7 Tips for Staying Connected When You're Running Out of  Ideas and Still Social Distancing

By Erica Berg and Megan Toal

Connecting with your staff is always important, but during uncertain times where your team is remote or social distancing, it’s even more crucial to keep your staff engaged, connected, and, in turn, happy. We have been working remotely for 3 months now and  know it can be challenging to come up with creative ideas. Here are our 7 tips for keeping staff connected when you feel like you’ve used up your best ideas:

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A DES Guide for Adding a Virtual Component to your Conference

By Darlene Somers, CMP DES

With COVID-19 infection rates decreasing in some areas and increasing in others, the AMC Meetings team is busy planning client conferences with four different contingency options in place: a regular face-to-face (F2F) meeting, a hybrid meeting, an all-virtual meeting, and a potentially cancelled meeting. Adding a virtual component to an existing face-to-face (F2F) meeting or converting your F2F meeting to a completely virtual one has never been a hotter topic of conversation in the meetings and events industry. But before you rush off and start talking to digital platform vendors, take a moment to think about WHY you are adding that virtual component.
Such virtual components include hybrid meetings and virtual meetings:

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Is a Virtual Conference Right for Your Audience?

By Stephanie Adams

5 Insights from AMC’s Education SIG

Members of AMC’s education special interest group (SIG) have been at the forefront of transitioning in-person educational conferences to virtual events for our clients in response to COVID-19. With so many unknowns around the ability to meet in person in the fall and beyond, many AMC clients are already looking ahead to 2021 and considering fully virtual events or hybrid in-person/virtual events. Before you make the leap into hosting a virtual educational event, there are a few aspects that you need to consider first. As we’ve gone through the process with several of our clients, we’ve identified five considerations to keep in mind to ensure a successful virtual educational event.

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Redefining the Corporate Partner’s Experience during COVID-19 Conference Cancellations

By Joél Payne and Megan Toal

How AMC’s Professional Relations and Development Team Pivoted to Virtual Options for Members, Sponsors, and Exhibitors

As associations try to field the crisis created by the coronavirus, the teams that serve AMC’s client partners and execute their conferences have had to nimbly circumvent the cancellations while ensuring that members still receive the education they need and clients meet revenue goals. With client conferences being canceled in response to Shelter in Place orders in many states, AMC’s Professional Relations and Development (PRD) Team needed to rapidly change direction to create contingency plans for exhibit sales and corporate-sponsored events. With flexibility, collaboration, and an openness to any and all ideas, PRD created a strategy for exhibits and corporate sponsorships affected by current disrupted conferences and future events that may be impacted in the same way.

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Helping Members Stay Ahead of the COVID-19 Curve

By Danielle Leber and Julie Rogers

Communication in the Time of Coronavirus

COVID-19 threatens not just the health of individuals, but also the economy. For the 99.9% of businesses in the United States—the small businesses that employ nearly half of U.S. workers and are crucial to the economy’s success—the pandemic is a threat to their survival. The small businesses that make up the majority of the member companies in the Awards and Personalization Association are no exception. Therefore, providing timely, reliable information to members in the face of COVID-19 is of the utmost importance.

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Sustainable Sustainability during a Global Pandemic

By Sarah Mania

Any chance you’ve been thinking of sustainability recently? Given the variety of adjustments we've all needed to make recently, it's not surprising if whatever you initially considered to be sustainable has since gone out the window. That's OK—your primary focus should be on keeping yourself and others healthy. But if you're still interested in practicing a sustainable lifestyle, how can you do that safely during a global public health pandemic? Read the below tips to learn how you can keep practicing sustainability during these disrupted times.

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Seeing Opportunities in Uncertainty

By Deb Woodall

During AMC’s very first all-remote, all-staff meeting on March 26, executive director Deb Woodall shared her reflections on how the world as we know it has changed and how she is responding to it. Hopefully, her reflections will inspire others, as it inspired our staff, to take a step back, look around, and see what we can do with what we have right now. Here are her thoughts:

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Creating an Association COVID-19 Response Plan

By Meg Drumm, CAE

COVID-19 has affected every person and organization across the world, and the association community is no different. With the constantly developing news and sweeping measures being taken to address the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important for associations to respond quickly and thoughtfully when acting on behalf of their constituents.

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Virtual Governance Series: Part 1

By Mark Engle, DM FASAE CAE and Dave Bergeson, PhD CAE

Virtual Governance: what does it look like and what does it do?

As many associations and organizations make the decision to transition to a virtual work environment, now more than ever has it become critical for Boards to navigate urgent decision making.

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6 Tips for Thriving While Working Remotely

By Mike Norbut

As COVID-19 continues to spread, AMC, like many companies in our area, asked staff to begin working remotely this week. I know many people work from home on a regular basis, but doing so once a week is quite different from doing it every day, as many have quickly discovered. Given that we all might be working remotely for several weeks, I thought this might be a good time for me to share some thoughts and tips as someone who worked from home for more than 10 years straight before joining AMC. These are really just things I learned about myself over time that helped me be more productive and happier in my home office. They might be helpful for you as well. 

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Huddle Up

By Heather Comiskey

Do you have a team huddle, stand-up, or touch-base? If yes, this blog might be a good place to find ideas to spice up your current structure. Even if you already have a successful team meeting, keep reading to see more ways a quick, regularly occurring meeting could benefit your organization or team.

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How to Record a Podcast

By Evan Richards

Podcasts are more popular than ever and for good reason. They can bring value to your business or organization, give voice to your opinions or expertise, and educate members or prospects about the benefits your association or industry offers. They also provide a great opportunity for bringing in revenue through ads and sponsors. Luckily, with the proper equipment, a podcast content strategy, and a team well-versed in podcast recording, you can create a podcast that will benefit your association, too.

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The Work/Life Balancing Act

By Laura Harris

A New Decade, A New Generation

2020 is here and a new generation is beginning to enter the workplace: the unique, independent, and savvy Generation Z. You might be familiar with the several articles debunking this generation on LinkedIn, Google, or whichever site you frequent. I will admit it is interesting to see how each generation is different when it comes to the workplace, and I’d like to share how I, as an early career professional, maintain a good work/life balance and am able to pursue my passions outside of work.

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Everyone Wins When Staff Collaborate during ‘Office Hours’

By Heather Payette

Working in association management enables you to network and grow relationships with other association staff, see how many associations plan and deliver projects, and celebrate one another’s successes. One of the benefits of working at Association Management Center (AMC) is the opportunity to tap into a full range of expertise from a diverse set of professionals.

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Magazines: A Powerhouse Communication Tool for Associations

By Danielle Leber

Ask any association professional and they’ll likely all say the same thing: offering quality education to and increasing engagement with their members are foremost among their priorities. But if you’re not making the most of your written communications—whether those consist of regular email communications only or a suite of strategic sources—you’re missing a huge opportunity.

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Leveling Up in Your Career

By Valerie Good-Turney

A few years after college, I began my career at AMC as an entry-level account administrator. Now, just 4 short years later, I was recently promoted to operations manager. During my time at AMC, I have held several different titles and roles, each one adding to the reputation I had built in the previous position. Although there is certainly no formula for guaranteed career success and growth, there are several things I’ve discovered you can do as a young professional (or a regular professional) to “level up” in your career.

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What Does ‘Personal Brand’ Mean to You?

By Liz Giannini

For the first 12 years of my life, my family lived just outside of Windsor in England. My dad was an American expat working for an international company in Europe and was able to leverage his unique personal brand. A former Marine, he wore square-toe cowboy boots with business suits and read 1–2 books a week. He was a sales road warrior in the paper industry with a forestry and engineering background and a U.S. patent under his belt. He was direct, had a bit of a temper, and was known for his specific knowledge. There really was nobody else like him. When we moved to the United States and his territory changed to North and South America, I remember him receiving a call to travel to France. A customer there had stated that they only wanted to work with him; his involvement was a deal-breaker. Based on a past project, he had left a lasting impression and exhibited memorable qualities that the customer relied on to accomplish their business goals. He had a strong and enduring personal brand.

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10 Things No One Tells You About Creating a Podcast


In August 2019, AMC and The Collaborative began releasing episodes of the “Conversations by Association” podcast, a professional development series for association and nonprofit professionals by experts in this niche, yet robust, industry.

Though we carefully researched and prepared before recording even began, we learned several best practices on the job that we could not have anticipated ahead of time. If you’re considering developing a podcast for your organization, we’re sharing 10 tips that can make podcast preparation, recording, and management easier.

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5 Budget-Friendly Marketing and Engagement Techniques for Associations

By Carly Bartman

Marketing requires investment, and it can be scary to try new tactics and take risks. But, when the same old techniques aren’t bringing in the same old revenue, it’s time to change things up. Try using strategic, data-driven, and evergreen techniques that will reinforce your brand and give you measurable results to guide your next move.

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Quality: Measuring What Matters for Your Healthcare Association

By Katherine Ast, MSW, LCSW

Is healthcare quality important to your members? If you work for a healthcare association, the answer is likely yes. Fierce debates are happening around the country about skyrocketing healthcare costs and attempts to streamline the system. Healthcare is arguably more essential to people than most other goods or services, and we have a strong collective interest in ensuring that the healthcare system works as well as it can. Quite simply, the consequences of poor quality can be deadly.

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AMC Consulting to the Rescue

By Maggie Patterson

“911, what’s your emergency?”

Do you ever feel like you need help to douse the flames of declining membership? Stabilize seismic activity altering your organization’s strategic priorities? Ebb the flood of new projects? Resuscitate product sales? Calling 911 may be a bit dramatic, but wouldn’t it be nice to know that there is an objective responder out there who has the resources and expertise to work with you to develop solutions to help your association achieve healthy outcomes? Thankfully, AMC Consulting Services can help.

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Conference Crash Course: Conscious Food Choices to Keep You Energized

By Valerie Romack

It’s day 2 of your association’s annual conference—the conference you’ve been preparing for all year—and your energy is starting to lag. You need a quick boost to get through the afternoon, so you grab a caffeinated beverage and a sugary snack for some instant energy. You’re fine for the next hour, sailing through your to-do list or the next can’t-miss educational session, until the dreaded sugar crash hits.

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Saying ‘No’ So You Can Say ‘Yes!’

By Allison Lundberg

When starting a new job or role, you seek to prove yourself in any way possible. By saying “yes,” you show you are willing, capable, and eager to become active in the organization. Of course you want to be a team player. Of course you want to show what you are capable of. We all hope to establish ourselves as intelligent, hard workers in those first few months and even years on a job. But when does saying “yes” become a problem?

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Volunteering: Your Secret Career Superpower

By Laura G. Davis, CAE

We all are busy. We all have too much to do. We all have limited time for additional commitments. So, why does it seem that some people have more hours in their day and can find the time to volunteer for their professional association? The answer: They prioritize it.

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Why Young Professionals Need a YP SIG: A Case for a Forum for Young Professionals in the Workplace

By Madison Fortman, Gretchen Knoelke, and Maddie Liesz, AMC Young Professional SIG co-chairs

Many young professionals face similar unique challenges in the workplace. As co-chairs of the Young Professionals Special Interest Group (YP SIG) at AMC, we strive to create a community for our members that empowers them to professionally evolve through their experiences, relationships, and successes in the workplace. By encouraging this journey for our members, the YP SIG is able to develop their careers, enhance company culture, and build on a foundation for the future of AMC. 

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When a Changing Market Changes Everything

By Judith Greifer

The Challenge

What do you do as a medical association when you need to prepare your members for pending certification requirements that haven’t yet been defined? That was the challenge that the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology (ASPHO) faced when we learned that new physician recertification requirements would take effect 2 years earlier than anticipated. How would these recertification changes impact the Review Course, our well-established and anticipated live and online prep course for initial and recertifying physicians that also happens to be an important revenue generator?

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What Spider-Man Taught Me About Ethics in Association Management

By Megan Toal

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

These wise words made famous by Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben have become ingrained in my thought processes ever since I watched Spider-Man for the first time. It was a concept that became part of how I live my life and see the world: don’t take advantage of people who have less power or less of ANYTHING than you. Chose what’s right over what’s easy. Don’t do anything illegal. Little did I know that Uncle Ben’s adage is the best answer to why business ethics exist and why it is necessary in association management.

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Who Are Your People? How Building Your Network Can Help You Accomplish Your Goals

By Caryn Odenbach

At the 2019 Global Leadership Summit in August, Jo Saxton, an author, speaker, and leadership coach, asked us, “Who are your people?” when she presented on how to “Level Up your Leadership”. As a new mom getting back into my professional groove and getting acquainted with a new client, I realized I needed my people more than ever. It got me thinking about how connections are crucial to moving forward, helping you recognize your strengths and move you closer to success.  

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How Did I Get Here? Navigating a Career in the Association World

By Molly Anderson

No Career Path Is a Straight Road

“Be a writer,” they said. I didn’t listen.

At a time when all signs (and trusted confidants) pointed me toward journalism, I marched straight for technology, earning my degree in management of information systems. This chatty, reluctant extrovert emerged from the halls of higher learning fresh faced and writing, of all things, computer code.

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The Case for an Internal Communications Team

By Danielle Leber and Megan Toal

Any company can benefit from clear, consistent communication with its staff. But when you have 40 client and service teams serving 30+ associations under the same roof, the need becomes even more pronounced. That’s why AMC endeavored to create an internal communications team that could unify the company’s messaging and bring staff together.

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Leveraging the Strength of 30+ Clients with Shared Interest & User Groups

By Megan Drumm, MBA CAE

Access to a community of like-minded professionals and subject matter experts is an expected and valued benefit of association membership. Here at AMC, nearly every client partner has some kind of solution in place to ensure that association leadership groups and members can connect to share best practices and solicit feedback, and the same goes for AMC employees themselves. More than a dozen AMC Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and User Groups (UGs) serve as the conduit for AMC staff members so they can collaborate, ask questions, share expertise, and ultimately solve problems for our clients and their own career development.

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Connections and Fresh Perspectives

By Megan Toal

Five months into my new job, I was ecstatic to help plan, execute, and MC at AMC’s Spring Connections, an annual meeting for all staff to have a chance to connect and hear from a speaker. Even though I was a first-timer and had one of the freshest perspectives on Connections, everyone can glean something from what we learned. Just like a good back-to-basics refresher course, a new perspective is something that everyone can take on a familiar event. That’s why we have Connections: it’s meant for everyone.

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Grow Your Association Career at AMC

By Kari Messenger, CMP, and Beth Zemach

Welcome to AMCU! — Association Management Center (AMC) University. When you cross the threshold through the glass doors of AMC as an employee, you’ll dedicate time to helping AMC’s clients grow and thrive, but you’ll also have numerous opportunities to grow your career as well. Association management companies, such as AMC, provide a broad spectrum of expertise to clients and employees alike, just like a university with a mix of specialized departments. In addition to working within your major (i.e., your client or service team), you will also have an opportunity to learn from those in adjacent specialties at all levels. AMC even has a softball team if you want to go out for athletics!

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GDPR at AMC Part 1: What’s GDPR Got to Do With It?

By Vish Kalambur and Megan Toal

So, what is GDPR and what does it have to do with me and my association?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Google and Facebook data breaches, which may have you questioning your (and your members’) data privacy. “Data protection” is a huge buzzword these days, and the European Union (EU) has pioneered a way to protect data: enter GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, which replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC. GDPR standardizes data protection law and imposes strict rules on controlling and processing personal information, not just for countries in the EU, but also for anyone who offers goods and services to or monitors the behavior of data subjects in the EU.

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The CAE Difference: Becoming a Leader in Association Management

By Emily Muse, CAE

Years ago, I began my professional life as a teacher, and the only association I was familiar with was the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC). Young and enthusiastic, I volunteered to serve on the committee of teachers that worked to review, prepare, and organize all of the required school documents that were provided to the NCA during our scheduled review. I was passionate about quality standards, learning best practices, and refining my understanding of policies that enhance the professionalism in the educational arena. I knew this association held my school and many others accountable to a set of quality standards for instruction and required policies. It is funny, because even years later, I am still passionate about quality standards and policies. These continued interests were key motivators in my decision to obtain the CAE certification.

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Pocket Guides: 7 Tips to Make the Perfect Petite Conference Companion

By Valerie Romack

When it comes to conference guides, many associations are finding out that smaller is better. Foldable and easy to slip into a pocket or bag, a conference pocket guide is ideal for attendees who want to quickly navigate an event’s many offerings without having to pull out their phones or tablets. Here are 7 things to consider when creating your perfect petite conference guide.

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The Art of Grants Management: Building a Mighty Team

By Susan Vogel

I’m not really sure when I first heard the term “centralized grants management”. It’s an operational model that is often seen at an educational institution or government agency (eCivis, 2017; Ohio Department of Education, n.d.), yet the concept, especially understanding roles and responsibilities, can help any size organization effectively manage the life cycle of their grant awards by building capacity with existing staff. In general, a grant life cycle includes pre-award tasks (e.g., prospecting, proposal development, and submission) through post-award activities (e.g., acceptance, award set-up, monitoring, and final reporting and close out). 

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Conference Crash Course: Unity of Function and Form in Footwear

By Susan Vogel

While our day-to-day work with associations require a lot of time at a desk, there are also times when we spend a lot of time on our feet. Throughout the year, we attend conferences, exhibits, presentations, and board meetings. AMC staff plan and implement more than 50 conferences, exhibitions, and board meetings annually. As anyone who has done this work knows, that means long days on your feet walking the concrete floors of exhibit halls and rushing down hotel hallways to make sure meeting rooms are ready and the board’s needs are met.

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Fiduciary Duties Are Not Hats

By Dave Bergeson, PhD CAE

One of the time-honored traditions in working with association boards is that at some time someone will say something like this: “Now remember, at this meeting today I expect everyone will wear their [Association Acronym] hats.” More specifically, if a member of the board also serves on the board of another association, he or she will often be asked to “take off their [ABC Competing Association] Hat, and put on their [Association Acronym] hat.”

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From Improv to Improve: How Comedy Improvisation Can Help Your Association Career

By Valerie Good-Turney

One of the reasons I first moved to Chicago was to continue studying improvisational comedy (also known as improv). Having taken classes at The Second City and the iO Theater and performing in countless shows for families, late-night crowds, and everyone in between for more than 11 years, there are many lessons I have learned that become engrained in you as an improviser. These lessons are key to helping you (and your team) be successful on stage. But success isn’t only about making people laugh—it’s also about creating real, authentic moments that you, your fellow performers, and your audience share in. Moments that, by the very nature of improv, can’t be recreated.  

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