarah Sain, Naylor's director of content, member communications, as she explains the results from the 2019 Association Communications Benchmarking Report. this is the 8th year of the survey and resulting report, and we're starting to see a shift in association communication priorities. Sarah discusses which communication challenges are vexing associations the most, which publication types are holding strong, and why having clean member data is the responsibility of everyone on an association staff. Want to download the report for yourself? Find it at to take the survey? It's open year-round! Association professionals who complete at least 50% of the survey unlock access to a custom communications report card. See where your association's strengths lie compared to industry best practices, and know which areas of your communication practices could use some improvement. Compare your performance to similar-sized associations, and if you've taken this survey over multiple years, compare your progress! Find the survey and your custom report card at to our sponsor Naylor Association Solutions for supporting this podcast!
What is Machine Learning?

What is Machine Learning?


We speak with Chris Knoch of Big Squid, a company that produces automated machine learning platform for business insights. Chris explains what machine learning and artificial intelligence are, and how associations can use machine learning to better position themselves for success.Plus, he discusses how associations can use data they already have, such as membership renewal or event registration data, to predict how successful their recruitment or event marketing efforts will be in the future. It's a great conversation, especially if you're interested in machine learning but haven't had the time to dive further into how you could apply it to your operations.Thanks to Chris for joining us! Want to share your message with the Association Adviser community? Advertise on this podcast!  Association professionals will hear about your business and your solutions as they listen for in-depth features about what’s happening now - and next – in the association community. Your business belongs in this community, too. Go to for more info.   Want to be a guest on our podcast? Drop us an email at with your topic ideas! Want to stay behind the scenes, but have a concept you want to know more about? We're always accepting episode ideas at the email address above.  
We spoke with Kevin Daley, director of government affairs for Naylor Association Solutions, and Dr. Madelaine Feldman, president of the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations. CSRO advocates for access to the highest quality medical care for rheumatic disease patients with autoimmune inflammatory and degenerative diseases. They provide a network for state societies to exchange information regarding issues surrounding high quality care to Rheumatic disease patients, and collaborate with patient organizations, national and international societies and others whenever possible and appropriate in order to achieve better policies and care for rheumatic patients and their families.Dr. Feldman is passionate about her work both as a doctor and as an advocate for patient access to the right medicines, streamlined healthcare processes, and fair policies for all patients. We loved talking with her about her experiences educating patients about their rights, speaking on Capitol Hill, and facing opposition. If your association is wondering how to get into advocacy activities to enact change in your industry, this is definitely an episode you will want to hear.Kevin Daley is the Director of Government Affairs at Naylor, where he tracks and analyzes state and federal legislation and regulation of impact to clients.  His insight into the legislative process and how associations can become involved, is valuable for anyone wanting to learn more about association advocacy.
We recently caught up with Courtney Ross and Tirza Austin of the American Society of Civil Engineers to talk about the variety of career resources ASCE offers through its online career center, called Career Connections. Started in 2003, Career Connections has grown strategically and organically into a multi-faceted resource that includes a job board, education hub, salary surveys, and information about career paths in engineering.But their career center is more than an information hub. Through initiatives like their Mentor Match mentoring program and a comprehensive directory to local ASCE branches and sections, the pair is working hard to encourage members to network offline and get involved in association-sponsored activities that can truly change their career paths. Tirza and Courtney share how they're overcoming the perception that Mentor Match is an engineering version of, and how they're letting each bit of feedback about ASCE's career resources guide their decisions about what to do next. If you're involved in your association's professional development or career resource programming, this episode is full of information and mini case-studies you'll definitely want to hear.Want to share your message with the Association Adviser community? Advertise on this podcast!  Association professionals will hear about your business and your solutions as they listen for in-depth features about what’s happening now - and next – in the association community. Your business belongs in this community, too. Go to for more info. 
Kelly and Kaydee speak with Liz Kovach and Jessica Cranmer of the Western Retail Lumber Association about the work they and their staff are doing to modernize WRLA's events, industry talent pipeline, and government relations. WRLA began in 1890 as an organization to facilitate the success of the building industry. Today, it represents 2,400 member businesses and 262,000 Canadians employed in building material-related industries. Liz and Jessica talk about updating WRLA's Buying Show with an educational track (it never had one until last year!), their partnership with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to show students that working lumber industry doesn't mean you become a lumberjack, and their plan to regroup with related associations and create a strategy for advocating for the lumber industry at the federal level. It's a great conversation to hear if your association is considering becoming more involved in government relations.Thanks to Liz and Jessica for joining us! And thanks to our sponsor, Naylor Association Solutions.
The Leading Edge of Change

The Leading Edge of Change


We’re happy to welcome back Sharon Newport, Executive Director for the Door Security & Safety Foundation and Director of Operations for the Door and Hardware Institute for today’s episode. Sharon continues our conversation about association leadership and how great leaders are nurtured within organizations that make leadership training and knowledge transfer part of their organizational culture. “Leading” associations are firmly grounded in their mission, and while they might adopt some of the latest leadership or staff development trends - they stay firmly grounded in their WHY so they don’t lose sight of the leadership or succession goals they’re striving for. We talk about transferring leadership and organizational knowledge across roles and generations, why it's important that leaders accept failure, and the difference between mentorship and sponsorship. We’re so glad Sharon could make time to share what she’s learning about leadership with us!Check out the Door Security & Safety Foundation at Thanks to Naylor Association Solutions for sponsoring this episode.
Updating your association's brand can seem like a gargantuan task, but it doesn't have to be impossibly difficult. Josh Spradling, CAE, and Steven Stout, CAE, both of the Texas Society of Association Executives, share the process of their organization's recent brand refresh. They detail how the impetus for an update began with their board leadership, how they involved an outside research firm to learn where their reputation stood and how to move it into the next decade, and how they formed a task force intentionally made up of people with different perspectives and experiences with TSAE so that everyone the association reaches could contribute to the new brand. "Better together" is TSAE's new tagline from the refresh process, and we think you'll agree that "together" is how a vibrant, impactful association brand like TSAE's is made. Listen for Josh and Steven's two most important pieces of advice when it comes to refreshing your association brand and how to ensure a positive reception from your members upon revealing a new association look. Check out TSAE's updated brand at!Thanks to our podcast sponsor, Naylor Association Solutions. Learn how your association can achieve more non-dues revenue and greater member engagement at to be a guest on our podcast? Drop us an email at with your topic ideas! Want to stay behind the scenes, but have a concept you want to know more about? We're always accepting episode ideas at the email address above.Thanks for listening!
Changes in your work and team are inevitable, but they don't have to be difficult. Sharon Newport, director of operations at DHI - Door Security & Safety Professionals, shares about leading through the lens of change, and the benefits to using the power of change leadership to mold your association's culture and programming. She details how leading with curiosity can help you explore the hidden strengths and great ideas of your team while improving your leadership skills. Sharon was once a documentary writer, producer, and actress, and has found many parallels between the structure of the media community and the association community, which she says is the tribe she never knew she needed. We think you’ll love her insights into the power of change leadership.
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