Celebrating Associations: Society of Critical Care Medicine The Intensive Care Professionals


We’re Celebrating SCCM Because: It implemented a remote work environment, with a staff of 70, that employees like and saves money.

Association and History: Founded in 1970, the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) is the largest non-profit medical organization dedicated to promoting excellence and consistency in the practice of critical care. With 16,000 members in more than 100 countries, SCCM is the only organization that represents all professional components of the critical care team. The Society offers a variety of activities that ensures excellence in patient care, education, research and advocacy.

Mission: SCCM’s mission is to secure the highest quality care for all critically ill and injured patients.

Envisioned Future: SCCM envisions a world in which all critically ill and injured persons receive care from a present integrated team of dedicated trained intensivists and critical care specialists.

The Society for Critical Care Medicine Takes Working Remotely to an Entirely New Level

So, maybe you let your employees work one day a week at home; maybe even two days, and you offer flexible hours. Or maybe you’re one of those CEOs who says, “No way. I know little work will get done at home—too many distractions.”

CEOs who see a future for their associations 10 years from now with the right staff to take them there have only one option: Creating a remote work environment.

“We have more people working remotely than can fit into our office space,” said Laura Lewis, Director of Technology for the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM). Instead of opting for adding more office space, moving or building a new headquarters, SCCM chose a much less expensive route: convincing leadership to trust their employees and investing in technology that supports telecommuting.

“Almost 95 percent of our employees work remotely,” Lewis said. “Even our CEO works two days from home.” Let’s hear more from Linda:

Why did SCCM start a remote workforce?

About 10 years ago, SCCM was reviewing its emergency response plan in light of a pandemic that was a possible threat on several continents. We have a very active volunteer leadership, and they’re on the front lines of providing health care in emergency situations globally. We must be available 24/7 to assist our members, whether it’s an epidemic or tsunami.

We realized that we didn’t have the technology to handle a disaster, so we started with the basics—a remote desktop service (RDS), where employees could log into SCCM’s systems from home and forward their office phones to their cell phones.

We debuted the RDS plan on a what would have been a “snow day” for employees. The meteorologists predicted heavy snow, so we told staff to stay home and we conducted our first all-employee, remote work day to test the technology. For the most part, it was a success, and we had plenty of time to work out any glitches in case of a real emergency. Now we look at this as Phase I.

What triggered the next phase?

Each spring, our CEO and executive vice president, David J. Martin​, CAE, conducts a retreat for the leadership team and asks everyone to read a book. Several years ago, the book was, Why Managing Sucks, which talked about a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE). Authors Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson posed these questions, “When does work start, and when does work stop in today’s global economy?” They also discussed how defining work as “butts in the seats in the office” is pretty antiquated.

I was inspired and became a ROWE evangelist! I’ve always believed in setting department goals and then letting my staff determine how to accomplish them. As long as the work is done, I don’t mind if my programmer wants to work at 2 a.m.

It turned out that I was one of the first employees to test the remote system beyond working from home—out of state. In 2016, my dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He’s fine now, but his condition was very serious back then. For four months, my sister and I took turns performing our jobs remotely for two weeks at a time from a Michigan ICU hospital room.

There were a couple of glitches. One was that I noticed that the network connection might not work in one part of the hospital, so I’d move to another location. Nothing major, but this was good intel for what might be problematic for SCCM employees working remotely.

Also, I’ve been working in technology for 20 years now and don’t get flustered. Tech people generally are not afraid to try new things. If one thing doesn’t work, you try something else. That’s my mindset.

Not everyone is comfortable with technology. How did you achieve by-in to the concept?

People still can and do work only in the SCCM office. It’s an option, but most employees choose a combination of remote and office time.

When I introduced the ROWE concept to senior leaders, I posed one question: “Do you trust your staff?” As you can imagine, people were shocked. Unless you’re standing over your employees all the time, you don’t know if they’re doing their work, and that’s not practical. If you don’t trust them to do their job at home unsupervised, maybe you don’t have the right people working for you.

We all get tired of hearing about “culture change,” but this really is a culture change and for the best. Were some people against the idea at the beginning? Absolutely! However, one staff member went from being a complete skeptic to being fully on board with the concept. Suddenly, you can watch little Johnny play baseball and not have to take a half-day off. Just do the work and be available to your colleagues. We’ve seen a real shift in peoples’ attitudes. They feel they have better control over their lives, and we do not have a high attrition rate.

While there are some completely “virtual” associations, some CEOs are still having difficulty with a couple of employees working from home one day a week. How do associations start a broader strategy such as SCCMs?

By asking some serious questions. First, in 10 years, do you expect your association to still exist? If you answered “yes,” you will need a flexible work environment to attract staff. Millennials expect access to anything and everything from anywhere. Also, we’re a global society! An 8 to 5 workday is a dead idea if you want to expand your reach internationally. Work life and personal life are blending.

Second, do you have commitment from the top? The first step is to present your ideas to your CEO. I wouldn’t have even thought to proceed without David’s support for many reasons, and because I knew people would go to him to complain. Changing the culture is the hardest part. The technology is easy. How people define work, how the association defines work, and do you trust your staff are questions that need to be answered.

What would you have done differently?

Our original phone system did not work well for this number of staff to work remotely. We had to use work arounds such as forwarding your phone. Well, people often forget to forward their phones.

We also may have relied too long on technology being housed in the physical office space, and a server went down. That was a fail. Moving to Office 365 helped. We are working on moving all of our servers to the cloud—no physical data “center” will be necessary.

We also should have brought a few more people to the table during the early planning process. It’s always a challenge to determine who the “right” people are. While you can’t have everyone involved in every aspect, it would have been a good idea to include, for example, the switchboard operator—not just her boss—from the beginning.

Last piece of advice?

The world will not end if the conference call goes dead.

Share YOUR Story: What is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact connie@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed. 

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

OTA Launches Modern, Intuitive, Flexible Website



​The Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) was conceived and organized in 1977 and formally established in 1985. Although headquartered in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons building in Rosemont, Illinois, OTA is a stand-alone organization, managed by a staff of 10.

The organization’s membership includes more than 2,000 medical professionals who work in the field of musculoskeletal trauma injury in the United States, Canada and around the world. Members are academic and clinical orthopaedic surgeons, residents, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, researchers and other allied health professionals.

The Challenge

A website reflects every facet of an organization’s brand. Even groups with robust IT and communications departments do not launch a redesign without some trepidation. Success depends on the entire association’s involvement. From the CEO to the most junior staff member, everyone needs to be ready to give extra effort, creativity and commitment to get the job done successfully.

Like many newer organizations, OTA’s staff was lean but efficient. There was no IT department and no employees who had IT as their sole responsibility. Consultants would need to identify strategies to help the small staff cope with the additional tasks this project would generate.

OTA’s physician base had been rapidly growing. Members didn’t feel their current site reflected the vibrant organization they aspired to create. They were excited about the redesign process and adding many of the bells and whistles that they saw when they visited their favorite online communities and brands. Staff was frustrated by a platform that did not allow for flexibility in design or graphics. In addition to looking out-of-date, OTA’s site was slow to load, not compatible with mobile devices and built on an unstable platform. An even larger issue was the fact that no one could explain why the site seemed to be invisible to search engines.

Content creation and management was another significant area where advice and improvement was critical. Information was not intuitively arranged, making it difficult for visitors to explore the site or find what they were seeking. Since best practices for communicating on the internet change rapidly, the staff also needed to be updated on the latest techniques.

The Solution

.orgSource’s goal, as consultants, was to understand OTA as thoroughly as a trusted employee and to approach the redesign with an insider’s care and enthusiasm. We were also committed to identifying a vendor who would provide the comprehensive range of services required by a growing organization with limited staff resources, including:

  • Oversight for all IT functions involved in supporting the site
  • Ongoing maintenance and upgrades
  • Hosting, monitoring uptime and site load times, and responding to issues
  • Integrating with other platforms such as OTA’s Knowledge Portal, which was being developed by the publisher of the organization’s journal

After in-depth reviews of the staffs’ requirements, .orgSource prepared an RFQ which was circulated to prospective vendors. As responses arrived, we organized the vetting process and walked employees through a comparative analysis of each proposal. A small group of vendors was invited to demonstrate their products. When the winning bidder was selected, .orgSource assessed the contract to ensure that it met OTA’s budget and technical requirements.

Developing new, exciting and well-organized content was a multi-step process. A content strategy survey was the starting point. Key staff and members were asked to identify OTA’s various audiences and to pinpoint the type of information each group would be interested in receiving.

The survey was followed by a card sort exercise. Participants categorized and labeled the information into separate buckets. The goal was to create a site architecture that would be logical and intuitive for visitors. A content strategy workshop brought all the pieces together for fine-tuning. Staff was provided with tools and templates to help them decide which information from the old site to delete, revise or augment. .orgSource also organized a tutorial on effective writing for the web so that the copy would be as contemporary as the site’s new visuals.

In order to ensure that the new site would be easy to find, .orgSource’s technical detectives investigated and identified the coding problems that were causing OTA to be overlooked by search engines. Consultants also offered tips on how to use keywords and other features of Search Engine Optimization to ensure that OTA remained at the top of the search results.

The Results

OTA’s site has a fresh professional look that matches its members’ aspirations for the organization. The site’s improved architecture makes it easy for visitors to find the information that they need. The staff has the flexibility to add interesting graphics as well as video. In phase two, the website will integrate with OTA’s Knowledge Portal, which will improve the journal’s impact and further support members in their continuing education. This site should serve OTA well into the future because the new vendor is ready to help staff manage the content and make software updates as initiatives and plans develop.

Celebrating Associations: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Celebrating Associations is a blog produced by .orgCommunity that highlights the achievements of associations and the great impact they have on the industries they serve.

We’re celebrating AAPD because it has committed to a cavity-free youth through community-based initiatives in underserved areas and kid-focused programming.

Association and history: Founded in 1947, the AAPD is a not-for-profit professional membership association representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry and is the recognized authority on children’s oral health. As advocates for children’s oral health, the AAPD promotes evidence-based policies and clinical guidelines; educates and informs policymakers, parents and guardians, and other health care professionals; fosters research; and provides continuing professional education for pediatric dentists and general dentists who treat children. http://www.aapd.org

The AAPD’s vision is optimal oral health for all children.

About its members: The AAPD’s 10,000 members serve as primary care and specialty providers for millions of children from infancy through adolescence; provide advanced, specialty-level care for infants, children, adolescents and patients with special healthcare needs; and are the primary contributors to professional education programs and scholarly works concerning children’s dental care.

We’ll learn more in an interview with C. Scott Litch, Esq., CAE, AAPD Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel

When we think of childhood diseases, tooth decay generally is not one that comes to mind. Is it a serious problem? 

AAPD: Yes! Tooth decay (cavities) is the single most common chronic childhood disease, and it’s an epidemic among our nation’s youngest children from families struggling with poverty. Hundreds of thousands of children nationwide go untreated each year because of financial hardship. Worse, cavities are usually entirely preventable if a child receives regular dental care and follows good preventive care at home (such as brushing for two minutes two times a day).

That’s why the Foundation of the AAPD, Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC), supports community-based initiatives to provide “dental homes” to children from families who cannot afford dental care. A dental home is a place where children receive consistent, compassionate dental care. “Consistent” is key. We strongly feel that on-going pediatric dental care is essential for giving children the proper foundation for a healthy life, from childhood through adolescence and beyond.

Tell us about the results. 

AAPD: We’re proud to report that since 2010, HSHC has awarded more than $4.6 million in grants and commitments to 89 organizations in 32 states and the District of Columbia. HSHC grantees have helped provide Dental Homes to more than 320,000 children.

In addition, every year—before the start of our annual session —we conduct a “Dental Home Day” at a local clinic to promote the program by providing dental care to children. It’s staffed by member volunteers.  https://www.healthysmileshealthychildren.org/

Then there’s, “Mouth Monsters.” I took the Santa quiz. With the attention-grabbing and colorful graphics and interesting topics, parents and kids must love this website! 

AAPD: They do. So do our members. The example you mentioned asked parents and kids a series of questions to help Santa pack his sleigh by choosing healthy snacks. It was very popular and taught some important lessons on taking care of your teeth.

Obviously, we change the content to reflect the time of year. Our members refer parents to this website all the time, and its engaging layout captivates kids and adults.

Mouth Monsters was launched in 2014, as a kid-friendly public relations campaign, designed as a way for children and their parents to learn about good dental care and the importance of pediatric dentists—while having fun. It links to our consumer portal, mychildrensteeth.org. Through this site, we are committed to providing parents with the latest information and data regarding their children’s dental and oral healthcare, courtesy of our member pediatric dentists, who are on the frontlines serving as primary care and specialty providers for millions of children. http://mouthmonsters.mychildrensteeth.org/www.mychildrensteeth.org

Developing the next generation of leaders is becoming a priority for many organizations. What is the AAPD doing in this regard? 

AAPD: Fourteen years ago, AAPD established the Leadership Institute with the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University for members who want to move into the leadership ranks. Participants engage in a variety of educational forums that include leadership management, organization change, negotiation strategies and crisis management, during four-day weekends, over three years.

To qualify, members must undergo a very competitive admissions process. AAPD and HSHC issue a call for applications to all AAPD members every three years. Besides their CVs and documentation of their professional accomplishments and future goals, applicants also must demonstrate how their participation in the program will benefit their volunteer pursuits outside of organized dentistry.

In 2012 the AAPD established an Advanced Leadership Institute at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. This is available to graduates of the Kellogg program. The first Wharton cohort helped AAPD to develop a new, streamlined strategic plan.

In 2017, you launched “Pedo Teeth Talks” podcasts. Will you continue? And what’s new for 2018? 

AAPD: Podcasts have been very successful in reaching our audience. We have kept them to a short time frame, making it easy for our members to digest the content. During the AAPD 2018 Annual Session, we will have the opportunity to capture more content for Pedo Teeth Talk as we interview experts speaking at the meeting.

Another big AAPD development in 2018 will be the release of a pediatric dentist workforce report, which will be disseminated to policymakers and the media. It was developed under contract with the Center for Health Workforce Studies, University at Albany, SUNY.

Written by Connie Arkus, freelance contributor

Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact connie@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed. 

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

Celebrating Associations: NJCPA’s Digital Transformation

Celebrating Associations is a blog produced by .orgCommunity that highlights achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.

This issue is exclusively sponsored by Results Direct.

Association and History: Founded in 1898, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) is the largest professional organization serving the needs of the state’s CPAs and aspiring CPAs. NJCPA offers CelebratingAssociations-Dots-LessTextmore than 500 continuing education programs each year, as well as other networking, leadership and volunteer opportunities. There are 11 chapters and numerous committees and interest groups made up of hundreds of CPA volunteers. NJCPA actively lobbies the state legislature, and promotes the integrity, objectivity, competence and professionalism of CPAs and the quality of their services.

 About Its Members: With a membership of more than 14,000, the NJCPA represents the majority of New Jersey CPAs in public practice, business and industry, government and education.

We’re Celebrating at NJCPA Because: of the impact its new digital strategy is having on operations, culture and customers. What started as a simple need to redesign its website prompted NJCPA to look at its organization more holistically and rethink how it services member needs. To support NJCPA’s transformation, Results Direct provided a comprehensive digital strategy in 2014. The organization has responded by reshaping itself from the inside out.

We’ll Learn More in an Interview with:

  • NJCPA Chief Marketing Officer Don Meyer
  • NJCPA Brand & Marketing Strategist Heather Weddle
  • NJCPA Content & Communications Manager Rachael Bell
  • Result Direct’s Senior Solutions Consultant Alex Mouw, CAE

Q: How did NJCPA’s need for a website redesign spark an organizational transformation?

A: (Mouw) Results Direct has had an ongoing partnership with NJCPA. We first started to work together on a redesign project in 2009 (launched in 2010) that focused on information architecture and graphic design. Needs continued to evolve and NJCPA requested help on another redesign in 2013. That design focused more on content strategy and user experience. At the conclusion of that project, a need for a digital strategy was determined and delivered.

(Weddle) We had a number of platforms and systems (website, AMS, CMS, email, marketing automation) that weren’t working in unison to drive transactions or desired outcomes. We were in need of strategic, best-practice guidance to align all these systems and technology to better support our efforts. The website was a snapshot of how we were working as an organization and what we needed to do to work smarter: a better understanding of goals, cross-departmental collaboration, and improved automation. Everyone needed to realize that we’re all on the same team, going after the same goal.

(Meyer) The website is our most publically visible tool. Historically, it had been good at informing, but it needed to transform into a more sales and lead-nurturing implement—driving engagement, exchanges and transactions. We were not nurturing new customers. We had to get people to understand the website is part of a bigger ecosystem of communication platforms. The key was getting buy-in, approval and guidance from upper management—the CEO, COO, CFO and CLO.


Q: What issues does the digital strategy aim to solve?

A: (Mouw) The document is a 10-page executive brief that provides a summary of current challenges and recommendations for short-term and long-term strategies and tactics to address those challenges and organizational goals. The deliverables also included “swim-lanes” to demonstrate the data flow and intersections of information between NJCPA’s key online communications channels (website, email, community, social) and helped them to identify opportunities to better connect systems and information to deliver superior user experiences.

(Meyer) We weren’t evolving because we weren’t getting the 360-degree behavior view of the customer. We needed to change in order to deal with change. Half of our membership is part of the baby boomer generation and retiring within the next 15 years. The number of people taking the CPA exam has flattened. More baby boomers are leaving the profession than the number of millennials entering it. How can we remain relevant to our customer base in this changing environment?

The digital strategy helped us focus on a new approach—a complete departure from how we operated for 10-plus years, from our budgeting to our day-to-day work. It taught us that we constantly need to adjust ourselves to be in tune with what our customers want. We’re now trying to build solutions and experiences based on customer behavior and what they are asking us to do. It’s a new philosophy.

(Weddle) NJCPA has historically been driven by program goals. The former website was an example of that. The problem with that was trying to meet and prioritize everyone’s wants and needs–it was like playing political football. The fact is we are all equally responsible for those programs and successes. The team realized that they would be more effective if the departments could work together.

Q: Describe how the digital strategy has made an impact. What elements of the strategy have been implemented? What have been the results?

A: (Bell) Results Direct introduced the “swim lane” concept to us. It’s about creating paths different users can take so they are not just doing one thing and leaving the site. The purpose is to lead users on a journey by highlighting related items to that visitor. We approached the [most recent] website redesign differently than before—we focused more on the new navigation and structure vs. the [creative]. We had focus groups, scenario-based navigation testing, several iterations of the new navigation—a lot of testing and tweaking. Before the redesign, the website navigation was based on how NJCPA was structured internally instead of being driven by user needs. Now the website is action-oriented and customer-focused. For example, each navigation area is a verb: “Become a CPA,” “Connect With Our Community,” “Advance Your Career,” “Earn CPE,” “Stay Informed,” and “Give Back.”


(Meyer) The strides we’ve made in 18 months is astonishing. Marketing communications didn’t have a strategic seat at the table, and operated more like an order taker for the organization. The digital strategy made the case for marketing, branding, and communications being a part of strategically leading the NJCPA. As a result, the COO approached me with merging membership with the marketing and communications department. Both had the same goal: attract CPAs to join the membership. This was the beginning of breaking down long-standing silos. In January 2016, we also centralized all communication and content functions under Rachael. With this consolidation, we can align the website, magazine and all other communications.

The organization also created several cross-departmental teams that create projects and drive initiatives together. These teams have been able to build alliances, establish trust, and become places for new ideas and suggestions for improvements:

  • Senior Executive Committee. Sets and oversees NJCPA’s strategic direction, priorities and policies and reports to the NJCPA Executive Committee. Meets monthly.
  • Senior Management Team. Supports and reports to the Senior Executive Committee in the management and execution of operational initiatives and the communication of organizational goals to staff. Meets monthly.
  • Program Evaluation Team. Evaluates programs to: a) determine whether resources are effectively allocated to deliver upon the organization’s mission and strategic priorities, b) establish key performance metrics, and c) assesses performance. Reports to the Senior Executive Committee and meets as necessary.
  • Risk Management Committee. Oversees the development, implementation and monitoring of loss prevention programs throughout the organization. Reports to the Board of Trustees and meets quarterly.
  • Content Steering Team. Supports the development, delivery and promotion of content to drive business leads, influence customer markets and grow the brand. Reports to the Chief Marketing Officer and meets quarterly.
  • Information Technology Advisory Team. Proposes IT enhancements to increase staff efficiency and effectiveness, and improve the customer experience. Reports to the COO and meets every other month.
  • Disaster Recovery Team. Responsible for maintaining the Disaster Recovery Plan and communicating updates and changes to staff. Reports to the COO and meets annually or as needed.

(Bell) We updated our taxonomy for the first time since 2001, and involved members with this process. The taxonomy is what we use to tag everything—articles, events, videos. Because everything is tagged, we can highlight other articles, events, and resources that match a user’s area of interest. It helps us facilitate those “swim lanes” and get people to move from one thing to the next. We further leverage the taxonomy by offering two fully customized e-newsletters. Each recipient receives content that matches their demographics and areas of interest. The updated taxonomy was what we needed to deliver valuable, personalized content and opportunities.

We also have unified all our platforms creatively—we’ve updated all the fonts and top-level messaging for our emails, newsletters, social media so we can unify the customer experience.

Q: What else is in the works?

A: (Bell) We are in the process of developing a behavioral data warehouse. What members tell us they are interested in and what their behavior shows us they are interested in can be rather different. We are working with Results Direct to merge data from several platforms (website, online community, Google analytics, email marketing and marketing automation tools) to track and collect information to help us do a better job serving members. We are trying to build an infrastructure that will enable customers get to information they want, when and how they want it (blog posts, community discussions, etc.)

We’re really driven today by best practices in the technology space, not the association space. Members are expecting a for-profit online experience (like banking, shopping, ordering food) from their professional associations.

(Weddle) We’ve built a big part of the foundation. The ultimate litmus test will be: Did we meet membership recruitment and retention goals? Our next step is to ensure our technology infrastructure is equipped for us to evolve and to support what our marketplace is asking us to do. Most associations are going to have to rethink their technology “stack”. How are all their technology components connected? Is it doing what they need it to do today, tomorrow—and three years from tomorrow? Do we have what we need to get where we’re going?

Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact heather@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed.

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

A Message from Our Sponsor: Results Direct is a leading web and mobile solutions firm based in Alexandria, Va. For more than 20 years,

RD_Logo_HighRes-BLUE-GreenTag.png Results Direct has guided the nation’s top associations in crafting and implementing online and mobile strategies that have included:

  • Strategic Consulting
  • Responsive Design
  • Content Management Systems
  • Mobile Strategy
  • Mobile Apps
  • Systems Integration
  • Hosting

Results Direct collaborates with more than 100 forward-thinking associations who look to us for innovative and user-focused solutions. Clients include:

  • ASAE
  • National PTA


Celebrating Associations: How CHEST Took Operational Transformation to Heart

Celebrating Associations is a blog produced by .orgCommunity that highlights achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.

This issue is exclusively sponsored by Web Courseworks Ltd.

Association and History: Founded in 1935 by a single patient, CHEST (the American College of Chest Physicians) aims to advance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of chest diseases through education, communication, and research. The Glenview, Ill.-based nonprofit offers content in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine throught its CelebratingAssociations-Dots-LessTextjournal CHEST, year-round meetings, live and online courses, books, and mobile apps. Accredited by ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education) and the Society for Simulation in Healthcare, CHEST also provides simulation education. The CHEST Foundation provides clinical research and community service grants, patient education tools, and more.

About Its Members: With more than 19,000 members and 60,000 customers, CHEST serves a variety of chest medicine professionals who deliver patient care in more than 100 countries. The CHEST community includes physicians specializing in pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatric pulmonologists, anesthesiologists, general medicine physicians, hospitalists, and more. Beyond physicians, CHEST also engages advanced practice nurses, fellows-in-training, medical students, interns, residents, physician assistants, registered nurses, respiratory therapists, practice administrators, and industry professionals.

We’re Celebrating at CHEST Because: At the end of April, CHEST will have successfully completed its first full year since implementation of a new association management system (AMS) and new membership model.

And Also Because: CHEST is continuing to innovate in response to challenges facing all organizations—demographic changes, technology evolvement, and the shift from growing “membership” to growing “engagement of the profession”. Whether it’s understanding the impact of Millennials on the market, responding to the need to “go mobile” with education and communications, or thinking about how to respond to all customers—not just members—CHEST’s staff and volunteer leadership continues to innovate.

We’ll Learn More in an Interview With: Paul A. Markowski, CHEST’s Executive Vice President & Chief Executive Officer, and Ronald M. Moen, CHEST’s Chief Information Officer.

Q: What do you think CHEST has done particularly well in the last couple of years? 

A: We are less structured on a membership based on titles, degrees and clinical categories—we are more open-armed. CHEST welcomes all who provide clinical care for patients with chest disease, engaging physicians as well as other providers such as nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, and physician assistants. In the past, the community was more physician-focused and had fewer categories of membership. Now we are less of a physicians-only organization, and more about the delivery of team-based care and great patient outcomes.

At the same time, we are going more “niche.” We have found that is better than trying to be everything to everybody. We are more clear, more focused on what we’re good at, which is clinical education.

CHEST’s new headquarters in Glenview, Ill.

Q: Describe in more detail the physical and philosophical changes CHEST has recently made to deliver on its mission and value.

A: During a three to four-year endeavor, we brought together leaders from all the different departments—from governance to education to marketing to publications—to choose optimal technology solutions for our internal and external customers. Our robust, new AMS/CRM was launched last spring to improve and simplify the way the CHEST community engages with the organization online. We also embarked on a new LMS, CMS, and self-service website within the past four years—as well as moved to a new built-to-suit headquarters building. Not many organizations have the fortitude to take on all of these initiatives in the same time span. But if you don’t have this synchronization of technology and operations, you can’t get the 360-degree view of the member.

The synchronization and roll out of the technology is paying off in spades. From improved membership renewal processes to pushing out product and service recommendations, the expectations and adoptions of the new technology are high. Success at the end overshadowed what we went through, but should not minimize the challenges, even drama at times, and the sweat equity of staff taking on as much as they did—almost doubling what they were doing by leading us through design and implementation of new solutions.

Along with implementing new technology, we launched a new membership model last spring. Since its launch, we’ve been able to retain more than 90 percent of existing members, while increasing membership across every targeted growth segment—from non-physician health care professionals and industry members, to global members and all levels and types of clinicians in training.

We also now evaluate new project ideas through a strategic gating process. While an idea may seem good and necessary, the timing may not be optimal or the idea may not be revenue producing. With gating in place, we make data-driven decisions.

Q: What changes at CHEST are on the horizon? What new offerings or improvements are being planned for internal and external customers?

A: We’re now looking at a new growth strategy. We’re opening ourselves up for new communities to participate with us. We’re creating opportunities to offer and distribute education digitally. For instance, this fall CHEST will be offering 90 online courses that will be mobile enabled and CME eligible as we see a lot of continuing medical education is more adaptable to “burst learning”.

We have changed our content and marketing strategy. It’s no longer about what you make and push out. It’s about what you have and can make available for people to obtain when and how they want it. It’s making the right content available to them at the right time on the right device. It’s a very different way for organizations to think. It’s a change from classic product marketing to content marketing—so everything is ready for when the consumer needs it. We just need to make sure our brand and content is well enough known.

CHEST has been providing simulation-based, hands-on education for more than a decade. We are now working on attracting more societies to host their simulation training in our new facility. These groups can construct their content and faculty, but not have to make the infrastructure investment. We are a great bridge from research and development to the real ICU. In addition, we rent out space for non-clinical purposes—such as leadership retreats—as it is an innovative meeting space outside the clinical realm.

Q: What’s a particular challenge that CHEST faces?

A: Being able to consistently deliver high-quality education experiences globally, keeping in the mind the competency, culture and levels of sophistication of various countries. For example, CHEST is now in China helping to create a subspecialty in pulmonary and critical care—something the United States did 30 years ago. It’s a daunting task to manage the desire of hundreds of physicians in China who want to be trained in this subspecialty while working with the Chinese government and health ministry.

Q: If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish or obtain anything for CHEST, what would it be?

A: More “patience” and “patients” for our physicians and community members. The immediacy of the medical community to have the “here and now” is always a challenge. Wanting to be the first with knowledge and being up to date is a very challenging balancing act.

Also important is maximizing and optimizing our simulation training center as well as making our on-demand, online education more readily available so folks don’t have to come to a live-learning session to access important training.

And increasing our business intelligence to make even more informed decisions and identify future customers is always a desire.

Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact heather@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed. 

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

This issue is proudly sponsored by Web Courseworks Ltd.

BluBlk_tagline_2014A Message From Our Sponsor
At Web Courseworks Ltd., we believe that online learning should be so engaging, accessible, and impactful that it changes learners and improves the quality of their practice.

So we designed and developed CourseStage LMS to help associations and nonprofits deliver on-demand online learning, and connect learners in place-based live and virtual live events into a centralized learning platform. Our clients use CourseStage LMS to expand their educational influence in their markets, to increase revenue from their education departments, and to serve their members with outstanding credit and certification-awarding learning experiences. Lifelong learners find their home in CourseStage, and associations find a long-term, broad-based partner in Web Courseworks.

Celebrating Associations: American College of Healthcare Executives

Celebrating Associations is a blog produced by .orgCommunity that highlights achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.


Association and History: The American College of Healthcare Executives is an international professional society for health care executives dedicated to improving health care delivery. It offers:

  • The FACHE® credential
  • 79 chapters that provide networking, education and career development at the local level
  • Healthcare Executive magazine
  • Career services and development
  • Books and journals on health services management including textbooks for college and university courses

The Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives advances health care management excellence through education and research—including the annual Congress on Healthcare Leadership.

About Its Members: ACHE’s 48,000 health care executive members lead hospitals, health care systems, and other health care organizations.

We’re celebrating at ACHE because…of a successful 2016 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, held March 14-17 in Chicago.

And also because…of its CareerEDGE™ program, an interactive and comprehensive tool for planning and managing careers at any level—available as a complimentary benefit to ACHE members.

We’ll learn more in an interview with Elizabeth Summy, CAE, ACHE’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, who leads the organization’s career services, communications and marketing, Health Administration Press, human resources, management information systems, member services, performance excellence and professional development areas.

Q: What makes the recent ACHE Congress an event to celebrate? 

A: We’re thrilled about this year’s annual congress—the 2016 Congress on Healthcare Leadership—that occurred this March in Chicago. It’s our premier event and the 58th annual meeting we’ve held.

Running a conference for more than 4,000 attendees can be challenging, but we do it really well. There wasn’t a blip on the radar. Satisfaction was high. Buzz was good. It was incredibly well executed, and that speaks to the professionalism and commitment of ACHE staff and their focus on creating a great member experience.


This year, we introduced several new aspects to the congress. Our new career resource center was very popular—more than 600 members signed up to have their resumes reviewed by volunteers. We also held mini-courses called “theaters”—similar to TED Talk-style presentations—that were very well received. Authors and speakers each gave 15-minute talks, which is very different from our traditional 1.5-hour and 3-hour-long sessions. We wanted to revitalize our exhibit hall so we held the theaters there. We also added more lounges and a photo booth.

ACHE Congress white boards
New addition to ACHE’s annual congress: Inspirational white boards Credit: ACHE/ICDA

Another fun addition was adding white boards in the hallways. One of our meeting planners came up with six questions and laminated each one on individual white boards. Questions included: How many congresses have you attended? What’s the best part of being an ACHE member? What is your leadership advice? By the end of the congress, the posters were completely covered with comments from attendees. It was a really great way to engage attendees. We really didn’t have to promote them—they were in a visible location and folks either stopped to add comments or to read what was written.

2016 FACHE convocation ceremony
2016 FACHE convocation ceremony Credit: ACHE/ICDA





At the annual congress, we preserve a lot of tradition—like our convocation ceremony for new ACHE Fellows—but also do little things to create a new buzz. We want attendees to leave the conference remembering what they learned and how they felt—welcomed into a great community of leaders.

Q: Tell us more about CareerEDGE, and why it’s so popular.

A: CareerEDGE launched in May last year. Within seven to eight months, 1,300 members had created accounts. CareerEDGE is a career portal that can be personalized to one’s career stage. It offers resources to help minimize gaps and increase marketability. Users can access tools to create a career plan, take assessments such as Emotional Intelligence or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, create customized job feeds, and find a mentor or coach.

It also provides a planning framework for thinking about career success in health care, and a process for clarifying goals and identifying competencies required for success. In addition, CareerEDGE participants can use the portal to stay abreast of ACHE events and services to help with networking and professional development.

A new product, InterviewEDGE, was launched at the congress. InterviewEDGE is an online interview tool used for practice on answering sample interview questions that are organized by leadership position or management role. Answers are recorded so you can review your responses and make adjustments before stepping into a real interview.

Q: If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish or obtain anything for ACHE, what would it be?

A: I’d like to be on the other side of implementing our AMS, NetFORUM. A year from now when this system is live, it will change the way we do our work—in a good way. The opportunities we have with a new AMS will be exciting and transformative. It will allow us to better understand our membership and create a better member experience. It’s going to make us more efficient, build capabilities that will allow the organization to grow, provide better content management, enhance our ability to deliver education, and create a more dynamic website.

Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing associations over the next 10 years?

A: Continuing to be a highly adaptive business and right-sizing offerings to reach respective audiences.

Q: What do you enjoy most working for ACHE?

A: I’ve been involved in health care my entire career through the acute care, policy and association sectors. I also have my master’s degree in health administration. In June 2013, I joined ACHE and truly feel like an instrument in advancing health care management excellence.

ACHE offers superior education and customer experience. The organization is committed and dedicated to helping our members and creating a community that supports them. ACHE is focused on performance excellence, and I’m proud to be part of an organization that’s always trying to do better.

Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact heather@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed. 

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.


Celebrating Associations: Association for Corporate Growth

Celebrating Associations is a weekly blog produced by .orgCommunity, celebrating the achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.

CelebratingAssociations-Dots-LessTextAssociation and History: Founded in 1954, the Association for Corporate Growth has 59 chapters and 14,500 members around the world. ACG serves 90,000 investors, executives, lenders and advisers to growing middle-market companies. ACG’s mission is to drive middle-market growth. Headquartered in Chicago, ACG provides events, online tools, structured networking opportunities, market intelligence and other business-building resources for middle-market dealmakers and business leaders who invest in growth and build companies.

About its Members: ACG brings together every segment of the growth community. They include private equity professionals, investment bankers and intermediaries, attorneys, auditors and accountants, lenders, corporate development officers, company leaders and others focused on the middle market.

We’re Celebrating at the ACG Because … of its popular suite of media offerings created just three years ago, which includes a digital magazine, Middle Market Growth website, weekly e-newsletter and daily newsfeed. MMG media keeps more than 90,000 middle-market dealmaking professionals up to date on news, trends, best practices and thought leadership on all segments of the middle market.

MMG.Org screen shot

We’ll learn more in an interview with Kristin Gomez, ACG’s vice president, communications & marketing.

Q: What do you think ACG has done particularly well in the last couple of years?

A: Over the last three years, ACG has ramped up its communications efforts in so many ways. First, we launched a monthly digital magazine—Middle Market Growth. Next, we introduced an additional rebranded suite of smaller digital media that includes: podcasts, videos, webinars, and daily and weekly newsletters. We have ramped up our social media efforts and use our network to push out important content and also keep track of what’s happening in the private equity industry. Lastly, we have introduced brand standards, creating a more polished look and feel for everything that is communicated to our members and external audiences. It’s a huge effort completed by a great team of marketing, creative, editorial and communication professionals who work on the team.

Q: What’s a particular challenge that ACG faces?

A: On the communication front, competing in an age of information overload is a challenge for ACG, as it is for all association publishers who are trying to get their content in front of key audiences. Because ACG members are professionals in the private equity space, our readership goes first to major publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Bloomberg in addition to smaller, specialized industry publications.

While these publications are typically the first stop for our members, it does provide ACG the opportunity to use our publications to cover the latest trends and news specific to our industry and from the point of view of our members and their peers. We do this by focusing on not only the latest deals and investment patterns, but by showcasing the people who are doing the deals. The human curiosity of “who’s featured this month in MMG” works in our favor.

The other challenge—and this goes for all publications and most media—is revenue. We are constantly trying to figure out ways to attract advertisers and develop content offerings that support the financial weight of producing the magazine without compromising the integrity of our publications.

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Q: If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish or obtain anything for ACG, what would it be?

A: Greater continuity between our chapters. ACG is a global organization with 59 chapters worldwide and they are the lifeblood of the organization. However, their size difference and membership mix creates varied challenges that must be met with a customized approach. Because they are the local presence, it’s critically important that they are supported and have a strong footprint in their communities.

My biggest wish is that we had more tools to help on a daily basis to attract new members and retain existing members. We are currently working on that at the global level. We are finding that the most desired tools are marketing and communication resources. By the end of the year, we hope to have built an entire library of marketing and communications tools available to all chapters through our new web portal. So if a chapter is looking to promote an event, create a new newsletter or find best practices to recruit and retain members, they can rely on the global headquarters for the guidance and resources they need.

Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing associations over the next 10 years?

A: Membership. I think declining membership and the association structure as we know it is not the most sustainable model to cater to the Millennial generation and beyond. Working in associations for the last 12 years, I see a shift in the needs and wants of these new and up-and-coming professionals. No longer is the “I’m a card-carrying member” mantra of any prestige to this group. They want a sense of belonging, community, an opportunity to network and a place to develop their career. They can get that in other places beyond associations today. Also, there is a lot of dogma in associations and change is not as quick as it should be so this becomes less of a value proposition to a younger generation.

My wish for ACG is that it is able to embrace a new crop of financial professionals and quickly assimilate them into the leadership of this organization. I believe it’s a risk to make this demographic wait years to get on important committees and the boards of directors. Their opinion can sway peers to either join ACG and invest in the organization or choose to search elsewhere because they feel there isn’t a place for them here. The good news is that many of our 59 chapters have picked up on this trend and have created programs to include professionals under 35 into their leadership structure as well as offer events and programing that connects Millennials to each other and more seasoned professionals in ACG. In this way they are bridging “the gap,” resulting in a happier, more loyal member.

Q: What do you enjoy most working for ACG?

A: Hands down, the people. We meet so many great people through Middle Market Growth. The magazine has given ACG the opportunity to interview and meet countless top financial professionals who buy and grow middle-market companies and brands as well as feature the accomplishments and stories of our members. It’s been a true honor to hear from such educated and visionary people, and it’s a pleasure working for this industry.

Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its profession or for its operations? How is your organization delivering on its mission and its strategic plan? Contact heather@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed. 

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

Celebrating Associations: Orthopaedic Trauma Association

Celebrating Associations is a weekly blog produced by .orgCommunity, celebrating the achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.

CelebratingAssociations-Dots-LessTextAssociation and History: Nearly 2,000 members worldwide belong to the Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA), which has been shaping musculoskeletal injury care for 32 years. The Rosemont, Ill.-based association provides the most current information on diagnosis, optimum treatments and ways to treat and prevent traumatic musculoskeletal injury to bone, muscle, ligaments, tendons and the spinal cord. In 2015, OTA transitioned from third-party management to being self-managed. OTA now experiences more independence for initiating complex business administrative projects and developing alliances.

About its Members: OTA represents orthopaedic trauma surgeons, as well as researchers, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents and fellows.

We’re Celebrating at the OTA Because … of its many meaningful collaborations with other groups that are advancing OTA, the specialty and the orthopaedic field as a whole.

We’ll learn more about OTA’s inter-organizational collaboration in an interview with OTA Executive Director Kathleen Caswell, CAE.

Q: What’s a particular challenge that OTA faces?

A: Our members are highly engaged, really forward-thinking people. They have more great ideas than we can possibly keep up with. We are a small association, with only seven full-time and three part-time staff. To overcome unlimited resources in staff and funding, we’ve entered a number of partnerships. These partnerships make it possible for us to do things we may not be able to do alone.

Q: What are some of these partnerships, and how are they beneficial to OTA and its members?

A: There are six examples I’ll share of partnerships that help move our mission forward.

  • PSAs. OTA partners with American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to increase awareness about a variety of safety topics through jointly funded public service announcements ranging from motorcycle and ATV safety to distracted driving and falling prevention. With both societies’ logos attached to the PSAs, the messages are more impactful and more credible.
  • Research grants. Research and education are core to OTA’s mission. Through multi-center projects and multi-organizational funding, OTA can help with offering larger grants that support members with cutting-edge research leading to breakthroughs addressing orthopaedic trauma. OTA along with the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), AO Foundation, Society of Military Orthopaedic Surgeons (SOMOS), among others, pull resources to support research to improve function, eliminate pain, and restore mobility that individual organizations couldn’t fund on their own.
  • Disaster preparedness and response. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, OTA joined forces with several specialty organizations, including AAOS, SOMOS and POSNA to leverage their expertise and help the field better prepare for and respond to disaster situations. The team provides a customized, orthopaedic-specific training course to help prepare members for service in disaster situations. The project team also helped create and populate the AAOS-Registered Responder Database, which connects trained volunteers with response agencies in the event of a disaster. Through the recent escalation of mass casualty events and terrorism, the Disaster Preparedness Project Team realized an even greater need for a more organized approach to disaster response, and is working to identify opportunity to strengthen and improve disaster preparedness into the future.
    OTA President Theodore Miclau, III, MD, at the Indian Orthopeadic Association’s 60th Annual Conference in December 2015 in Jaipur.


  • International knowledge exchange. OTA initiated a “Guest Nation” program in 2011 for sharing knowledge and experience with international colleagues. For example, the OTA entered a destination program with the Indian Orthopeadic Association (IOA) in 2015: OTA members delivered an education trauma presentation at the IOA’s annual meeting in December. In return, representatives from IOA will participate as symposium presenters at the OTA Annual Meeting in October. OTA is providing complimentary meeting registration and booth space for IOA and is offering a one-year complimentary membership to interested colleagues from India provided that they meet the current membership requirements. Since 2011, similar arrangements were made with organizations in Germany, Brazil, China, Mexico and Italy.
  • Advanced education. Sometimes these alliances are as simple as partnering with one specialty group. During the AAOS Specialty Day in March, the OTA and the American Orthopeadic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) will take part in a half-day joint session and offer scientific programming relevant to both audiences.
  • Scholarship offerings. OTA partners with SIGN Fracture Care International—a humanitarian group assisting orthopaedic surgeons in 52 developing countries with surgical implants and training. Each year, two SIGN scholars receive a $10,000 scholarship to attend the OTA Annual Meeting. A SIGN fracture lab is also offered at the OTA Annual Meeting.

Q: Who gets the credit for recognizing these opportunities to collaborate?

A: The leadership of both the OTA and partnering organizations—which includes many doctors who are also great visionaries. And some credit also goes to the staff offices, who implement the initiatives.

Q: If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish or obtain anything for OTA, what would it be?

A: It would be increased resources to allow us to move forward with all the great ideas from the OTA leadership and membership. There are more ideas and initiatives than there is funding and manpower.

Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing associations over the next 10 years?

A: Member engagement of younger generations and making sure what you offer is relevant and meaningful. You must demonstrate how you are changing with the times. Also, funding is a challenge—whether those resources come from the industry, government or dues-paying individuals—and probably will continue to be a challenge.

Q: What do you enjoy most working for OTA?

A: The work the field does is meaningful and important. We work with a passionate group of doctors that continues to raise the bar for the type of care they provide to patients. Their passion is contagious.

Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its industry or for its operations? Contact heather@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed.

Not yet a .orgCommunity member? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

Celebrating Associations: APICS

Celebrating Associations is a weekly blog produced by .orgCommunity, celebrating the achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.

Association and History: CelebratingAssociations-Dots-LessTextAPICS is the professional society for supply chain and operations management professionals.  It provides research, education and certification programs to advance supply chain excellence and innovation. In 1957, 20 production control managers met in Cleveland to form the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS). It became an international organization in 1961, upon chartering the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, chapter. Today, APICS stands more than 45,000 members strong—headquartered in Chicago, but representing supply chain management professionals around the world.

About its Members: APICS professional members either support or serve various areas of end-to-end supply chain and operations management. About 80 percent of the membership is based in North America, while 20 percent is located throughout the world. Individuals and companies belonging to APICS may participate in education and training, access industry publications and research, and pursue internationally recognized designations. APICS credentials include: Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Supply Chain Operations Reference Professional (SCOR-P).  Later in 2016 APICS is launching a new credential: Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD).

We’re Celebrating at APICS Because … its membership strategy is improving member retention rates and helping APICS to grow.

We’ll learn more about efforts and outcomes in an interview with Jim Pavletich, CAE, APICS’ vice president of membership and customer experience, who leads the organization’s membership acquisition and retention strategy and oversees customer service and fulfillment.

Q: What drove the new membership strategy?

A: APICS leadership recognized that we had a problem with retaining members. My responsibility upon joining APICS in 2014 was to implement a membership strategy that would increase the value of membership to each individual member. APICS’ overall membership retention rate was at 64 percent; the goal for this strategy was to increase membership—for all dues-paying categories—to more than 70 percent. In 2015, we achieved 67 percent retention. This year, the goal is 70 percent retention.

Q: Describe some of the efforts underway.

A: In short, we have made a significant IT investment to better understand what our members are seeking from us. We now obtain the reason—the motivator—for members joining or renewing. We ask members to select one of several different motivators, which include: starting or advancing your career, enhancing your professional value, staying informed of industry developments, expanding your professional network, or seeking leadership opportunities within APICS. We now also track purchases, downloads and activity on our website per individual.

Based on “motivator” responses and activity tracking, we may change how we approach individuals. APICS offers dozens of “universal” membership benefits. So once we learn of an individual’s membership motivation and track their activity for a period of time, we essentially shuffle the list of benefits and bring to the top—once they log into the website or access the newly released membership mobile app—the most relevant benefits that meets what that particular member is seeking.

In December 2015, we also put in place a way to measure member engagement. Members are assigned a numeric value in the database that measures their engagement level based on an index. We zeroed in on several variables: how often a member logs into the website, whether the member attended the annual conference, if the member is a chapter officer, is in their first year of membership, has purchased a product or service, or has taken a certification exam. We process this information in the database and compare it against the data collected to arrive at a composite engagement score. Last year, the average composite engagement score was 17.5 for professional members; we want to improve that score by 5 points this year by increasing product sales and increasing the number of members accessing the website.

Meet the APICS membership team, which is delivering on the organization’s membership strategy. Pictured L to R: Steve Aspacher, Bryan Warren, Dana Day, Scott Parker, Kathleen Schroeder and Jim Pavletich.

Q: What indicates whether a member is at risk and requires attention versus one who does not?

A: We are working on member communications plans for various levels of engagement. For those scoring between zero and 20, we will have certain, targeted messaging about what we can do for them to improve their experience and also a plan for how often we will contact them. We will consider the outreach a success if we can get them to retain their membership.

Q: Any other new membership endeavors worth sharing?

A: We will be rolling out new membership benefit bundles in the months ahead to reward members for increased engagement. For example, those pursuing either the CSCP or CPIM credentials can elect to pay a bit more for the CSCP or CPIM membership bundle (versus the “core” membership package) and will then receive discounts on preparation materials, exam fees, certification frame or plaque, etc.

APICS’ Bryan Warren holds an iPad displaying the new APICS membership app.

Also, we’ve noticed that once people earn their certification, a lot of members stop their membership. We are hoping to reverse this trend by encouraging members to elect the less expensive, core membership bundle after they receive their certification and need contact hours to maintain it.

In addition, we no longer charge students for membership. As a result, we have seen a 66 percent increase in this membership segment in 2015 (About 7,000 APICS members are students).

Finally, we’re implementing web evaluation software so that members and customers can provide feedback on website navigation, content, look and feel, and performance to help us know where to target ongoing improvement. We will benchmark the website scores against Fortune 500 companies who also are using this software. We recently started to A/B test web pages—splitting among users the pages they see and measuring outcomes, so that we can know what our visitors prefer. This year we plan to make the entire APICS website responsive so that it delivers an optimal experience across all devices—smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.

Q: Are you pleased with the results from all of these efforts?

A: Yes, we’re already seeing positive results from the pieces of this strategy that have been put into place. All of these changes are driving and showing value to members. Through this strategy, we are demonstrating to our members that we get who they are, and that we can tailor our offerings to what they are seeking.

Share YOUR Story: What great things is your association doing for its industry or for its operations? Contact heather@orgcommunity.com for details about submitting a story or to be interviewed.

Not yet a member of .orgCommunity? Invest in yourself and your organization by joining the .orgCommunity, which nurtures innovation in leaders through peer-to-peer interactions and programming.

Celebrating Associations: EAST

Celebrating Associations is a series produced by .orgCommunity, celebrating the achievements of associations and the great impact on the industries they serve.

CelebratingAssociations-Dots-LessTextAssociation and History: The Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge to advance the care and rehabilitation of the injured patient. EAST places particular emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, scholarship, fellowship and developing leadership among young surgeons active in the care of the injured patient. It was founded in 1987 by a group of surgeons who wanted to provide an opportunity for young, aspiring trauma surgeons to exchange knowledge, discuss advancements in patient care and develop their careers within the discipline of surgery.

About Its Members: EAST has more than 2,000 members. Qualification for active membership requires an applicant to be a licensed physician, active in the field of trauma residing in the United States or Canada and in possession of a valid certificate from a surgical board which is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Other types of membership are also available.

We’re celebrating EAST because … A very simple change, adding a tagline to its established logo, help provide guidance to EAST’s staff and volunteer leadership on where they should focus their time and efforts.

And also because … By restructuring its governance structure, EAST has empowered a large share of its membership to get more involved in (and enthused about) the organization. Meanwhile, EAST has identified new ways to connect with its younger membership and to stand apart from similar organizations.

We’ll learn more in an interview with Christine Eme, EAST’s executive director.

Q. What do you think EAST has done particularly well in the last couple of years?

A. Because our name doesn’t really explain who we are, and it doesn’t really tell people who we are and what we do, I encouraged the EAST board to look at doing a quick tagline, not a redo of the logo, but to add something that succinctly captured who we are and what we do. So a year ago, we approved the addition of our tagline: Advancing Science, Fostering Relationships, and Building Careers. And that complements EAST’s five strategic goals, which I think do a nice job of explaining what EAST is and why EAST exists. But those (goals) aren’t as visible or prominent in our communications branding, so I wanted something short and sweet to be able to explain it. The tagline has really helped the volunteer leaders and myself focus on what we’re doing and what we’re all about. It really does a nice job of summarizing what the organization is about, which is the development of the younger trauma surgeon.

When we’re looking at new initiatives, or reviewing old initiatives, I always have the leadership try to tie it back to a strategic goal, the mission of the organization and now this tagline. And if we really can’t, then should we be doing it? I think the organization, the board and the other volunteer leaders have really embraced this tagline, because we’re certainly about science but also about that career development and relationship development, which is a little bit unique for a medical association.

The 2015 EAST Board of Directors and Section Chairs, gathered together at the organization’s 29th Annual Scientific Assembly in San Antonio, Texas, in January 2016. Photo by Frank Conorozzo, Full Capture Photography.

Q. How do you accomplish that relationship development?

A. We also underwent a restructuring of our organizational structure and our governance structure, where we identified strategic divisions and sections (i.e. committees), that fall under the divisions. We’ve really empowered a larger representation of our membership; individuals who are serving on the sections are more empowered to identify and develop new initiatives, implement current and existing initiatives, improve current initiatives and really be engaged. This new structure was approved in January 2015 but we’d been working toward the concept of the structure for two years. I’ve really seen an increased engagement and involvement and participation by individuals who are the volunteer leaders of EAST. Whereas in the past it was driven by the chair of a particular committee, there is more involvement from all of those serving on the sections of the organization. That’s really been satisfying for me to witness. There also seems to be an enthusiasm from the volunteer leaders that had previously been lacking.

Q. What’s a particular challenge that EAST faces?

A. It’s a challenge that probably existed several years ago and it’s not as challenging as it once was. That is being seen as a “player” in the trauma association community. Our related organization, the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma (AAST), is totally independent but related. EAST and AAST have a nice collaboration between the two organizations and mutual respect between the two organizations. We all have things to offer, and we’re not trying to duplicate what each other is doing. We’re complementing what the other organization is doing and that has been a goal for both organizations.  Achieving this goal is somewhat due to the staff of the two organizations – we’ve worked to improve the relationship between the two organizations. There still continues to be a healthy competition between the groups, but we’re also working to identify unique and different things that we’re doing, and those are things that may complement what AAST and other trauma-related organizations are doing.

The general session room at the 29th Annual EAST Scientific Assembly, held Jan. 12-16, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas. Photo by Frank Conorozzo, Full Capture Photography.

Q. If you could wave a magic wand and accomplish or obtain anything for EAST, what would it be?

A. That’s a hard one to answer, but I think it would come down to increasing the staff to be better positioned to implement new initiatives and continue to improve on the good things we’re already doing. I think during my tenure I’ve helped the organization be focused and really hone in on what they want to be doing and what we can be doing and doing that very well. I think that’s part of my responsibility – we can’t be all things to all people, so let’s do several things really well instead of many things not so well.

Q. Your Annual Scientific Assembly is unique. Tell us about that.

The 2016 EAST Foundation dodgeball tournament. Photo by Frank Conorozzo, Full Capture Photography.

A. It’s not your typical Annual Scientific Assembly. We really embrace the balance of science with the importance of networking and relationship building. I introduced a networking event at the meeting a couple years back … and it’s one of the more popular components of our meeting. It’s an opportunity to get face time with trauma leaders.

We really encourage people to have conversations. We have a dodgeball tournament; a bunch of trauma surgeons playing dodgeball – that’s part of not taking themselves too seriously! This organization is committed to providing opportunities for the younger practitioner to engage and talk with the leaders in trauma and acute care surgery. The individuals who are considered those leaders are particularly supportive and committed to that as well.

We also introduced about five years ago the idea of doing community outreach, before the official start of the Annual Scientific Assembly. This will be our fifth year offering an event at a local area high school speaking to students about the dangers of distracted and impaired driving. After the 2016 program EAST will have reached nearly 2,000 high school aged children. I’m proud of this program and the impact it has had each year on the local community where EAST hosts its Annual Scientific Assembly.

Q. What do you think the biggest challenge facing associations over the next 10 years will be?

A. Relevance. It’s a buzz word, but it’s important (when) there’s an association for everything. For instance, the trauma community is not a huge community, but there are three major associations related to trauma. How do you maintain your membership, and also make it a membership that they find worthwhile, not just write a check? Also, there’s so much available online and through other channels that doesn’t cost them anything. So how do we deliver these things in a unique way that perpetuates that community? The relevance issue is going to be the challenge.

The other challenge is keeping the volunteer leaders that you have involved and giving them meaningful things to do. There are people who will volunteer just to add it to their resume, we all get that. But if you’re not doing a good job of identifying the prime initiatives you want done, or the goals for the volunteer leaders, and then empowering them to be creative and do something with it, that is something at risk as well.

Q. What do you enjoy most working for EAST?

A. It’s a small staff, but I enjoy that. I have a great leadership and board that really allows me to do my job, to be the association professional and they appreciate and want to hear what I have to offer. I feel I’m able to talk candidly and openly with them about things. I really enjoy that, and I think they respect my position and knowledge as much as I respect their position and their passion for the organization. I thank them every year on the anniversary of my employment for the opportunity to work with them.

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