Operating with Integrity

As a mission-based organization, it is imperative that we live our core values every day and exemplify them through our words and actions.

By Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE


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

At the outset of 2019, the United States found itself in a precarious position—we were 11 days into what would become the longest government shutdown in history. Around 800,000 workers would begin missing paychecks while still being required to show up for work, including the TSA agents who keep us safe when we travel.

As the shutdown dragged on, it was easy to feel helpless. But at Association Forum, we decided that we would not stand by and do nothing to help and support these government employees. One of our core values is Integrity, and given the opportunity to act upon that value, the Association Forum staff brainstormed ideas on how we could assist those furloughed employees who were suddenly without paychecks.

As a result of that impromptu ideation session, we put into action a fundraiser to buy Target gift cards for TSA agents at O’Hare and Midway airports. The hope was to assist in the purchase of groceries and other important day-to-day items and do our part to relieve the financial pressure that these federal employees were under. With help from Marc Anderson, COO of Choose Chicago, who put us in touch with executives at the airports to advise on the best way to provide these gift cards, we set up a GoFundMe and reached out to our members and board of directors to donate.

With the Association Forum Foundation matching every dollar that was donated, we raised $3,550 in a short time. Then, gift cards in hand, Association Forum staff set off for the O’Hare and Midway airports to drop them off to into the grateful hands of TSA representatives.

As a mission-based organization, it is imperative that we live our core values every day and exemplify them through our words and actions. There is no shortage of ways for an individual to help their community and those in need. At Association Forum, we seek to be the change in the world that we want to see, and we wish to thank our board of directors and members for their support in enacting that change.

About the Author

<strong>Michelle Mason</strong>, FASAE, CAE President & CEO, Association Forum

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