Last week on a short road trip via Trappers Pies, Goulburn, and past the Big Merino, my Aptify colleagues and I found ourselves in Australia’s capital, Canberra.

But our road trip wasn’t just about pies, roundabouts, or politics—the National Convention Centre hosted the premier event for Australian 516ace.jpgand New Zealand Association Executives. I was thrilled to attend this year’s AusAE Conference and Exhibition, and I learned a few lessons along the way. In fact, I know a lot of the delegates at the conference were also thrilled to particpate, as the conference hashtag #ACEACT16 was trending nationally both days of the conference—what amazing engagement!  

Research Reigns

All the good sessions at ACEACT16 this year were supported by a strong evidence base. Holly Ransom, Dr. Terry Fitzsimmons, and Amanda Robinson spoke about various issues in the association sector, with the research to back them up making their presentations valuable, trustworthy, and well-thought-out. 

Dr Terry Fitzsimmons: Adult habitus and accumulation of valuable career capital #ACEACT16 #gendergap

— AuSAE (@AuSAENews) May 24, 2016

Also, by including peer-reviewed research along with presentations, the take home value of the content goes up exponentially. You’d be hard pressed to find an association professional who could argue with an action driven by research, so an idea from any of these sessions could be implemented with very little resistance in your organisation.  

Millennials Matter (Still) Millennial.jpg

I know you’re thinking this issue has been done to death, and believe me, I am with you. But there is a reason the value of millennials is still being discussed during conference season. Very few associations are reaching their younger member-base at all, let alone well.

Remember, if you consider the youth of your member base—young, lazy Gen Ys’—you’ve already lost the battle. Reach out with real value and transparency utilising the channels they use! 

Too funny. Also, kinda true. Via @AuSAENews: The #millennials Maslow Hierarchy of Needs @HollyRansom #ACEACT16

— Lauren Burnhill (@LaurenOPV) May 25, 2016

Gender Equality Association Wide

I applaud @AuSAENews for creating space in their agenda for discussing gender equality #ACEACT16

— Angie Karpouzis (@angiekarpouzis) May 24, 2016

I am absolutely thrilled that AusAE made time to talk about such an important issue at their National Conference. Not only was there a closing keynote on Day One of the conference dedicated to research about the barriers to gender equality, but the entire conference program was full of women speakers, conversations about women, and more women-based organsations (Hello Australian Council of Women and Business & Professional Women Australia) and female CEOs. 

Overall, there was no denying that there is an issue with gender equality in Australian associations and NFPs, but by giving such a large platform to the issue and starting the discussion, AusAE has done a service to women nation-wide, and I was thrilled to be a part of it.  If you are more interested in this topic, Dr. Terry Fitzsimmons’ research can be found here.

I’d love to know what you thought of the ACE Conference. Send me a tweet using the hastag #ACEACT16 or leave a comment below. 

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