Date: February 28th, 2019


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The .orgCommunity Leading Innovation Summit is a high-level, one-day conference addressing emerging trends and innovations in association management. With timely and relevant content developed for associations, the Summit includes presentations and interactive sessions led by industry leaders.

2019 Innovation Summit Prices:

  • VIP Members: FREE
  • Professional and Virtual Members: $199.00 EARLY BIRD rate of $99 available until January 11th. 
  • Non-Member Association Executives: $349.00
  • Non-Member Industry Partner: $849.00


8:00 – 8:45 am Breakfast with Partners

8:45 – 9:00 am Kick-off Video & Welcome, Sherry Budziak & Kevin Ordonez 

Introduction of Innovation Summit Emcee, Greg Fine, FASAE, CAE

9:00 – 10:00 am Opening Keynote

The Blue Variable: Mastering the Art of Timing

Most people don’t realize that when they look up at stars, the light twinkling back at them was actually emitted years, centuries, or even eons ago.

That’s a lot like how most businesses operate. They study past performance to predict future success. They go after opportunities that have already passed them by. They’re concentrating on ideas whose light may have already gone out. Meanwhile, the world is changing faster than any other time in human history. No wonder businesses, and especially associations, are struggling to keep up.

And then, there are the associations and companies that get it, the stars of the marketing world. They always seem to be at the right place at the right time, with the right message. I call these companies “blue variables.” A blue variable is a very special kind of star, one that demonstrates dramatic variations in its spectrum and brightness and dazzles us with its unpredictability.

I have studied a number of these “blue variable” Fortune 100 companies through my in-depth interviews with their creative and dynamic CMOs. This session will be devoted to helping participants spot opportunities for organizations to shine their brightest and move at the speed of culture.

Speaker: Adele Cehrs, CEO, When and How Agency

10:00 – 11:00 am 

Becoming the Netflix of Associations: It All Begins with the End in Mind

The story is a familiar one to many association executives: membership numbers were sliding (fast); alternative resources were more easily accessible (and often cheaper); the highly-regulated industry served was beyond chaotic with mergers and endless downsizing (with no end in sight).

At the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA), these and many other factors were the driving force behind the group’s decision to pursue a radical digital transformation – a still-in-process effort 1.5 years in the making. It is this process – one that is vital to the association’s future – that is redefining the HFMA, in terms of membership and business models, technology platforms and organizational structure.

During this session, you’ll learn about the many measured transformational and innovative activities that are impacting every single inch of this 38,000-member professional association. From design-thinking discovery to defining the future, from board buy-in to building cross-departmental teams, this session will offer a glimpse in what it takes to (expectedly) become the Netflix of Associations.

Speaker: Keith R. Chamberlain, Director of Membership Marketing & Experience, Healthcare Financial Management Association; Garth Jordan, SVP, Corporate Strategy, Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)

11:00 - 11:05 am Product Education Presentation - HighRoad Solution

11:05 – 11:35 am Break with Partners

11:35 am - 12:05 pm

Build a Positive Culture by Living Your Values (Literally)

A strong organizational culture is a prerequisite for success. But keeping enthusiasm high and creating a shared sense of purpose can be a significant leadership challenge. With a staff of 100, developing collaboration is at the top of MacRae’s priority list. Learn her strategy for motivating her team and discover how the move to a new headquarters was an opportunity to build an environment that reflects the organization’s values. We’ll share a drone’s-eye view of the office. You’ll also hear from some staff members about the impact of the new space on living their values.

Speaker: Nancy MacRae, MA, CEO, Emergency Nurses Association 

12:05 - 12:10 pm Product Education Presentation - Ian Ryan Interactive

12:10 – 12:45 pm 

A Hurricane is Coming—Are You Ready?

In a world of rapid change and disruption, qualities to manage a crisis such as flexibility, adaptability and agility, become critical to everyone. It is more important than ever to be ready for unexpected events that can derail plans and progress. As industries and the world change, technology can be leveraged as a strategy to mitigate risk.

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the Hilton Head, South Carolina site for their conference, the Water Quality Association (WQA) knew quick action was needed. Learn how WQA converted a face-to-face meeting into a digital event in just 72 hours. Water quality professionals were able to watch presentations and training sessions, as well as take part in board, committee, task force, and section meetings on their laptops. More than 20 sessions of the conference were broadcast from four conference rooms at WQA’s headquarters in Lisle, Illinois.

Speaker: Pauli Undesser, BS, MS, MWS, CAE, Water Quality Association

12:45 – 1:30 pm Lunch with Partners

1:35 – 2:30 pm  

What Does Association 4.0 Mean for You?

Is your organization ready to make the leap to Association 4.0? Consultants, entrepreneurs and authors Sherry Budziak and Kevin Ordonez describe what this new chapter in association development means and how you can build a winning culture in the midst of uncertainty.To research their recent book, Association 4.0--Positioning for Success in an Era of Disruption, Budziak and Ordonez took a deep dive into innovation. They’ll outline what they discovered in interviews with over 20 of the most forward-thinking executives. Learn about the challenges leaders are facing and how they are preparing to keep pace with the accelerating speed of business and technology.

Discover how these trends—
• Voice search
• Self-service
• The sharing and gig economies
• Access over ownership
• Personalization
• Blockchain
will impact associations and the importance of reinventing strategy to meet change. Don’t let disruption write your story. Define the future you want and be the author of your association’s success.

Speakers: Kevin Ordonez and Sherry Budziak

2:30 - 2:35 pm Product Education Presentation - Association Analytics 

2:35 - 2:45 pm Short Break 

2:45 - 3:45 pm 

Succeeding with a Nimble Governance Model, panel discussion with:
• Stephanie Mercado, CAE, CEO and executive director, National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) (moderator)
• Carole Pulaski, MSA, BSN, CPHQ, immediate past president
• Sandra Jones, BSN, MSM, RN, CPHQ, CPHRM, LNCC, president
• Carole Guinane, RN, BA, MBA, CPHQ, president-elect

When Stephanie Mercado joined NAHQ in 2013, the association was struggling with high membership attrition in an increasingly competitive healthcare environment. NAHQ leaders will discuss how they put the organization on a fast track to success by trimming cumbersome governance structures; shedding operations and services that weren’t working and reinvesting in productive offerings to build new opportunity.

Speakers: Stephanie Mercado, CAE, CEO and Executive Director, NAHQ  (NAHQ Board Presidents Past, Present and Incoming)

3:45 – 3:50 pm Product Education Presentations - Gravitate Solutions & Adage Technologies 

3:50 - 4:00 pm

Five Ideas / Innovations in 5 Minutes

Dan Stevens, President, AssociationTV by WorkerBee.TV, Inc.

Art Huenecke, CIO, Academy of General Dentistry

Thomas G. Foley, CAE, Vice President, Membership & Customer Development, IFT

4:00 – 4:30 pm Q & A with Innovation Summit Speakers & Closing Remarks; Reception Partner Video Presentation 

4:30 – 6:00 pm Networking Reception with Partners


We are an accredited CAE provider. Earn credit by attending this Signature Event.

Hotel Information:

The Rose Hotel - Tapestry Collection by Hilton
5200 Pearl Street, Rosemont, IL, 60018, USA

Discounted room rate of $129 available until January 29th. Book online [HERE] or call 1-800-HILTONS and mention the group code “ORGCOM” to receive the group rate.

Thank you to our Innovation Summit Partners!


Adage Technologies


AssociationTV by WorkerBee.TV

Association Analytics 



Conferences i/o

Enjoy Peoria 


Gravitate Solutions 

HighRoad Solution

Ian Ryan Interactive

Protech Associates, Inc. 

WBT Systems