WSAE 2017 Summit

Starts:  Oct 30, 2017 09:00 AM (CT)
Ends:  Oct 31, 2017 12:00 PM (CT)



Join us for the 2017 WSAE Summit: People, Purpose and Passion: Pathway to Success, October 30 & 31, at the Madison Marriott West! Now in its seventh year, the Summit promises to provide resourceful programming to help association professionals be creative thinkers and offer effective solutions to their members. It's an excellent venue to challenge your thinking and learn from your peers and other association experts. Don’t miss the Industry Partner Expo to visit our industry partner booths and catch up on their products and services. You’ll want to leave your business clothes behind and wear your jeans so you’re ready to jump in on all the fun and networking opportunities. Plus, the Awards Celebration will again take place on Monday evening of the Summit to recognize WSAE peers who have inspired us all. See below for the tentative schedule and click here to register today



9:00 am
Wisconsin Foyer

Registration Opens

9:30-10:30 am

Lessons from American Family: A Legacy Company Shifting Its Culture to be More Innovative 

Brenda Koenig, FCAS, MAAA, Ignite Vice President, American Family Insurance Company

Just like our business colleagues, "Innovation" has been a buzzword in the association world for some time.  We all know that many in the association world still struggle with what it means to be innovative, and how can we apply corporate best practices in this area to our world. With almost 90 years in business, American Family took on the task of shifting its culture to be more innovative. Hear from Brenda Koenig, Ignite Vice President, American Family Insurance Company about their efforts. She'll share the programs that are being implemented and discuss the challenges, new opportunities and best practices that have arisen, as they strategically implement changes to drive innovation.

10:30-11:45 am

TRACK ONE: Inside Out Marketing for Your Association

Mike DiFrisco, CAE, Sr. Director of Marketing, Experimental Aircraft Association

If you understand the importance of developing your foundation—your brand strategy—you should have a grasp of your INSIDE REALITY, those attributes that make your organization relevant, authentic, and differentiated. Now it’s time to reflect your Inside Reality in your OUTSIDE PERCEPTIONS—your marketing and communications. That’s the essence of Inside Out Marketing and it’s critical for both getting and keeping of members and supporters.

10:30-11:45 am
Salons FGH

TRACK TWO: Owners, Customers and Employees – who is a governing board to listen to?

Mark Thorsby, CAE, Vice President – Consulting Services, SmithBucklin & Bernadette Patton, CAE, Principal, Shields Meneley Partners

From our first days on the job working for an association, we have all learned that the governing board represents the interests of the members.  In reality, that assumption is one of those complex concepts each organization needs to study for itself.  This interactive session will provide participants an opportunity to explore this concept further since members of associations tend to consider themselves owners, customers and “unpaid” employees – the volunteers.  These simultaneous, and sometimes conflicting, roles and priorities can cause confusion in the boardroom and headquarters.  This session will help participants see this issue clearer and walk away with tools to lead a discussion with their boards of directors around this concept.

11:45 am-1:00 pm

WSAE Industry Partner Expo & Lunch

Don’t miss this year’s Halloween-themed expo to visit our industry partner booths and catch up on their products and services. Show your support for the many CVBs, hotels and other providers that engage with WSAE!

1:00-1:45 pm

Developing Your Culture as a Growth (And Brand) Strategy

Sandy Marsico, CEO, Sandstorm®



Like any other small business, Sandstorm® had growing pains. But the brand experience agency flourished by defining and building their culture—they doubled staff, moved into bigger digs, and grew revenue by 300%. Through personal stories, CEO Sandy Marsico will share 5 takeaways on how she transformed her company culture, and how you can build your association’s brand from the inside out to achieve explosive growth.

1:45-2:30 pm

TRACK ONE: Creating a Young Professionals Group at Your Association

Aaron Manogue, Marketing Manager, AMPED Association Management

Young professionals are the future of your association and that’s why it’s imperative that you have a plan on how to get them involved now. Believe it or not, most young professionals do in fact want to be active members, they just need the tools to do so. Learn the most important things to consider when creating a young professionals group so your young members can get value out of your association and stay engaged.

1:45-2:30 pm
Salons FGH

TRACK TWO: You're Leaving, Now What? 12 Tips for a Smooth Transition 

Bernadette Patton, CAE, Principal, Shields Meneley Partners &
Dennis Tomorsky, CPA, JD, CGMA, President & CEO, Wisconsin Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Two association industry veterans, one that recently transitioned out of a 17 year CEO position and one that’s planning his exit, provide tips for ensuring that the change in leadership is as pain free as possible. Learn how they proactively managed their departures. Some of the areas covered include transition timelines, volunteer leader and staff participation in the process, the job description and communication strategies. Even if a transition isn’t on your immediate horizon, attend this session for tips that can be applied to planned and unexpected turnover in other staff positions.

2:30-3:00 pm


3:00-3:30 pm


TRACK ONE: Meeting Trends and Tips: An Insider’s Look at How and Why the Times They Are A Changin’

Michelle Hilsabeck, Senior Account Executive, Marriott

In this session Michelle Hilsabeck, Senior Account Executive within Marriott’s US Account Sales Team, will talk with you about some industry trends concerning rooms and space availability and how these things can affect you beyond just getting a proposal for your group. This won’t cover the hottest new ideas in F&B or how to better manage your rooming list woes. It’s a numbers story told by a woman who prefers to avoid numbers. Bring your questions for this industry insider.

3:00-3:30 pm
Salons FGH

TRACK TWO: Crisis Communications Management

Brian Lee, APR, President, Revelation PR, Advertising & Social Media

A crisis can happen to any organization of any size or industry. Brian Lee, APR, will discuss what you can do to prepare for a crisis and then once it happens, how to mitigate it and restore public trust. Brian also will go over case studies submitted by WSAE members.

3:30-4:00 pm

Doing Well by Doing Good

Lannia Stenz, Executive Director/CEO, Gilda's Club Madison & Leanne Puglielli, PhD, Owner, DemoSoph Enterprises

In this fast-paced 30-minute presentation, we will discuss the growing importance of volunteer engagement for increased profit/donations/productivity, help you explore the story you tell to engage volunteers, touch on how you can more effectively tap into the professional skills of your volunteers, and offer resources that will help you improve how you thank those who donate time.

4:00-5:00 pm

Hands-On Community Outreach Project: Gilda's Club

6:00-8:30 pm
Sponsored by

WSAE Reception & Awards Celebration

Join us for an evening of celebration at Death's Door Spirits in Middleton as we recognize WSAE peers who have inspired us all.


8:00-9:00 am

WSAE Solutions Network Breakfast 

The WSAE Solutions Network is your place to ask questions, seek solutions, and discover new trends and practices. It’s also a great place to learn from your WSAE peers. Find your “spoke” and join the conversation.

9:00-9:45 am

How to Become a Social Media Rock Star

Spencer X Smith, Principal,

Social media is the best means ever invented to grow both your personal reputation as well as that of your company. Where and how should you spend your time, though? Which platforms? Which kind of content? In this session, Spencer X Smith will share what works for both himself and his clients around the country, and you'll learn both how-to tactics and strategy via Spencer's Personal Branding Power Hour to skyrocket your reputation too.

9:45-10:00 am

WSAE Annual Business Meeting

Join us for this annual year in review. There will be a bylaws amendment being voted on at this meeting. 

10:00-11:00 am

5 Trends Your Association Shouldn’t Ignore

Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, President & CEO, Avenue M Group, LLC

The biggest distinction between a trend and a fad is time. Fads fade whereas trends tend to solve problems or provide better solutions. Trends have the power to influence and change behavior. Organizations that ignore trends will just need to catch up later. From cord-cutting to the loyalty among Millennials and Generation Z, Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE, author of the Art of Membership, will identify the 5 trends associations cannot ignore, raise questions you should be discussing with your staff and leadership and provide examples of solutions being adopted by some organizations.

    11:00-11:45 am

    Curing Adultitis: Your Prescription for Less Stress and More Success

    Jason Kotecki, Artist, Author and Speaker, Founder of Escape Adulthood

    Stressed? Busy? Overwhelmed? If you’ve ever wanted to resign from adulthood, you may be struggling with a case of Adultitis™. Make your escape! Our passion and energy levels are regularly depleted by Adultitis and the burden of increased responsibilities and the need to do more with less. Jason shares how recapturing wisdom from childhood can help you reignite your passion, turn stress into laughter, and get more done while having more fun. Jason provides witty observations, humorous anecdotes and real-world techniques that will entertain and inspire you to live a richer, more balanced life.


    Early registration deadline is October 8. Register early and save!

    Association Executives, Association Staff, Consultants

    Early Late
    Members (1st registration)
    $350 $395
    Members (2nd registration +)*
    $295 $340
    Student member $95 $125
    Non-members $450 $495
    *Special rates are available for associations that register multiple staff. Please contact WSAE staff to receive your multiple registrant discount. 

    Industry Partners (includes tabletop exhibit)

    Early Late
    $450 $495
    Non-members* $550 $595
    Additional exhibitor** $125 $155

    *Non-member registration fee includes WSAE membership through 12/31/2017. 

    **Industry partners may include additional exhibitor registrants at the rate of $125 per person. Please contact WSAE to add additional registrants from your organization.

    Confirmed registrations must be canceled in writing by Monday, October 16 to receive a full refund, less a $50 cancellation charge. No refunds shall be made for cancellations after October 16. Substitutions are allowed.


    The Summit will be held at the Madison Marriott West. Sleeping rooms are available – book online or call the hotel at 1-888-745-2032 to make your reservation. Be sure to mention you are with WSAE to receive the discounted rate of $129/night before Sunday, October 8, 2017. 

    Madison Marriott West
    1313 John Q Hammons Dr
    Middleton, WI 53562


    Industry Partner Expo
    The Summit will provide 2 hours of exhibit time on Monday, October 30. Our exhibit spaces for 2017 have SOLD OUT! You can still learn more about the Expo. Contact the WSAE office to be put on the wait list!


    Our sponsorship opportunities have SOLD OUT for 2017. You can still view the opportunities here — contact the WSAE office to be put on a wait list! We appreciate your support!

    Thank you to our 2017 Sponsors! 



     Community Outreach

    The beneficiary of our community outreach donation for this year's Summit is Gilda’s Club Madison. Gilda's Club creates a community of free emotional support, cancer education, and hope for children and adults with any cancer diagnosis and those who care for them. They currently serve more than 3,000 members. 

    Join us on Monday, October 30 from 4:00-5:00 pm for a hands-on project to support Gilda's Club!



    Madison Marriott West
    1313 John Q Hammons Dr
    Middleton, WI 53562
    Event Image

    Message from the 2024 Women's Forum Subcommittee Chair

    Caley Mutrie, CAE, IOM

    The WSAE Women’s Forum is excited to present its third annual conference: Leading Out Loud. This conference will unite women and allies in the association, nonprofit, and hospitality industries. 

    Terry Pearce coined "Leading Out Loud" in his 1995 book Leading Out Loud: Inspiring Change Through Authentic Communications. When we lead out loud, we communicate authentically from the inside out. And that's what the 2024 WSAE Women's Forum is about - bringing our authentic selves together for a day of sharing, listening, learning from each other's wisdom and experience, and creating genuine connections. 

    When we lead out loud, we use our voices to create opportunities and shift perspectives. When we speak up and take risks, we free ourselves of limiting societal norms and the roles we've absorbed throughout our lives and careers from gender stereotyping. As aspiring and seasoned leaders alike, it is our responsibility to ourselves and each other to stop downplaying our experiences and opinions and support and inspire each other to find and raise our voices. 

    Building on the success and learnings of the 2022 and 2023 Women's Forums, this year's Forum will focus on leadership and career development, expanding our influence as leaders in our communities, becoming more assertive in our communications, leveraging the mentor/mentee relationship for personal and organizational benefit, learning from each other how to handle complex and challenging situations that confront us in our professional lives every day, and the importance of wellness, managing stress and caring for ourselves.

    This year's Women's Forum will create space for consequential discussions, motivating us to tap into our unique inner voices and raise them for personal and collective benefit in the workplace, our homes, our communities, and our hearts and minds. This year's program is a day-long conversation between our presenters, facilitators, and you. So, ask your questions and share your experiences and successes as we inspire each other to raise our voices and lead out loud. 

    Don't wait! Please register today and plan to join us for what will be an engaging and much-anticipated program!