Every Journey Starts with a Single Step

As association professionals, the paths we travel in our careers are rarely conventional.

By Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE


Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE President & CEO, Association Forum

This month’s issue of FORUM features an exploration of the fascinating career journey of Michele Leopold, director of collections & exhibitions at The Mint Museum. As association professionals, the paths we travel in our careers are rarely conventional, sometimes bumpy and often directed more by the whims of the winds then the routes we drew for ourselves. My journey to associations was unexpected like most. Having started as a temporary for a trade association in Washington, DC, I quickly realized the value of associations and became fascinated by the positive impact on our society and the collective ability to influence change.

At Association Forum, we seek to help our members both grow in their current positions and prepare for their next opportunity. It’s important for an attendee to walk out of a session with tangible takeaways that they can implement immediately at their organization, but we also want to provide big picture thinking and thought leadership that can be adapted to new and changing roles.

As part of our dedication to building the next generation of leaders and provide them the necessary skills that will help them climb the ladder to C-Suite, we have made a conscious effort to build programming around early-to mid-careerists. The Emerging Leaders Program, now in its second year, gathers a cohort of rising stars and put them through a rigorous and rewarding 6-month program based on developing leadership skills and putting them in the position to network and learn from established association executives.

Our Association Management Essentials program, featuring six in-depth half-day explorations into core management essentials, are custom-built for association professionals looking to bolster their abilities and grow their knowledge. The program expands on the education provided by Association 101, our cornerstone program for entry-level employees.

When we take a step back and look holistically at the full lineup of education and resources that we provide for our members, we are proud of our concentration on helping association professionals take the step down their career path, wherever that path may lead. And we know that when that route changes, we are there to help them set a new course towards success.

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi

About the Author

Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE President & CEO, Association Forum

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