Thursday Buzz: How One Leader Said Goodbye

The executive director of the Online News Association keeps the focus on members and employees as she prepares for her departure. Also: New frontiers in nostalgic marketing from Crystal Pepsi.

Departing an organization where you’ve spent a long time as executive director isn’t an easy thing to do, but eventually that moment comes.

If you find yourself having to leave an organization anytime soon, you might want to take notes from the letter posted yesterday by Jane McDonnell of the Online News Association (ONA). McDonnell, who has served as executive director since 2008, will leave the group at the end of the year, she announced yesterday.

Notable about the blog post is that she’s put much of the focus on both ONA’s employees and the association’s members:

There’s no way to personally thank each of the thousands of volunteers who make up ONA Local leadership—from DC to LA, Australia to Singapore—as well as conference and event teams, awards screeners and judges, fellowship selection committees, ethics teams and the people, members or no, who reach out just to see how they can help. Every day, you show us the best of journalism.

McDonnell, who is moving to Maine with her husband, Larry, oversaw ONA during a significant period of growth. Josh Hatch, president of ONA’s board of directors, noted that the association’s staff tripled in size under her leadership, and the organization now sports a multi-million-dollar budget.

The group is actively searching for a replacement and hopes to announce a new executive director at its annual meeting in September.

A Crystal-Clear Strategy

Nostalgia makes for great marketing. That’s probably the least surprising statement in the history of marketing.

But in case you need a reminder, check out what Pepsi has been up to lately. Barely a week after revealing an emoji-style reprisal of its famous 1992 Cindy Crawford ad, on Wednesday Pepsi announced its plan to bring back the infamous early-’90s beverage Crystal Pepsi, and it’s doing so by using yet another iconic piece of ’90s nostalgia: The Oregon Trail. Starting July 7, gamers will be able to play a Pepsi-themed version of the game online.

Here’s a screenshot of the game:

Crystal Pepsi Trail

I recommend playing it with a glass of Crystal Pepsi directly in front of your screen, which should be easy because the soda’s transparent, right?

Other Links of Note

“The challenge for organizations moving from one community platform to the next is creating the least amount of disruption for the existing community and related assets, while reaping the benefits the new platform provides.”  At CMSWire, 7Summits Digital Strategist James Davidson breaks down the additional challenges that come with launching a new community platform.

The value of grit. Monomyth Collaborative’s Stephanie McGehee breaks down why associations should have a little grit.

Here’s a talker of a Harvard Business Review headline. “Strategic Plans Are Less Important than Strategic Planning.” Agree? Disagree?


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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