7 Signs You’re an Association Technology Disruptor

Patrick Dorsey, the EVP of Marketing at Impexium, breaks down the defining characteristics of people who make a lasting impact at their associations.

Being an Association Technology Disruptors isn’t just about quick fixes and applying Band-Aids to problems. It’s about looking down the road and asking, “What can I do now that will not only fix today’s issues but will have a lasting positive impact on the months and years to come?”

Over this past year, Impexium has been highlighting individuals who are doing just that. We call them changemakers and association technology disruptors. They are integral team members of associations that span industries from automobiles to college sports to distilled spirits. And while the details of their day-to-day duties may differ, they all share one thing in common: the commitment to making an indelible difference. Simply put, these folks do not accept the status quo. They’re not looking for workarounds. They are constantly searching for ways to do things more efficiently and more effectively to make things easier for their members, and to allow their associations to be industry leaders.

At Impexium, we share that desire to push the limits of what is possible—it is ingrained in our culture. We consistently survey our customers to find out what’s working, what we can do better and how we can challenge the norm. We want customers who treat us like partners, who are driven and emotionally invested in helping them accomplish their goals.

The association leaders profiled in the class of 2018’s Association Technology Disruptors have given us such crucial insights and inspiration over the past few months, and as our series comes to a conclusion, we wanted to share some of those defining characteristics that embody what it means to be a changemaker.

1. They want to make an impact. “I’m not a paper pusher by any means—I need to be seen, I need to be felt—and that’s what drives me to want to make things easier for people. And when I accomplish those goals, it helps me sleep better at night.”—David King, Director of Information Technology and Operations Manager for the Distilled Spirits Council

2. They understand the power of change. “I feel personally that changing and making improvements is absolutely necessary for the organization to remain viable. If we continue evolving, we’ll continue to meet the challenges that our members may present to us, and that is really critical to our long-term success.”—Sue Garrity, Director of Information Systems & Technology for the Michigan Chamber of Commerce

3. They value partnerships. “When you are going through a major technology change, the partnership is extremely important because I can guarantee you one thing and one thing only: nothing is going to be 100 percent perfect on day one.”—Rafael Maldonado, Chief Information Officer of the National Automobile Dealers Association

4. They look for the right tool. “The more efficient and effective your technology is, the more efficient and effective your people can be in doing their jobs. And that’s what success looks like.”—Bill McCoil, VP of Finance, IT & Operations at the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society

5. They know when to take a step back. “We’re extremely busy all the time, so there’s not a lot of time to explore new options. But you have to break out of that ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mentality or you will never grow and reach your potential.”— Laurie Bollig, Director of Membership Engagement for the College Sports Information Directors of America

6. They celebrate wins. “I think it motivates our staff when they’re on site at an event and they hear from members of the association that they like a new system or process we’re using—I think that energizes them.”—Mary Yokose, Vice President of Operations for S&S Management Services

7. They appreciate the sound of silence. “I’m really excited when people in my office don’t talk to me—that’s because generally when they come to see me they’re not happy, they’re frustrated!”—Cos Manner, Director of IT for the National Beer Wholesalers Association

With these skills, and the continued determination to improve your organization, you’ll soon be on the path to joining industry changemakers like these. And never forget: don’t accept the status quo and always search for more.

-Patrick Dorsey, EVP of Marketing at Impexium

Patrick Dorsey, EVP of Marketing at Impexium.