New Ideas Annual Conference

2017 Education Sessions

Preconference Sessions*

Sunday, September 17, 10:00 am - 12:30 pm
$75 TSAE member; $100 non-member
  • Who, How, and What? An In-Depth Exploration on Getting the Most from Google Analytics
  • Essentials of Nonprofit Accounting and Finance
*Additional registration required
Learn more and register for preconference sessions


Sunday, September 17


Learning Lounge Session (1:45 – 2:15 pm)

New Ideas Highlights
Trevor Mitchell, CAE, Sr. Director of Membership and Strategy, American Mensa

Join New Ideas Conference Task Force Chair as he highlights some elements, sessions, and networking opportunities at this year’s event!

Opening Session (2:30 – 3:45 pm)

Linking Social Awkwardness and Extraordinary Achievement

Ty Tashiro, Author of Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome
Modern social life is more awkward than ever. Even the most socially adept people can feel uncomfortable forging new connections or navigating challenges that inevitably arise in ongoing relationships. Psychologist and author Ty Tashiro will share fascinating research about the awkwardness of modern social life and what these findings tell us about how to manage uncertainty in new social situations and how people can deepen their established relationships. He will also provide strategies and skills that can help people develop more meaningful interpersonal connections and how leaders can create environments that encourage healthy relationships among group members.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions I (4:15 – 5:30 pm)

Hornet’s Nest: How to Talk About Politicized Issues Without Taking Sides - A Panel Discussion
Tiffany McGee, CAE, Chief Executive Officer, Texas Trial Lawyers Association
Robin Painovich, CAE, Executive Director, Career and Technical Association of Texas
David Wyatt, Business Director and Co-founder, Wyatt Brand

Regardless of where your staff, leadership, or members fall on the political spectrum—we now find ourselves in a different reality where business relationships and associations are increasingly expected to comment on changes to policy, laws, and other issues affecting their membership. But how can we, as representatives of our associations or designated brand communicators, address these politicized issues and host the conversation about the political environment and changes affecting our members without taking sides or pointing fingers? As associations, we must develop strategies and protocols for getting information to our people in a timely fashion while setting aside the personal commentary and tone. Still, we cannot afford to be a-political, but rather must be bipartisan to serve our membership’s needs. #HornetsNestTSAE

Budget Scalability for Main Stage General Sessions
Mike Wohlitz, Vice President of Event Services, Freeman

Working in a live production environment, this session will demonstrate methods of scalability with AV budgets for general/plenary sessions, keynotes, galas, and award presentations. Discover how to evaluate audio, projection, lighting, scenic design, and staging needs with budget priorities to achieve the optimal balance for your event.

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate various AV elements at different budget levels
  • Recognize how to set AV budget priorities
  • Discover the capabilities of various AV components to determine what’s best for your meeting
Fueling Exceptional New Member Experiences
Amanda Kaiser, Chief Path Finder, Kaiser Insights LLC

Does your data tell you that your new members renew at a lower rate than other members? Have your retention metrics plateaued even though you are improving your renewal process? Do you wonder how to engage both new and long-time members even more? Members think far differently about joining, engaging and renewing than y do. Research shows the decision to renew is highly influenced by their experience when they first join rather than the full year cycle. Learn how associations, small to large, are successfully engaging all members by focusing far more on their newest members and creating exceptional experiences that cement engagement.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Association Website
Patrick Wicker, Online Marketing Manager, TradeMark Media    

For most of your members—and prospective members—your website is the key to understanding your association. If your website isn't helpful, easy-to-use, and delightful, your members won't engage with you as deeply as they should. In this lively talk, you’ll learn how to turn your website into a goal-achieving machine. By the end of the session, you will be able to:

  • Clearly communicate your value to your members and prospects
  • Streamline your users' experience online
  • Demonstrate your expertise and authority on key industry issues
  • Effectively promote events and trainings
  • Sell your services and sponsorships

We'll focus on changes you can make to transform your website from a baffling maze into a pleasant stroll through the park.

Science-Backed Strategies to Build Meaningful Relationships
Ty Tashiro, Author of Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome

Leaders consistently find themselves in tough social positions. They need to quickly establish rapport with new group members, forge trust with other leaders as they build coalitions, and need to effectively negotiate conflicts among group members with divergent interests. Drawing on cutting-edge psychological research, Ty Tashiro will dissect the anatomy of these social interactions, explain why some of the common tactics we use in everyday interactions are counterproductive, and provide specific tools to help leaders start and sustain productive relationships.

Why You're NOT Successfully Negotiating... and What to do About It!
Roger Kemper, Vice President, Sandler Training 

Join us for an eye-opening look at the deficiencies of typical negotiations and what to do about them. You'll spend time discussing the pitfalls of negotiating and how to apply some tools to make negotiations more  comfortable and more productive. Learn a 3-step plan to increase margins and win more business, all while making the other party feel good about the outcome.

Learning Lounge Session (4:15 – 4:45 pm)

New Member Orientation

Learning Lounge Session (5:00 – 5:30)

Book Club


Monday, September 18

CAE Breakfast* (7:30 – 8:45 am)                 

State of the CAE
Lori Furtado, CAE, Senior Director, Credentialing, ASAE

Celebrate the newest CAEs and hear an update on current policies and future direction of the CAE Program.

*Open to current CAEs only

General Session (9:00 – 10:00 am)

Intentional Innovation

Shelly Alcorn, Principal, Alcorn Associates Management Consulting
We often hear we must be more innovative, but how exactly? Innovation doesn’t happen on its own, it requires attention, commitment and process. If those conditions are not met before we decide to try something new, we run the risk of unintentionally creating negative feedback loops within our association systems that discourage further efforts to change and adapt. If we only speak the “language” of innovation, without setting guidelines on how we should go about it, we risk suppressing new ideas or killing them before they have even seen the light of day. There is nothing more disillusioning than whacking enthusiastic members with good ideas upside the head with the tripod of stagnation – bylaws, budget, and strategic plan. Come with us as we explore how some associations are taking steps to walk-the-walk, not just talk-the-talk, and discuss some practical suggestions on how your association can be intentionally innovative.

Concurrent Breakout Sessions II (10:30 – 11:45 am)

Creating a "Yes, And" Culture of High-Level Engagement
Galen Emanuele, President of Shift Yes

This high-energy workshop teaches leaders and organizations how to apply the improv concept of “Yes, And” to radically improve communication, performance, and engagement. Through thought-provoking activities aimed at enhancing leadership and building cohesive team culture, you’ll come away with tools to increase performance and communication within your organizations. Laugh and learn with your peers while gaining actionable skills that will permanently change the way you do business. From this session, you will:

  • Understand how to communicate with the tools of “Yes, And.”
  • Learn to be present and fully engaged in your communications
  • Embrace a collaborative team culture of support and strive to make others look good.
  • Adapt positively to change, be receptive to new ideas, and navigate conflict more easily.
  • Take responsibility for the way you contribute and show up every day
Finance & Operation Trends: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Julie Hart, President, CFO By Design

Come learn about the latest trends in finance and operations.

Topics include: 

  • Using visuals and dashboards to understand your financials
  • Policies (The Good) What should you have in place?
  • Policies (The Bad) What are too many?
  • Policies (The Ugly)  What policies will get you in trouble?

There will be short presentations and then a Q&A session with a professional to answer your burning finance and operations questions.

Conference Disrupted, Part I
Mandy Begley, CMP, Senior Meeting Planner, Texas Association of School Boards
Paulina van Eeden Hill, Director of Events & Professional Development, Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented

How might we disrupt the traditional conference model while deepening member learning and real relationship building? Designed to re-imagine and transform conferences as we know them by taking a design-thinking, hands-on, makers-space approach, come ready to engage in wild and creative ideation and prototype real solutions for some of your most critical conference challenges. Working as small teams, together we will hack the traditional annual conference by building on the creativity and innovation that the TSAE community possesses and bring transformation and originality to your next event. This is a two-part session, rejoin your team on Tuesday to prototype, present, and collect your best ideas!

What You Need to Know About Member Research…To Really Know Your Members
Amanda Kaiser, Chief Path Finder, Kaiser Insights LLC

Do you feel like you are not quite hitting the mark with your members? Do you have a list of seemingly unanswerable questions about your members? And you think if you had these answers they would help drive your association’s strategy, marketing, and innovation plans? The answers are out there. But how do we tap into these often-hidden member insights? And how do we ensure the information we are collecting is accurate? This session will focus on more advanced research methodologies – including exploring very powerful, but not often talked about, qualitative member research.

The Integral Association
Shelly Alcorn, Principal, Alcorn Associates Management Consulting

Although many may consider association governance to a 'static, policy based' system, the fact is your association's success is highly dependent upon the social system in which it operates and the larger societal context in which it finds itself. Truly effective governance strategies must drill down past the obvious and embrace the fact that any system is only as healthy as its participants and the world around them. If we begin to see the association itself as a living system, we can develop tools to help us meet our members where they are and get them where they need to go. You will explore the use of components from philosopher Ken Wilber's AQAL model as a new way to evaluate our current processes and see how you can use it to calibrate your approach to a rapidly evolving future.

  • Learn how to take the emotional temperature of your membership, volunteers and staff.
  • Explore how using basic integral theory can make your association more responsive, resilient and relevant
  • Learn how to use strategic shaping processes and the two-curve framework
  • Examine the benefits of deeply ingraining the “Emergence Ethos” into your governance system
Protecting Your Organization from Cyber Attacks
Umesh Verma, CEO, Blue Lance 

Cybersecurity is of growing importance for organizations of all kinds and sizes. Hackers target your organization’s confidential member information and website, among other vital information, and your organization’s ability to be prepared is key to  surviving a potential hack. This session focuses on practical steps you can take to protect and streamline your response if you are targeted.


Learning Lounge Session (10:30 – 11:00 am)

Earning the CAE
Lori Furtado, CAE, Senior Director, Credentialing, ASAE

The Certified Association Executive certification identifies those who have the knowledge essential to serving as a successful association executive and is the association credential most highly regarded by your peers and boards alike. Learn how to prepare yourself to meet the eligibility requirements, and prepare to sit for the CAE exam from CAE Program staff.

Learning Lounge Session (11:15 – 11:45 am)

The Automation Equation: Leveraging Technology for Efficiency, Relationship Building and Focusing on Real Priorities
Crystal Washington

Association professionals now find themselves challenged to demonstrate greater results with less resources and time. There are simply not enough hours in the day! In this high-energy and funny session, Crystal Washington will show you how to outsource non-important activities and leverage social media and apps to increase efficiency so you can use all of this extra time to invest in top job priorities (and maybe a little R&R too).


  • Using technology, outsource research and unnecessary tasks, freeing up time for revenue-generating activities
  • Increase referrals and opportunities to acquire and maintain new members
  • Strengthen lucrative professional and client relationships

Awards Luncheon (12:00 – 1:15 pm)


Concurrent Breakout Sessions III (1:45 – 3:00 pm)             

Learn the Art of Saying “No” to the Idea and “Yes” to the Person
Galen Emanuele, President, Shift Yes

One of the biggest challenges that we face as leaders and humans is how to effectively say no. This is amplified in a business setting, where saying no without the right approach can destroy engagement, morale, creativity, and even your personal reputation. In this session, you will learn how to successfully navigate the delicate art of delivering a no; providing you with a concise set of tools and guidelines to use with your teams and in your daily life. Learn how to take a collaborative, strategic path to “no” that feels authentic and supportive without crushing employee and team morale.

Social Media Ads for Associations in Plain English
Crystal Washington

In this session, you'll learn how to reach very specific market segments using social networks to target existing members, specific generations, locations, and more to increase membership and member engagement.

  • Immediately use retargeting to capture potential members who would normally get away
  • Effectively gear social media ads to your intended audiences only
  • Uncover how to customize social media experiences for each of your target markets —members, potential members, and sponsors — making you look like you specialize in only the information that matters to them
Top Tips for Membership Recruitment, Retention and Engagement
Scott D. Oser, President, Scott Oser Associates, Inc.

The decision to join or renew isn’t always guaranteed. So what can you do to influence your member’s buying decision? Gain tips and best practices for recruitment, engagement, and retention in this rapid fire, fast-paced session.

Transitioning Your Board to a Strategic Thinking Entity: 25 Tips and a Roadmap
Robert Nelson, Principal, Nelson Strategic Consulting 

Everything from board selection, culture to board meeting design and management play a role in why boards aren’t strategic thinking entities. This session will present 25 tangible ideas that can be implemented to transition a board into a strategic thinking body. The program will engage you in hands-on, participative exercises to identify priority forces that will impact the success of your implementation efforts back home. You will also be given an opportunity to build out your vision for a strategic thinking board and identify the next action steps you need to take to successfully transform your board.

Learning Lounge Session (1:45 – 2:15 pm)               

Foibles, Fumbles and Fun: Lessons Learned from Strategic Assessments
Mark Jones, President, enSYNC Corporation

Through years of conducting strategic assessments for organizations of many sizes, from many industries, enSYNC has seen that while some organizational challenges are unique, many are common to nonprofits of all genres. In this session, you’ll hear about the foibles they’ve seen time and time again, the fumbles and bumbles that are typical of so many organizations, and the fun that grows out of the strategic assessment process. You’re sure to recognize your organization and shake your head in agreement with the lessons they’ve learned.

Learning Lounge Session (2:30 – 3:00)

TSAE Toastmaster

Deep Dive Session (1:45 – 4:45 pm)*

The Disaster Experience
Bob Mellinger, CBCV, Founder and President, Attainium Corp

Chances are that while you read this, an unexpected disaster is causing an organization stress and confusion and is affecting its ability to provide products and services to its customers. Are the organization’s leaders prepared to handle it? Will they be able to recover? Disasters of every shape, size, look and feel happen all the time, affecting businesses, people's jobs, lives and families. You will participate in a small group, and work through an actual disaster scenario. The story unfolds with the delivery of multiple incidents in rapid succession. Your group prepares its responses to the questions provided. Groups are then selected to present their results and insight. The scenario then continues where it left off and the process is repeated. This session is highly interactive and very fast-paced. Never be caught unprepared again!

*Participation in Deep Dive prohibits you from going on an excursion. Deep Dive participants earn an additional 1.75 CAE hours. 

Excursions (3:45 – 6:00 pm)

Take a few hours on Monday afternoon to get out and see what Houston has to offer, learn a new skill, or give back to the community. It is a perfect way to meet new people in a fun and relaxed setting. See full list

Tuesday, September 19

Breakout Sessions IV (8:30 – 9:45 am)

Ask the Expert: Your Most Challenging Employment Law Questions Answered
Andrew Turner, Shareholder, Ogletree Deakins

Overtime? Independent Contractor vs. Employee (misclassification is a killer)? Telecommuting and Social Media Policies? Difficulty managing leaves of absence? Led by an employment law attorney, this session provides a safe forum for you to ask the questions that are keeping you up and night. Don’t know what you don’t know? Sit in and you might start to identify some gaps in your processes or solutions to problems you hadn’t even considered.

You've Got Content!  Now What?
Scott D. Oser, President, Scott Oser Associates, Inc

Members, events, blogs, magazines, e-newsletters, components... One thing that all of these things have in common is CONTENT. Associations produce a lot of content, but are they using it to their advantage? Overwhelmingly, the answer is often "no." This face-paced session will inspire association marketers by sharing ideas, tips, and tools on how to turn the content you are already producing into POWER CONTENT you can leverage to engage and excite your members.

Conference Disrupted, Part II
Mandy Begley, CMP, Senior Meeting Planner, Texas Association of School Boards
Paulina van Eeden Hill, Director of Events & Professional Development, Texas Association for the Gifted & Talented

Regroup with your peers as you continue to disrupt the traditional conference model to improve member learning and relationship building. Part II is all about prototyping Monday’s ideas and sharing them with your colleagues. Whether you were in the Part I discussion (which we highly recommend!) or are new to the session, be ready to engage in wild and creative ideation and build-out your idea. Join us to capture the creativity, learn from each other and build upon the ideas from the innovative TSAE community.

The Lean In Four-mula: Your Secret Weapon to Improved Profitability 
Dr. Cortney Baker

According to the 2016 Fortune 500 list, only 4.2% of companies had women CEOs. Despite the belief that women shattered the glass ceiling long ago, a large, noticeable absence of females among executive-level roles remains. Research has proven that executive-level women contribute to internal innovation, enhanced productivity, and increased profitability. However, women are increasingly promoted to mid-level management roles, just not those of the highest paid positions and authority. What's holding women back from executive-level leadership? How could an alliance with high-potential women improve profitability in American companies?

After two years of intense research, including conversations with C-level women throughout the United States, Dr. Cortney Baker has uncovered the benefits companies experience when women are employed at executive levels- including improved profitability. In this interactive and thought provoking presentation, you’ll learn the challenges and obstacles women face when climbing the corporate ladder, why gender parity in the workplace matters, and strategies that organizations can take to increase their executive-level female talent pool.

The CEO’s Role in Creating a Succession Plan
Robert Nelson, Principal, Nelson Strategic Consulting 

This session explores how to effectively prepare for CEO succession, be it a planned or unplanned departure. Learn what succession planning is and isn’t, how to create an effective succession plan, why succession planning is an ongoing process, and how to address succession planning with Boards. In the end, succession planning is all about providing consistency to stakeholders, continuing the strategic direction with minimal disruption, and being prepared for an emergency or planned departure. If done right, sound succession planning can also reduce stress on staff and Board members when the inevitable transition occurs.

This interactive session is designed to address and engage the audience in dialogue that responds to actual concerns and succession planning questions participants are facing in their organizations. Come prepared to discuss your challenges. 

Learning Lounge Session (8:45 – 9:45 am)

Personal Assessment

Closing Brunch Session (10:00 – 11:30 am)

Leadership Lessons Learned from Inside the President’s Bunker on 9/11

Lieutenant Colonel Robert J. Darling, USMC (Ret.)
Lt. Col. Darling retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2007 with just over twenty years of active duty service.  After an impressive early career piloting attack helicopters in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and as a presidential pilot with Marine Helicopter Squadron One, he was handpicked in October 2000 to work for the White House Military Office, Airlift Operations Department.  It was in this position that, during the attack of September 11, 2001, he supported the President, Vice President and National Security Advisor in the underground President's Emergency Operations Center (PEOC) and witnessed unprecedented leadership and decision making at the highest levels of our government.

Lt. Col. Darling chronicles these developments in his book, “24 Hours Inside the President's Bunker, 9/11/01: The White House,” and shares the principles of crisis leadership and decision making with an “edge of your seat” presentation that’ll take you from the moment the attack was realized, to the courageous decisions made to stop it, to the safeguards and policies now in-place to attempt preventing it from ever happening again. 

Postconference Session

Tuesday, September 19, Noon - 4:00 pm

Association Management Company (AMC) Roundtable

Complimentary registration

Learn more and register for AMC Roundtable


CAE Hours

Full conference: 8.5
Monday-only: 3.5
Additional Monday Deep Dive (included in registration): 1.75
Additional CAE Breakfast (included in registration' CAEs only): 1
Additional Pre-Conference Session: 2.5

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