• By: Passageways
  • October 28, 2020
Reading Time: 6 minutes

We are very excited to host the next webinar on Nov. 10 in the ongoing OnBoard Leadership Panel series. Four well-respected association executives will share their expertise and advice on how associations prepare for and address a variety of uncertainties in their upcoming board meetings and planning sessions.

We’re delighted to offer a brief Q&A with several of the panelists as a “sneak preview” of what participants can expect on Nov. 10.


What skill or skillset do you believe that association boards need to have moving forward?

“The role of an association board in overseeing good governance and risk management is even more vital in the current environment impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Quick decisions are crucial right now as we navigate rapidly changing conditions that impact our ability to meet our members’ expectations and needs, ensure our financials are sufficient to ride out the crisis, identify new potential business opportunities created by the pandemic, and communicate our game plan effectively with our stakeholders.”

“I would also say that shaping a post-crisis strategy is really a critical governance priority right now. Association leaders and their boards need to understand current risks as well as those that could emerge down the road as we develop a new playbook for our organizations. Together, management and volunteer leadership need to consider what lessons we have learned throughout the pandemic; what are the most crucial stakeholder needs to focus on; and how we should align our staff to meet these needs.”

Susan Robertson

Susan Robertson, CAE

President and CEO of ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership




“I believe the skillsets of association board members that need moving forward in this current environment are those that are open to change, the willingness to adapt, have a good perspective on how to plan short- and long-term goals, and can work strategically under pressure.  The key areas for boards to focus on should include working with the staff leadership to determine the growth-ability, profitability, and survivability for the organization.”

Johnnie White, MBA, CAE, CMP

CEO and Executive Vice President of the American Society of Appraisers




“I have always focused on developing Boards to be strategic and have foresight. A very simple, renewed skill Board members need is member connections. That is, to fully understand their peers’ situations as well as regional differences during the pandemic. Also, the Boards I work with are developing more empathy and understanding as a group, especially those typically focused on business, strategy, and growth. This skill is helping them to lead effectively and plan scenarios even better.”

Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE

President and Owner of AMPED Association Management




“I believe that association boards will need to have greater bandwidth for risk tolerance, which can evolve with solid data, strategic focus, engagement, and trust.  I also believe that foresight is critical. Additionally, association boards have had the opportunity to do a values check-in this year and this needs to continue. Not only are we dealing with a pandemic and the many safety and economic concerns for our members that come with that, but we also have the opportunity to look at DEI and our potential blind spots. There is ROI in that and more importantly, there is humanity in that.”

“We’ve all experienced tough conversations this year. This is an opportunity to lead or perhaps start on the journey. Building access and equity create inclusion and diversity. Values need to be consciously cultivated and expressed from the board and into the association’s offerings and culture. This improves the value proposition of an association to its membership and the industry it serves.”

Sharon Newport

Sharon Newport, CAE

Interim Chief Executive Officer of
DHI – Door Security + Safety Professionals


If you could go back to the start of the pandemic, what would you have done differently?

“It goes without saying that, if we had had a little more forewarning about the extent of the public health threat and resulting economic crisis we were facing, we could have done more to prepare operationally. We were fortunate that ASAE had reserves built up to weather the pandemic’s impact on in-person meetings and events and other revenue-generating activities. We were also well-positioned from a technology perspective for the sudden shift to work-from-home policies for our staff. I wish that we had had more time to devote to contingency planning, but this was – and is – an unprecedented crisis for associations, just as it is for other industries.”

“Having a vision for the future is extremely difficult when you’re confronted with so many daily operational challenges, but I do think this pandemic will ultimately make associations nimbler and more responsive to future disruptive events.”

Susan Robertson

Susan Robertson, CAE

President and CEO of ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership




“I think our organization did a good job at the start of the pandemic as we closed our offices in accordance with the state guidelines and was prepared for our staff to work from home as we had a telecommute policy in place already.  We transitioned all our in-person programs to online virtual program.  We also took the position to review our financials from a cash position rather than an accrual position.  Became a resource for our members by dedicating an area on our website that curated helpful information for them to use in managing their companies and navigating the changing guidelines.”

“One area I think we could have done a little different was ensuring that we continued at a high-level constant contact with staff.  One of the luxuries we have, when staff is working together in the office, is human contact and I believe that was lost at the beginning of the pandemic.   Staff was not meeting with each other or cross departments, so you lose out on that innovation and creativity. “

Johnnie White, MBA, CAE, CMP

CEO and Executive Vice President of the American Society of Appraisers




“Maybe start wearing a mask in January to prevent from getting COVID myself! Invest in Zoom or other virtual platforms. Purchase meeting cancellation insurance further out for our clients. The list goes on and on. One last in-person Board meeting to talk about options and plan for the next 24-36 months in virtual would have been ideal. We are actually doing ‘fine’ and adjusting.”

Lynda J. Patterson, FASAE, CAE

President and Owner of AMPED Association Management




“I’m proud of how our board navigated the pandemic from the beginning. They listened to the data and allowed their thinking to evolve, they escalated their engagement with staff, and they asked us to take risks that we executed in measured ways and have since proven very successful. We’ve built new offerings and experiences that will change our approach for years to come.”

Sharon Newport

Sharon Newport, CAE

Interim Chief Executive Officer of
DHI – Door Security + Safety Professionals



Join us on Nov. 10

Want to learn even more from this amazing panel? Join us on Nov. 10 for a FREE webinar featuring these panelists starting at 2:30pm ET. Click the image below or register today!

About The Author

Passageways
Passageways
Passageways is a SaaS provider of collaboration solutions for boards and employees. OnBoard is a board governance solution, designed to improve collaboration for directors and administrators throughout the meeting life cycle. OnSemble's a lovable, drag and drop, Employee Intranet that connects an entire workplace to one central collaboration hub, builds your culture, and inspires employee engagement.

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