Meet the Inaugural Class of Emerging Leaders

In 2018, Association Forum introduced a new six-month program for rising stars in the association industry.

By The FORUM Magazine Editors

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In 2018, Association Forum introduced a new six-month program for rising stars in the association industry, which officially launched at Forum Forward 2018 with 15 young professionals.

The Emerging Leaders attended specialized sessions facilitated by leading association executives, strengthened their communication and leadership skills through one-on-one mentoring and delivered a presentation on Tribes by Seth Godin to an executive panel. The 2019 program will open for registration in March and kick off at Forum Forward 2019.

Keelin Billue

Keelin Billue, FAER Marketing Specialist, American Society of Anesthesiologists

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

Through the Emerging Leaders Program, I feel better prepared to navigate conflict more confidently. Additionally, it was great getting to know everyone in my cohort. They challenge and inspire me.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

I would tell other young professionals to continue learning in both traditional (courses, mentors, etc.) and non-traditional ways (try new things, accept failure, etc.). Also, always look at the data and use it to support your goals and plans.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

I’m motivated by creating consistent and delightful assets that make people want to donate. I’m also motivated by creating more efficient processes with my colleagues.

Something always in my bag is… besides the expected things, a case of googly eyes.

Jean Boisson

Jean Boisson, Talent Acquisition Specialist, American Osteopathic Association

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

The Emerging Leaders Program has provided me with invaluable techniques in managing organizational change and conflict. As a human resource professional, it’s imperative that we effectively communicate and drive change when necessary and mitigate conflicts when they arise.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

Write down your career goals and be intentional in pursuing them. Volunteer to take on new responsibilities and dedicate yourself to development and growing professionally. Also, NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!!!

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

I’m motivated by the opportunity to be significant. I was raised by two selfless individuals who migrated to the U.S. in search of a better future and I strive every day to show them that their struggles were not in vain.

In 2019, I’d like to… start a business!

Ashley Daly

Ashley Daly, Governance Operations Manager, Emergency Nurses Association

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

One of the many things I learned while being in the Emerging Leaders Program is how to advance professionally in my career. I learned that just because I currently specialize in one area, doesn’t mean I can’t take on other initiatives in other areas in order to advance in my career. Taking on new initiatives opens the doors to further opportunities!

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

The piece of advice I would give to other young professionals is to attend association events in order to gain further knowledge and experience. Attending association events allows you the opportunity to network with other professionals. Find yourself a mentor that will take you under their wings to help you network and grow professionally.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

One thing that motivates me professionally in the association industry is the thriving opportunities for growth. There are always numerous opportunities for advancement in the association industry.

My go-to coffee order is… a vanilla iced coffee with cream. Starbucks never disappoints!

Michelle Michellotti

Michelle Michelotti, Director of Online Learning, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

I have learned interesting insights from the Emerging Leaders Program. As I build my leadership strengths, I am learning new ways to achieve a greater impact. This course has taught me to understand the leader inside me and the executive judgement and decision-making challenges I may need to overcome in my career.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

Define who you are and what leader you want to become.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

The interest I have in my field of work is what motivates me as a young professional. Having that key mentor as my guide is what I really look for as a young professional.

If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would be… chocolate chip ice cream.

Michael Moran

Mike Moran, Director of Business Development, American Osteopathic Association

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

The power of communication. Quite a few associations endure similar challenges—connecting with association professionals outside of your association can help those in need learn about other’s experiences in conquering similar challenges.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

Maintain lines of professional communication with your peers both inside and outside of the association space, and inside and outside of your industry. Innovation and creativity can come from anywhere, but you have to be willing to find it.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

There is a pendulum shift in the association space that all leaders are focusing on: meaningful technological innovation. As a young professional given an opportunity to support an association in drafting their blueprints for technological innovation, it is quite inspiring and motiving.

In 2019, I’d like to… run 5 miles with my dog.

Stephen Rangel

Stephen Range, Digital Marketing Manager, CCIM Institute

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

It was eye-opening to hear stories from other association professionals who might not be in the same field as me yet understand what their experience is from a different perspective. It helps me be more conscious of other departments and their needs in my own association.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

Just keep striving. Even though you might not feel like you’re making a difference, you actually are. Don’t let an email that didn’t get the engagement you wanted, or a campaign that didn’t get the response you wanted, keep you down. Keep tweaking and improving yourself every day. You’ll eventually get where you want to be. Data is king.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

What motivates me is that one day my work will have an impact on greater society. Even though I might not have a direct impact on the commercial real estate industry today, I know that my work will help drive the industry in a positive and ethical direction.

Something always in my bag is… a pack of Ice Breakers mints because you never know if you’re going to meet the love of your life at any moment. You have to be prepared.

Allison Read

Allison Read, Associate Director, American Bar Association

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

The Emerging Leaders Program has provided me with tools to strategically plan a career path based on my specific goals and helped identify the education and experience needed for professional career advancement. Through our group discussions, including Executive Presence and A Day in the Life of a CEO, we gained valuable insight into the realities of holding a top-level position within an association.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

Be a sponge! Soak up as much knowledge as possible, whether it’s education provided by your association or participating in programs such as the Emerging Leaders Program. It is important to be as educated as possible in areas outside of your specific job function, especially if you are interested in executive and upper management positions. Most importantly, find a mentor and be a mentor to those in the association industry.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

Working with unpaid volunteer members who put in a tremendous number of hours to advance the mission of our organization and who are passionate about serving our members needs at the highest level is what motivates me the most. Association’s across the board are in a time of innovation, which I also find to be very exciting on a professional level.

In 2019, I’d like to… pass the CAE exam!

Vanessa Velasco

Vanessa Velasco, Senior Manager, WE Local, Marketing & Events, Society of Women Engineers

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

Being a part of the Emerging Leaders Program has given me the opportunity to meet and learn from leaders (in the industry) who are pursuing the same dreams and passions I have for my career. Hearing from their “lessons learned” and areas of opportunities has allowed me to re-align my tasks to best reach my career goal.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

I would offer a few bits of advice. Pursue the opportunities that cross your path. You may not always have the “okay,” but you have to be your best advocate—and remember, humility then honor. Get out of your (own) way! Be confident in your decisions and always seek knowledge (ASK) from someone who has been down your path.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

The Association’s members and the growth of team members I work with—whether that’s a direct or indirect report. I love watching them learn, thrive and grow. It’s important to share our knowledge and you never know the information you have how it can help someone (personally or professionally).

In 2019, I’d like to… visit at least five of the 15 highest waterfalls in the world. Norway, anyone?

Maggie Voves, Programs Coordinator American Society of Anesthesiologists

What did you learn through the Emerging Leaders Program that you will apply to your career?

To find new ways to look at your career to find new opportunities for growth and education. Learn from adverse experiences and apply new strategies to handle them.

What advice would you give to other young professionals looking to advance in their careers?

Always network. Building relationships is an invaluable benefit of the association industry.

What motivates you as a young professional in the association industry?

I’m motivated by working in an environment that encourages personal and professional development. Associations focus on the people that they serve and the ways to help and benefit them which gives our work meaning and value.

On a Sunday morning, you can find me… watching TV with my cats Hans and Yadi.

Emerging Leaders

About the Author

Written by the FORUM Magazine Editors.

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