Associations 2025: High Performance Associations of Tomorrow


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We all live change. We see how it shapes our organizations. Boards and management have reason to worry and be vigilant. It is increasingly difficult to attract members and to engage key audiences. Resources are stressed – the cost to deliver something unique that isn’t available from five other providers; to keep pace with technology; to have stand-out communications; to retain exceptional employees, among others.

Association 2025 in Vancouver builds on the success of the inaugural event, held in Toronto in 2016. It was the highest rated single day event in CSAE’s history with executives attending from across Canada.

The program features real cases and experiences. The presenters have valuable lessons to share to help your organization thrive in the coming years.

It is based on the story about the person who falls down the deep hole and passersby drop in various remedies to little benefit, until a friend jumps down the hole too. The friend explains that they jumped in because they’ve been in that hole before, and know the way out. Association 2025 presenters lead and have led membership organizations.

Program Outline

ASSOCIATION 2025, A Summit on the Future of Associations

Additional Sessions Will be Added

Monday, April 3, 2017

8:40 am

Setting the Stage: Listening to the Wind of Change
Jack Shand, CMC, CAE, Executive Partner, The Portage Group, Geoff Thacker, Executive Partner, The Portage Group

What is carried by the winds of change? Geoff Thacker and Jack Shand will set the stage for the day with a quick overview identifying the leading trends and challenges that association executives have reported are top of mind in the sector, and the implications for membership organizations. The content is based on a 2017 national survey on leading trends with input from approximately 300 associations. 

09:00 to 10:00 am

What the 21st Century Association Needs to Be:
Iain Black, CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade – a leading business voice in British Columbia and western Canada – chose Iain Black to lead it as CEO in 2011. The challenge was daunting and one too familiar to many associations: an unclear value proposition, slumping membership, and no money. Indeed, an organization that had government relations at the core of its value proposition saw Iain Black, Cabinet Minister, as the person to reenergize the board’s business voice. What Iain Black found was an organization that needed his business background in the technology sector, among other skills, to achieve success. For associations that know they are losing ground, this turn-around is a case study in creating value through technology, marketing and communications, excellent member services and, yes, great advocacy. Hear how this 129 year-old association went in just two years from a $1.8 million deficit to financial health, double digit membership growth, creating a home for young professionals, and the lessons in that journey to enable your organization to excel in the 21st Century.

10:00 am

Digital Transformation for Associations:
Martin Evers, Microsoft

Association leaders are challenged to re-envision existing business models and embrace a different way of engaging members (and stakeholders), empowering employees, optimizing operations, and transforming products. Cloud computing has emerged as a vital resource for addressing the world’s problems. Cloud services can now unlock the secrets held by data in ways that create new insights and lead to breakthroughs, not just for science and technology, but for addressing the full range of work that not-for-profits organizations are focused upon: economic and social challenges and the delivery of better human services. They can also improve communications and problem-solving and can help organizations work in a more productive and efficient manner. Learn what’s new and emerging to help not-for-profit organizations thrive in the next decade and beyond.

10:45 am


11:00 am

Ch-Ch-Changes - A Case Study:
Carol-Anne Moutinho, MBA, CSAE-BC Chapter President; Senior Consultant, The Portage Group

Summit participants will put their collective skills together and share experiences as they work on a challenge study of change. Drawing upon a number of known journeys which Canadian not-for-profits have taken recently to redefine themselves for the future, and change affecting the sector, participants will collaboratively identify and propose their own creative solutions to help position membership organization for future relevance.

12:15 pm


1:15 pm

TrendTALK1: Tips of Managing Transitions, Urvi Ramsoondar, BC Construction Safety Alliance

Tips on Managing Transitions is based on case study learnings from a merger between Construction Safety Association of BC and the Construction Safety Network in 2009 – 2010, that resulted in the formation of the BC Construction Safety Alliance. I will present on 5 learnings from this case study. The 10 minute presentation will focus on the leadership skills needed to have successful transitions as it relates to Phase 1 of transitions: The Ending.

1:30 pm

Creating an Association ‘Phoenix’ – A Process of Regeneration:
Valoree McKay, CAE

Imagine a national association, iconic with seven decades of history and profile, facing increasing weakness and accelerating decline. The organization was simply not sustainable in its current form. Learn how the Canadian Library Association (CLA), by mobilizing its community to take ownership, redefined a national association’s value model through an extensive and inclusive approach. Valoree McKay, CAE, helped guide the process as CLA executive director, and will share some of the lessons learned throughout and following that process. The result is the creation of a new value model, a more representative organization, a stronger and more united community, and a new association. Hear how the process mobilized interests to collaborate, and leveraged the strength of individuals and organizations to define a new way forward for Canada’s library community.

2:15 pm

A Model for Collaboration:
Cynthia Johansen, Registrar/CEO, College of Registered Nurses of B.C.

In Canada, approximately one-sixth of all government revenue is spent on health care, health care is the single largest expense for governments, and in B.C. the Ministry of Health’s current budget is over $17 billion. The health care sector has many interests, historically and often misaligned, notably professional associations advancing their members’ agenda and regulators focusing on the public interest. That changed in 2009, when health profession regulators were directed to become more collaborative. The change resulted in the establishment of the BC Health Regulators - a society of 23 regulatory colleges (who regulate from fewer than 100 to well over 40,000 health professionals). One voice with government, stakeholders and the public has become extremely beneficial. The collaboration has created value for all. Hear how a good story about collaboration and the challenge of change has resulted in a community vital to society working together for the same outcome. As governments, the public, and professionals face increasingly complex problems with high expectations that “membership” organizations will be solution providers, this example is a model of applying the concept of collaborating for a common cause to an industry traditionally hampered by its history of silos and competitive behaviour.

3:00 pm


3:15 pm

TrendTALK2: Building a Network Approach, Amanda Fenton, Amanda Fenton Consulting

Being strategically responsive to changes, needing new ways to create thriving organizations, and how to engage and unleash employees, members and stakeholders in value co-creation are just some of the factors the association/non-profit sector is facing. What if we could make faster and better progress with a network approach? Working in networked ways is fundamentally different than traditional ways of working. How is a network approach relevant to the sector? How might we build a network approach and lead with a network mindset? What benefits can we realize? What assumptions around information, power, control, leadership need to be challenged? These are some of the thought-provoking questions we’ll explore in this TrendTalk.

03:30 pm

Thought-Leadership Presentation:


John Leech, CAE, CEO, Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of BC


Manley McLachlan, former CEO, BC Construction Association

Carol-Anne Moutinho, Senior Consultant, The Portage Group inc & CSAE BC Chapter President

Urvi Ramsoondar, Assistant Director of Operations, BC Construction Safety Alliance

This representative panel of thought-leaders working in and with membership organizations will discuss the opportunities before association, charity, and regulatory executives, with a lively interaction with all participants.

04:30 pm


Association 2025 is an event created by The Portage Group and delivered with CSAE.

Associations 2025 Registration

Member: $295
Non-Member: $395

To register, click the link at the top of the page or download this registration form and email it to

Accommodations have been made at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel. To reserve a room, call 1-800-663-0299 by March 2, 2017 and state that you are attending the CSAE Associations 2025 event to receive the special rate of $150/night.
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