Thursday, August 11, 2011

Association Subculture Reflects on ASAE 2011 in St. Louis

The chills that you spill
Up my back keep me filled
With satisfaction when we’re done
Satisfaction of what’s to come
I couldn’t ask for another (I-I-I-I)
No, I couldn’t ask for another (that’s right)
Your groove I do deeply dig
No walls only the bridge
My supper dish
My succotash wish (sing it baby)
I couldn’t ask for another (uh-huh, uh-huh)
(I-I-I-I) No, I couldn’t ask for another.....Groove is in The Heart - DEEElite

Job. Well. Done.

I have to say that I echo Jamie Notter's post - I believe ASAE has been listening. Many of the criticisms we have had in the past were addressed this year in positive ways. I came back feeling much more relaxed and much more positive about ASAE than I have in years. Here are some post-event thoughts that are roiling around in my head.

In general.  This year felt more laid back than past years and I can't exactly pinpoint why that was.  Maybe it was St. Louis.  Maybe it was the fact that I spent a few days on vacation before I got there.  I'm just not really sure.  But this annual meeting seemed less "steroided" than in past years.  I had a much easier time drifting from session to session and didn't get that "panicky lemming" feeling very often.  It seemed like there were fewer "private walls" around common areas.

Format.  ASAE did a great job changing up formats.  We had deep dives, shorter sessions, Ignite! and flash session rooms.  I remember being one of the rebels last year who declared that if we couldn't find a session that resonated with us we might just hold our own flash discussion sessions.  Instead of stomping on attendees with that impulse, ASAE created the space for them.  I would have taken advantage of the room if I had the time and might just do that next year.

Acronym.  Loved following guest blog posts on Acronym.  Real time stuff with long time value.  Great job you guys!

Closing session.  WHEN do I get on my feet during a closing session?!?!  I mean - it's almost unheard of.  But this year was different.  Peter Sheahan was a great choice with a high energy presentation.  The ASAE Board didn't spend a year and a half on the stage (no offense, we appreciate you but in the past the "board parade" during the closing sessions was more akin to enduring a marathon or maybe water torture).  We managed to avoid any Candy Spelling-esque debacles and Dallas incorporating volunteers into their 2012 video was really good.  (And can I just give a special Association Subculture what-what to whoever the genius was in Dallas who gave us little laptop speakers?  Yeah, jammin'.)

Peers.  I love my fellow colleagues who make being onsite so fun.  Even before the event cool things were happening like Sandra Giarde, CAE making the crowdsourced ASAE11 playlist and other stuff.  But I have to figure out how to network better when I am onsite.  I think I come across as more social in social media than I have the physical capacity to be at on-site events.  Underneath a confident exterior, and outside of working in my professional day-job capacity,  I am surprisingly shy and awkward one-on-one.  I also have to carefully budget and manage my physical energy at events especially if I am presenting.  I'm like a reverse vampire - instead of bursting into flame in the sun, I poof like so much fairy dust in the moonlight.  So, as much as I want to party down with the YAPStars and charge right up to everyone I recognize and say hello (like Kiki L'Italien and Elizabeth Weaver Engle, etc.) I usually end up kind of "fading out" and not wanting to "bother anyone" or I just flat out literally don't physically "see" people when I'm in my little, thoughts racing/distracted brain-space-bubble.  It's not that I don't love you guys and want to hang out - I really, really do.  There must be a way to figure out how to connect with everyone I want to before Cinder-Michelle-a's interior clock tower bell rings and I race to my hotel room hoping not to lose a shoe along the way.

Next year.  I am already planning on attending next year and I hope to see this positive energy continue to gain momentum.  ASAE staff - if I have any words of advice I would recommend that you keep laying your hands "lightly on the wheel."  You are learning how to strike a nice balance between "organized" and "organic."  We appreciated the experience this year.  Thanks for all of your hard work.


  1. Believe it or not, I'm actually a Myers-Briggs "I" - high "I" as a matter of fact. I manage it at things like ASAE by preserving time to be alone and not spending my every waking minute with huge crowds of people.

    You have to know yourself and make a plan that accounts for that.

    So maybe you might want to set up meetings for mornings - could be as simple as messaging one or a few people and setting up a "let's meet for coffee tomorrow morning" or "I'm heading to X session - want to join me?"

    Just a thought.

  2. Great advice! :D Definitely something to keep in mind! Thanks for stopping by and commenting....


  3. Shelly, I so love your blogs!! Now, I'm kinda regretting not going...but I just really really didn't want to go to St. Louis.

    Next year is my hometown of Dallas, so I will go....and look forward to tracking you down and meeting you. I'll make sure it's before midnight!

    A LOT of us are like takes a really brave soul to break through those private walls in the public spaces. I value and hold dear authenticity as much as the next person, but fake it till you make it is my mantra to get through situations like that. Guess that's my "plan" according to Elizabeth.

  4. Dana -

    Thanks for the comment! I am looking forward to Dallas as I love being down in the Southern part of the US.

    And yes, it's really fun to connect and I hope we can!



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