More than 240 volunteer leaders representing the full spectrum of ASSP communities gathered recently in Chicago for the Society's annual Leadership Conference.
The program featured a mix of best practices and development sessions, covering topics such as delivering member value, engaging students and emerging professionals, planning a conference, using marketing and e-mail tools, budgeting and succession planning, as well as tips for engaging in virtual spaces, guidance for being impactful leaders and insight on leveraging conflict. Attendees also heard updates on current initiatives from 2018-19 ASSP President Rixio Medina, CSP, CPP, ASSP Foundation Vice Chair Trish Ennis, CSP, ARM, CRIS, and new ASSP executive director Jennifer McNelly, as well as an engaging presentation on being better collaborators from keynote speaker Rodd Wagner, best-selling author and executive advisor for conference sponsor SafeStart.
"The conference aims to provide these leaders, our most engaged members, with an opportunity to collaborate, find solutions and improve their leadership skills in order to enhance their success both with ASSP and in their careers," explains Arielle Semmel, ASSP's senior manager of communities. "It's also an opportunity for us to thank these volunteers, help them feel good about their decision to volunteer and encourage them to continue their involvement."
For 57% of attendees, this was their first Leadership Conference. In total, 86 chapters, 18 practice specialties and 4 common interest groups were represented. Other leaders in attendance included ASSP's Board of Directors, the ASSP Foundation NextGen Board, our five council vice presidents and area directors, as well as assistant administrators who will become administrators of our practice specialties and common interest groups next year.
Throughout the event, leaders shared ideas, collaborated on solutions and explored new ways to engage members across ASSP's communities. In addition to the interactive discussions during sessions, collaboration carried over into hallway and lunchtime conversations, all reflecting a genuine interest in enhancing the member experience across the Society. The energy was evident and contagious, says Board member Carl Heinlein, CSP, ARM, CRIS. "Throughout the conference, I heard one common theme, excitement about the future of ASSP,” he says. "There is such great energy, not only around the outcomes from the conference, but also a celebration of diverse experiences coming together to help do great things for the Society, the safety profession, the community and ultimately the safety professional.”
For ASSP staff, 48 of whom were on hand across the two days to connect with our volunteer leaders, the dedication and commitment of the volunteers continues to be energizing and motivating. "I was especially impressed with the current level of dedication, competence and commitment of the ASSP staff," says Chet Brandon, CSP, CHMM, who represented Region VII. "In my nearly 30 years of experience, I don't recall a time where the staff was better."
As a lead-in to the conference, ASSP piloted a Leadership Development Experience workshop that brought together the Board of Directors and the council and region vice presidents. During the day-long event, our senior volunteer leaders focused on how to use relationship building, team building and influencing skills to effectively lead other volunteers.
View our photo gallery from the event.