This event is being run by AssociationSuccess.org. We are a facilitator of great ideas, so this summit is truly a collection of ideas and insights from dozens of people. We are also delighted to be partnering with a number of Associations of Associations across the globe, representing voices from all corners of the industry. Each of our speakers, volunteers, and partners are passionate about seeing the association industry thrive, which is why they have donated their time and resources to making this event happen.
SURGE Optimism 2018
Free Interactive Virtual Conference
Join 1000’s of association professionals harnessing the power of collective knowledge.
Don’t let the shopping cart throw you: you’re paying $0.00!
- STEP 1
Register now to begin interacting with fellow association professionals.
- STEP 2
Immediately start sharing your great ideas, while learning what others are doing.
- STEP 3
Return November 7th-9th to view the sessions, discuss with other attendees, and ask the speakers.
Look out for the eBooks that will be published after the event, compiling insights, resources, and strategies gleaned from the sessions and discussions.
SURGE is an interactive virtual conference built on the conviction that collective knowledge is the key to pushing our industry towards the future.
The theme of this event is Optimism for the Future: it is about celebrating progress that has already been made, and looking proactively towards new opportunities for associations to flourish.
On November 7th-9th, association professionals from around the world will assemble virtually to learn from each other. As you watch the expert-led sessions, an attendee chat will run simultaneously, giving you the chance to contribute your insight to the discussion taking place.
Register now to begin interacting immediately. You can:
Connect with like-minded individuals in our forum.
Contribute your thoughts to our co-writing exercise.
Absorb fresh ideas from handpicked resources.
Vote on video submissions for the SURGE Innovation Pioneer Award
We are a CAE Approved Provider.
Here is what SURGE attendees have to say.
"Epic is the only word I can come up with. My colleagues concur!" Shannon K. Robertson, CAE, MS, Executive Vice President, NAIFA Louisiana & NAIFA BR
"I’m blown away. It is one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to. Loved the quality, the content, the format, the dialogue….everything." Meena Dayak, VP, Integrated Media & Communications, American Public Power Association
"I was so impressed by the core SURGE team. Innovation, collaboration, execution, and, of course, humor under pressure. You went beyond putting on a virtual conference; you created a community! Cheers to you, the team, the attendees, and the sponsors and supporters! Can’t wait for the next SURGE!" Tim Parsons, CMO/COO 5:00 Films & Media
"To SURGE is to learn and to network and to share in awesome ways. And to SURGE is to learn how to experiment within your own association." Garth Jordan, SVP, Corporate Strategy, HFMA
Sessions and Speakers
Thanks to our speakers, whose ideas are the very backbone of this event.
New to SURGE: Happy Hour Bonus Sessions
Our Happy Hour Bonus Sessions are a chance to get acquainted - with each other, and with the nuts and bolts of applying conference insights technologically. Join our partners for an intimate chat about practical examples of innovative doing.
Happy Hour is also about unwinding and connecting, so there will be more space for networking, and an even more interactive format in which to explore and focus on the themes of the day. Grab a drink if you can find one (and if your environment allows), and round off the day's discussion properly! These sessions will take place each day from 4-5PM EST.
November 7th, 12-1PM EST
The Future of Work Is Here
Adrienne Bryant, CAE
IntrinXec Management, Inc.
Cecilia Sepp, CAE, CNAP
Association Expert and Founder
501c/Association Mentoring Network
Senior Marketing Manager
American Staffing Association
Liz Icenogle, CAE
Executive Director of Engagement
In the gig economy, virtual workspaces are our present and future. Adrienne Bryant, Lisa Campo, Liz Icenogle, and Cecilia Sepp, all association professionals with different types of remote working experiences, address the Future of Work using personal anecdotes and scientific studies. They discuss how to create a culture among remote workers, the necessity of self-discipline and routine, and how “work-life balance” is both important—and a misleading term—to people who work remotely.
November 7th, 1-2PM EST
Revamp to Revitalize and Grow
Addy Kujawa, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
American Alliance of Orthopaedic Executives
Director of Special Events, Communication, and Marketing
Greater Kalamazoo Association of REALTORS
Danielle Duran Baron, MA, MBA, CAE
Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE)
Mary Byers, CAE, CSP
Race for Relevance: 5 Radical Changes for Associations
Complacency is the enemy of associations. Find out how three association executives refused to fall into the complacency trap by revamping how they design their meetings, hire, communicate, and how they approach diversity and inclusion, among other things. You’ll learn the process they followed to revamp, what happened as a result, and how to create a revamp map you can use in your own association. From a more diverse speaker lineup to an effective ambassador program to a meeting that’s grown 75% in three years, you’ll see how revamping can mean revitalizing for your organization.
November 7th, 2-3PM EST
Content Strategy and Designing for Relevance
Director of Marketing
American College of Radiology
President and Chief Strategist
Content Company, Inc.
Content is how associations’ work is manifested in the world. It’s how members learn about, engage with and and use an association’s offerings. This session will cover three factors that help make sure content is effective:
It is created in a way that highlights its relevance
It is structured so it can be reused and highlighted
It is marketed so the audience knows about it
This session will cover each of these topics in more detail, with real-life lessons and stories from three speakers with deep expertise.
November 7th, 3-4PM EST
Busting the 7 Myths of Entrepreneurship in Associations
Barbara Byrd Keenan, FSAE, CAE
Chief Executive Officer
Deputy Executive Director, Operations
National Association of Secondary School Principals
Director, Technology and Digital Strategy
Food and Drug Law Institute (FDLI)
VP, Integrated Media & Communications
American Public Power Association
Entrepreneurship: just for for-profits, or an opportunity for associations? A skill that stays at the top of the hierarchy, or a way to empower every department? Relentless risk-taking or calculated experiments?
This session will push you to rethink everything you thought you knew about entrepreneurial thinking in the association space. Four speakers will bust common myths about entrepreneurship one by one, covering topics including the role of volunteers, culture change and external competition. By the end, you will be prepared and excited to transform your organization with a business-focused mindset.
November 7th, 4-5PM ESTBonus Session
How to Make Technology Painless
Erin Hall, CAE
Director of Association Payments
snöball event influencer marketing
VP, Association Solutions
November 8th, 12-1PM EST
How to Lose New Members in 90 Days or Less
Chief Path Finder
Kaiser Insights LLC
Director of Communications
Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer
Stephanie Selesnick, CEM
International Trade Information, Inc.
Are new member retention rates much lower than the retention rates for all other members at your association? Imagine improving your new member retention rates by 10%, 20%, even 50%! Some associations are growing their membership by focusing far more on engaging their most at-risk members. How are they doing it? By delivering the value and experiences new members need. Join us for a mix of research data and real-life examples that you can start using immediately at your association.
November 8th, 1-2PM EST
Foresight is the Future of Governing
Alicia Skulemowski, CAE
Senior Manager, Governance and Member Experience
Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE)
Jeff De Cagna FRSA FASAE
Foresight First LLC
Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, CAE
California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Veronica Meadows, CAE
Senior Director of Strategy
Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards
It’s time to start attending to your association’s future. Preparing your association and its stakeholders for the future requires more from key decision-makers. By fully embracing the duty of foresight, boards can focus their attention on pursuing intentional learning with the future. This provocative conversation will explore how boards can start doing the work that only they can do, and why foresight is the future of governing for building both high-performing boards and thriving organizations.
November 8th, 2-3PM EST
Productivity - A State of Mind At Work
David E. Elliott
Social Learning and Innovation Facilitator, Consultant
Holly Duckworth, CAE, CMP, LSP
Leadership Solutions Intl.
Lauren LeMunyan, PCC
Lauren LeMunyan Coaching
Tracy Vanneman, CAE
Partnership Sales Manager
CESSE – Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives
Do you carry items forward on your to-do list day after day? Do you sit down in the office to finish one task then find yourself quickly distracted by another? Do you struggle to set boundaries around your working time? This session about combating gaps in our productivity is for you. Four speakers - a mindfulness consultant, a burnout prevention coach, an association professional, and an education expert - put heads together to offer tips, strategies and frameworks to help you become more productive, both as individuals and organization. Topics covered include association culture and leadership expectations, how to stay present in your workspace, the power of turning off your phone, and unlearning perfectionism.
November 8th, 3-4PM EST
Mission Critical: Advance Your Industry’s Workforce Through Real Learning
Training Systems INC
Jess Halverson Bowyer
CPA Center of Excellence®, powered by the Indiana CPA Society
Lowell Aplebaum, CAE
CEO & Strategy Catalyst
Tracy King, MA, CAE
CEO and Chief Learning Strategist
What is real learning, why do we need it, and how can we attain it within our organizations?
Learning needs to be a core part of any organization’s purpose, to prepare a workforce to continue flourishing in the future. Armed with this purpose, in order to be a guide and partner for those that are learning throughout their careers, we have to focus not on single byte units but on developing competencies and supporting mastery. Starting from the lens of workforce development, this discussion will unearth the key steps you need to implement an effective and comprehensive real learning strategy for your team.
November 8th, 4-5PM ESTBonus Session
The Power of Individual Stories to Strengthen Community
The Review Society
Co-founder & COO
Head of Story, Brand Strategy, and Partnerships
5:00 Films & Media
November 9th, 12-1PM EST
Understanding Human Behavior to Unlock Potential
Best Selling Author
Lowell Aplebaum, CAE
CEO & Strategy Catalyst
Director of Education
Society of Hospital Medicine
Chief Engagement Officer
Purposeful Hire, Inc.
Susan Radwan, MEd, CAE, SMP
Leading Edge Mentoring
What makes us do the things we do? In the first half of this session, author and scholar Dan Ariely shares his wisdom about irrationality and the human mind. Ariely will talk about the personal and professional experiences that led him to the study of this strand of behavioral psychology, then flesh out his research with real-life examples. You will learn more about the factors that impact how we make decisions, handle distractions and exercise willpower.
In the second half of the session, you will bear witness to a SURGE-concocted experiment. What would happen, we wondered, if we took down all the signposts and let a conversational journey develop spontaneously? These speakers have done no advance prep, and are coming to this discussion with no idea of its direction other than to discuss the broad subject, ‘professional motivation.’ Armed only with their relevant expertise, a passion for the topic, and a facilitator, the speakers will tackle the theme imaginatively and instinctively. Where exactly the discussion will take them, and what exactly they will unearth, is unscripted and unplanned.
November 9th, 1-2PM EST
Approaches for Human-Centered Design in Technology Initiatives
VP, Member Engagement
Community Strategist & Operations Consultant
Director of Digital Services
Chief Technology Officer
Association of the United States Army
Human-centered design, a product development methodology that puts people first, has the ability to increase successful outcomes for any association’s technology initiative. In this session, our panel will focus on human-centered design’s four stages: user research, ideation, iteration, and implementation. With real-life association experiences of excelling or struggling with a technology project, you will leave this session with actionable tactics and insights to help you and your organization adopt this approach.
November 9th, 2-3PM EST
Creating A Culture of Success
Kathija “Kat” Mohammed, CHO, CHIA
Director of Education
Mike Moss, CAE
Society for College and University Planning
Rhea Steele, MS, CAE
Chief Operating Officer
Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation
Founder & CEO
More than ever, associations are being challenged to sustain amidst disruption and to help their member companies do the same. Labor shortages and retirement waves are threatening the stability of organizations—even entire industries. As a result, leaders must prioritize the development of positive workplace cultures and employee engagement initiatives, but research indicates this has been easier said than done.
Join us to learn more about what it takes to foster a culture of success within your workforce. The panel will explore how to define, measure, and manage a culture capable of inspiring team-building and fostering engagement and community. You will hear creative strategies and best practices designed to offer the best workplace for you and your employees, and better serve the changing needs of your industry’s employers.
November 9th, 3-4PM EST
A Glimpse into the Future of Global Associations
Secretary General at EuropeanIssuers. President at ESAE.
President and Founder
African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE)
Colorado Society of Association Executives (CSAE)
Chief Executive Officer
Octavio “Bobby” Peralta
CEO & Founder
Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE)
Reggie Henry, CAE
Chief Information and Engagement Officer
American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)
In the final session of SURGE Optimism, representatives from the frontlines of the association community across the world will share a social and economic snapshot of each region. Tuning in from Southeast Asia, the United States, Europe, Africa, and Australia, this update will provide an overview of the association activities making waves in each locality. What unites us and distinguishes us as association professionals on different continents? What can we learn from each other? How can we build a worldwide association movement to strengthen our industries and society as a whole? In a virtual world, let’s think international.
November 9th, 4-5PM ESTBonus Session
Artificial Intelligence and its Increasing Relevancy in Associations
Co-Founder and CEO
Founder & CEO
Hover over their logos to learn more about them.
Industry partners we’re so excited for you to meet
The technology and expertise that helps produce SURGE
Organizations that convene to further the association profession
How it Works
This is a three-day event from 12-4PM EST on November 7th-9thth. Each session is an hour long, and is pre-recorded. This allows the speakers to spend the entire session period in the attendee chat answering your burning questions. At the same time, you will be able to communicate with the other attendees through the same chat. Join in on whichever conversation is most interesting to you!
Once you register, you will enter the event page, where you can immediately start interacting. At the same time, you will be sent an email with the link to return. The event is the finale, but conversations will occur in the platform leading up to it.
This summit exists in the virtual space, as it gives us the opportunity to bring together thousands of association professionals from around the world.
We’ve added some fun new ways to connect, more resources, and a new competition! More info coming soon.
The sessions are pre-recorded so that the speakers can spend the time answering attendee questions. They will be typing away furiously to reply to as many questions as possible in the live chat!
This will depend on individual preference of our speakers. For those who are willing to be contacted, they will provide their email addresses.
Absolutely! When you register, you can immediately start communicating with fellow attendees in our forum. Throughout the sessions, there will also be a chat running simultaneously.
If you register before Nov. 7th, you will be given access to watch the recorded sessions at any point after the event.
Yes, but only if you attend live!
Absolutely - for live attendance.
We would love to hear from you, we will release a call for submissions when the event is over!
Absolutely! Contact email@example.com to set up a call. We’re looking forward to talking with you!
We are proudly partnered with CE21.
The quality will be a little funky on Internet Explorer 8. Although we highly recommend Chrome for the smoothest user experience on any website, here’s a handy link to download Edge, which is Microsoft’s move away from IE:
Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re asking, you’re not the only one, and you will help us make our Q&A complete!
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