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We Asked, You Answered: A Look Back at Your Proudest Accomplishments of 2021

When 2020 came to an end, we thought 2021 would for sure be better. However, 2021 proved to have its own challenges. Despite this, many associations persevered, worked hard, and accomplished a lot in a year still marred by a pandemic.

While the introduction of vaccines allowed some in-person events to resume in 2021, the pandemic still presented many challenges for associations. Despite that, association professionals worked hard and hit some high notes. Many found the right balance of virtual and in-person events, some updated their logos, and others implemented longtime member asks. Read on to hear what some organizations accomplished in 2021.

Lynette Bradley-Baker, CAE

Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Engagement, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

Our staff, volunteer leaders, and invited speakers provided six virtual events to our members and other stakeholders that had a level of engagement that greatly exceeded our expectations (e.g., number of attendees, virtual interactions, social media). Results such as this only come when everyone is focused on the purpose of the event, willing to learn from previous events, willing to try new ideas, and deeply committed to meeting the needs of our members.

Betsi Roach, CAE

Executive Director, Corporate Legal Operations Consortium

So many things to be proud of for our young organization. Among them, transitioning a to a new leadership era—from a new board chair to several new staff team members. How we have coalesced as a team, improved member value, and continued to ensure our community sees the relevancy we provide not only makes me smile with pride but also beam with joy.

Mellissa Braham

Associate Director, National School Public Relations Association

Through a collaborative effort, our “small but mighty” team made it through massive change as an association—led by an innovative executive board and new executive director—while launching our first-ever hybrid National Seminar, engaging in a rebranding process, implementing a new communications infrastructure, launching new digital member services, and reimagining our member e-publications, all in alignment with a new strategic plan. Even now, we are beginning a website and AMS redesign process we hope to complete by next summer. Whew! The NSPRA team tackled a lot in 2021.

Mary Beth Rathe

Executive Director, National Collegiate Honors Council

We returned to an in-person conference, hosting over 1,000 academic professionals and students for a three-day event in November. We’re a staff of five, plus a CMP, but knowing that in the last nine months we mediated changes to the hotel contract, accommodated ever-shifting travel regulations that impacted submitted presentations and keynotes (resulting in an ever-evolving program), and navigated expectations for service delivery in an industry facing a severe labor shortage gives us cause to celebrate. We spent significant time in special board meetings and increased our communications, while continuing to provide nonconference programming throughout the year. It was important to provide a small level of normalcy, which in turn allowed us to see a significant retention of membership.

Lucinda Schofer

Chief Operating Officer, National Association of Chemical Distributors

Our industry is struggling with supply chain issues in ocean shipping. The costs, availability, and length of shipping time for raw materials sourced overseas has been incredibly difficult. We immediately responded, forming a task force, researching the data, and advocating with the Federal Maritime Administration and Congress. We launched a robust media strategy with a social component to show how bad the situation is, hoping to get the federal government to step up and help the situation. In December, we saw the OSRA21 law passed in the House of Representatives, which we supported and worked diligently to gain cosponsors. We are proud of what we’ve done for the industry that is being hit hard, during COVID, with a non-COVID situation.

Aileen Smith

Director of Programs, American Society of Golf Course Architects

ASGCA has only ever had one category of membership, and it almost functions as a certification: experience in the profession and peer review are required to be accepted as a member. But we were missing the involvement and input of those making their way up in the profession—2021 saw that change. Our new associate program invited and welcomed 15 up-and-coming golf course architects to the group, infusing our small, 180-member organization with the next generation’s attitudes and insights. It was a longtime coming and having this boost after enduring 2020 was a giant benefit.

(spukkato/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Rasheeda Childress

By Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is a senior editor at Associations Now. She covers money and business. Email her with story ideas or news tips. MORE

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