Association CEO Recounts Her 2017 Resolutions

Michelle Mills Clement, CAE, CEO of the Commercial Brokers Association, discusses how she did on her 2017 resolutions and the lessons she learned along the way.

In the November-December 2016 issue of Associations Now, we chatted with several C-suite execs about their 2017 resolutions and goals. As 2018 begins, we thought it would be the perfect time to check in with one of those interviewees—Commercial Brokers Association CEO Michelle Mills Clement, CAE—about how she did on her 2017 resolutions.

At the close of 2016, Mills Clement set a goal of creating a collaborative workplace culture at CBA. “We realized we don’t have a clearly defined culture,” she told us in late 2016. “We need to make sure everyone’s on the same page.” To do this, she aimed to host a strategic “vent session,” in which the entire staff could dialogue about the current workplace culture as they worked to define what a new collaborative culture would look like.

Meanwhile, in her personal life, she hoped to focus on stability and appreciating where she was rather than always looking to the next step. Here’s a look at where things stand today and what she’s hoping to achieve in the year ahead:

Professional goals. “We didn’t end up doing a full all-staff retreat where we all had a vent session,” she said. Why? Mainly because CBA had some unforeseen staff changes, and Mills Clement had a baby. In other words, life happened.

And, even though CBA didn’t have the retreat that Mills Clement would’ve liked, the association did make some small changes that brought about that collaborative environment. First, Mills Clement assigned staff members to lead CBA’s various staff meetings. This worked to create ownership of the organization. Second, CBA got smarter about hiring. Instead of just hiring people with the right skills, Mills Clement said CBA started hiring skilled people who would also mold into this collaborative work environment.

Still, some of the shift to a more collaborative workplace at CBA happened organically while Mills Clement was on maternity leave. She said that the staff really stepped up in her absence, working together to bring in new business and develop new products. “I was able to be on leave, still have my hand in the water, but really be able to enjoy being a new mom and a new parent to my son, and still know that the office was running smoothly,” she said.

Personal goals. “I think I knocked that one out of the park, and it was actually more subconscious than anything else,” Mills Clement said. She remarked that this resolution was more about setting the goal and then being intentional about believing in it. “In June, when I had my son, I remember walking to the grocery store, which was up the street from our house, and really feeling like I’m in the now. I’m at peace and content with work, life, everything,” she said.

The year ahead. Other than giving herself “some grace for this motherhood thing,” Mills Clement is aiming to take a leap on some new opportunities that are in the pipeline. To do so successfully, she hopes to lean into the experiences and expertise of her peers.

In all of this, Mills Clement that she’s learning to be more flexible and less rigid about how certain resolutions have to look along the way. What’s on your to-do list for 2018?

Michelle Mills Clement of the Commercial Brokers Association. (Rick Dahms)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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