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ASSOCIATION

RENOVATIONS ISSUE: SEE WHAT’S NEW AT MICHIGAN PROPERTIES

®

MSAE.ORG | January/February 2017

an interview with bonnifer ballard, M an interview with bonnifer ballard, mld, cae:

The Congruence Between Values & Actions MSAE 1350 Haslett Road East Lansing, MI 48823


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TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S

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FRESH FACES

CATCH UP ON RENOVATIONS AT LEADING HOTEL & MEETING SPACES IN MICHIGAN.

Suburban Collection Showplace W H AT ’ S TRENDING

P R E S I D E N T ' S M E S S AG E 4

RISK REVIEW — FOCUS FOR 2017 An overview of MSAE’s theme for the year.

# Associations are proactively INCREASING MEMBER ENGAGEMENT

A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE KNOW THY MEMBERS AND GET THEM EARLY 6

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DEBUNKING THE MYTHS ABOUT EMPLOYEE BENEFITS

for our members.

Sometimes, misperceptions can hold back a small organization from offering or adding benefits.

I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G MSAE’S CMP PREP COURSE BUILDS ON LAST YEAR’S SUCCESS 21

#Meeting venues are INVESTING IN E N H A N C I N G the EXPERIENCE

The findings of a new membership engagement study explore the differences across four member generations.

MSAE’s virtual class is an in-depth learning experience that enhances preparation for the CMP examination.

Correction: Association IMPACT 2016 November/December In the The Diamond Awards article, Allison Stuby, communications coordinator, Michigan Milk Producers was incorrectly identified as Sheila Burkhardt. Pictured on cover: Bonnifer Ballard, MLD, CAE, executive director, Michigan Section - American Water Works Association Photo credit for cover: Terry Johnston

# To retain great employees means a COMPETITIVE BENEFIT PAC K AG E .

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COVER STORY: THE CONGRUENCE BETWEEN VALUES & ACTIONS AN INTERVIEW WITH BONNIFER BALLARD, MLD, CAE

The SPARK Interview Series Throughout 2017, Association IMPACT will be interviewing select association leaders about key concepts from the book SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, by entrepreneurs, business consultants, and military veterans Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch. This issue, Bonnifer Ballard, MLD, CAE, discusses the first two chapters of the book. Association executives should have received a free copy of the book in the mail in early January 2017.

ASSOCIATION IMPACT < ISSUE 1> 2017 3


P R E S I D E N T ' S M E S S AG E

Risk Review — Focus for 2017

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oin me on a journey to get a handle on risk and how to manage it in the association sector. In my tenure with the association profession, I have never seen a resource that collectively analyzes all the risks we face and how to manage them. For example, law firms will offer a legal audit to minimize the possibility of legal issues disrupting the association. I believe, however, that an association executive needs a better understanding of other potential risks that an association could face, and be able to identify solutions. The MSAE board of directors spent time over the past year discussing this topic as well as MSAE’s risks. I discovered that although I thought I knew about all the risks, there were many things I did not know. A few years ago, Jack Roberts of the Michigan High School Athletic Association shared a story at the MSAE Law Symposium (be sure to attend the next one on October 30, 2017) regarding his decision to purchase two director and officer liability insurance policies. This decision was instrumental in the protection of the association through a legal issue. I must admit, I had never thought to have two policies. So, I am committed to helping all of us protect our organizations through careful risk review. As association executives, we must apply careful risk management to protect the association from exposure and loss. My colleague, Allen Haney, FASAE, states in the Professional Practices of Association Management, “Association risk management is the practice of identifying and analyzing possible loss exposure, then implementing steps to minimize the financial impact these risks create.” He further covers the five approaches to handling exposure to loss:

1. Insurance transfer. Buy insurance to protect you in case of loss by transferring your exposure to the insuring entity.

2. Risk avoidance. Stop the activity so you don’t have the exposure.

3. Risk control. Take measures to reduce the

By Cheryl Ronk, CAE, CMP Cheryl Ronk, CAE, CMP (cheryl@ msae.org) is the president of MSAE. President's Message is a regular feature in Association IMPACT magazine. If you’d like to stay up to date between issues, follow her blog posts on LinkedIn at http://bit.ly/1PFbSlO.

In conjunction with the two partners, we have created a risk assessment tool. You can view it or request it at www.msae.org/Insurance, and it’s also available through Third Thought®, www.thirdthought.msae.org. Return the assessment to Denise Amburgey at amburgey@msae.org and we will arrange for someone to meet with you to discuss any areas of vulnerability. We’ve also created an online Community of Practice on Association Risk Assessment to give members the opportunity to discuss, ask questions, and access risk assessment resources. Want to participate? Join me at www.thirdthought.msae.org or contact Denise Amburgey at 517.332.6723 or amburgey@msae.org.

frequency or the severity of a potential loss.

4. Contractual risk transfer. Outsource the activity with the inherent exposure.

5. Assumption of risk. Recognize and willingly accept that if there is a loss, you are responsible. MSAE has completed the formation of a for-profit service corporation, The MSAE Service Corporation (MSC). MSC is partnering with The Centennial Group and 44North to serve as experts in association issues and coverage. They are ready to help you with discussion of issues and insurance transfer.

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Download MSAE’s New Risk Assessment Tool This free questionnaire gives you an idea of where your organization may have risk in your business or employee insurance. Download at www.thirdthought.msae.org in the Association Risk Assessment Community of Practice.


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A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE

Know Thy Members and Get Them Early

The findings of a new membership engagement study explore the differences across four member generations. Source: Abila

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new, two year membership engagement study of professional societies — conducted by Abila — surveyed over 1,000 organization members, membership professionals, and recently lapsed members. They investigated attitudes, values, member preferences, alignment, and divergences of the association staff. Interestingly they also explored the differences across four generations: Millennials, Gen Xers, Boomers, and Matures. Their key findings were:

11. Get them early. The best time to attract new members is early in their career stage (as a student or between one and five years into their career). Professionals become increasingly difficult to acquire as they progress in their careers. (see Figure 1: When Members Join Organizations)

22. Job opportunities matter. Today’s new members join for job opportunities. Socializing/ networking and professional development also rank close to the top. New members are the future of your organization. They warrant a targeted engagement strategy specifically geared to their interests and preferences. (see Figure 2: Why New Members Join; Why Organizations Believe They Join)

33. Know thy members. The benefits and value members

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A S S O C I AT I O N K N OW L E D G E

4. 4 Deliver the value members want and need. The study found that members see value in a professional member organization but too little emphasis is put on job opportunities, credentials, certification, standards, ethics, and specific member needs. Ensure that information is relevant. Conversely, the study found that organizations are putting too much emphasis on meetings and conferences or advocacy. Figure 3 and Figure 4 provide a more visual representation of the discrepancies between what members value versus what organizations value. Figure 3, for

ď ´ get from being part of an organization change, grow, and evolve as members age and advance in their careers. Younger generations care more about job opportunities and training, while older generations are more interested in getting the latest

industry information and staying current. Yet, very few organizations reported targeting based on career stage. Either marketing was done to all members the same or using member type as the primary segmentation factor.

ASSOCIATION IMPACT < ISSUE 1> 2017 7


A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE

example, illustrates the difference between the members’ prioritization of job opportunities, far beyond the organizations to which they belong. (see Figures 3 and 4: What members prioritize vs what organizations think is important)

What Keeps Members Engaged? Members extract value from the organization to which they belong in very different ways along their career journey, the study reports. They delineated the specific benefits for generations and career paths. (see Figure 5: What Matters Most to Members in Different Age Groups and see Figure 6: What Keeps Members Most Engaged as They Progress in Their Careers)

What Can We Learn from This Report?

Optimizing growth, retention, and engagement means digging deeper to

understand members and eliminating the gaps between what members want and what organizations deliver. The report outlines that professional societies need to have a sharp, well-defined understanding of where members are in their career journey and cater content and communications to address their needs and desires. Build the content for specific career stages, marketing it through the member’s preferred communication mode and delivering through the appropriate channels for the generation. In summary: ++ Create meaningful segments. ++ Develop a strategy specifically for early careerists. ++ Understand member communication preferences. ++ Target education to specific segment needs and preferences. 

Edge Research, commissioned by Abila, conducted the research in April 2016. Abila is a provider of software and services to nonprofit organizations and associations. The full report is available at http://bit.ly/2jEbdYH.

Keep Learning in Third Thought® Want to know more about this topic? Search for the articles and podcasts listed below in MSAE’s digital library on www.thirdthought.msae.org. "Member Engagement Through Advocacy" "Engagement Strategies For Enhancing Events" ;;“Volunteer Opportunities with Member Engagement”

CON NECTION A CONFERENCE CALL CAN’T PROVIDE The Crystal Center offers upgraded technology and fl exible seating for up to 350 people, so it’s easy to stay connected and let your productivity flourish. Our event planners will coordinate everything, from on-site catering to setting up the presentation. Stick around and enjoy over 235 lodging rooms, delicious dining and endless mountain activities. Make it a meeting to remember at Crystal Mountain.

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39945 MSAE Association Impact, Jan-Feb, Crystal M&C Ad.indd 1

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At the conclusion of the conference, there will be a Capitol Reception for legislators and attendees to engage and interact. For more information or to sponsor, please visit www.msae.org/legpub or call 517-332-6723.

MSAE Legislative App MSAE’s Legislative Mobile app represents the go-to resource for association executives working in the public policy arena. By downloading this mobile app, you’ll: ▸▸ Learn the names and faces leading or representing Michigan’s legislative efforts at the state and federal level. ▸▸ Identify the lawmakers on each Michigan legislative committee. ▸▸ Track legislation at the state and federal level. In fact, you can contact MSAE and receive a member discount in building this mobile app for your association. For more information, please call 517-332-6723.

ASSOCIATION IMPACT < ISSUE 1> 2017 9


C O V E R STO R Y

An interview with Bonnifer Ballard:

The Congruence Between Values & Actions Ballard

By Carla Kalogeridis

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hroughout 2017, Association IMPACT will be interviewing select association leaders about key concepts from the book SPARK: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success, by entrepreneurs, business consultants, and military veterans Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, and Sean Lynch. The book explores how anyone can become an extraordinary leader by embracing certain key behaviors. Association executives should have received a free copy of the book in the mail in early January 2017. The interview series kicks off with Bonnifer Ballard, MLD, CAE, executive director of the Michigan Section-American Water Works Association. Ballard joined AWWA in July 2014 as the first executive director in its history. Formerly the director of communications and outreach at the Center for Nuclear Science and Technology Information at American Nuclear Society, Ballard has over 20 years of experience in marketing communications and fundraising for nonprofits. Here, she reflects on several myths of leadership and shares thoughts about the role of values in leading an organization.

ASSOCIATION IMPACT < VOLUME 34 > 2017

IMPACT SPARK leads off with the idea that someone is not chosen to be a leader — rather, they choose to lead. Has that proven true in your own leadership journey? Ballard Yes and no. There are certain innate characteristics that move someone to take the lead. IMPACT Do you agree with the book’s premise that anyone can be a leader? Ballard No — at one time, I would have said yes. Five years ago, in a previous job, I had a really great team. I was trying to be conscientious about creating a collaborative environment. I gave the administrator a new project, but she closed my door and said, “This is too much. I can’t do it.” Being a leader takes a desire to do it, and it takes thick skin. IMPACT How do you influence the people you lead? Ballard Whether it’s staff or member volunteers that you’re leading, the first step is to establish trust. I start that in the job interview process, setting up an open, two-way dialogue

that leads to trust. You have to be consistently transparent. Say what you mean and mean what you say. With staff, you can use your authority to get things done. With volunteers, of course, you have to use more finesse. Either way, if you want to influence people, it needs to be by their choice. Having that trust gives you credibility when you really want to push forward an idea. IMPACT Do you think it’s possible to change the qualities you were born with? Ballard There was an interesting statistic in SPARK — that we are born with about 30 percent of the leadership qualities we have. The idea is that you shouldn’t waste time trying to change that 30 percent, and instead, focus on the 70 percent that you can develop. Actually, I’d like to think that’s not true. You can’t change your history, but I hope that you can always change your future. Some of your characteristics are hard-wired, but I think you can change them — it just takes more action. Perhaps it’s more efficient to spend time on the 70 percent because changing the hard-wired 30


COVERSTORY

 Bonnifer Ballard, MLD, CAE, executive director, Michigan Section - American Water Works Association Photo credit: Terry Johnston

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C O V E R STO R Y

(l to r) Bonnifer Ballard, MLD, CAE pictured with AWWA members Wayne A. Jernberg, P.E., assistant water system manager, and Chad Reenders, lake filtration supervisor, Grand Rapids Water Filtration Plant Photo credit: Terry Johnston percent is an up-hill climb. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

IMPACT What’s an example of something you’re hard-wired to do but you’re trying to change? Ballard I have a natural tendency to think out loud. The problem is that it can be counter-productive because it shuts down all the rest of the dialogue. I’ve had to train myself when I can do that and when I can’t. Now, I write down my thoughts during a discussion or meeting because it helps me formulate the idea. You’re never not your own title. If you are executive director, and you’re in a meeting that someone else is leading and you’re not acting that role, it’s still hard for everyone else. Once the leader speaks in a staff meeting, it’s hard for others to keep thinking creatively because the leader’s words carry weight. For me, I have to be mindful of that, to step out of the way for a time to allow others to lead. IMPACT How do you keep yourself self-aware? How do you get honest feedback from those you lead? Ballard Personal reflection. It is the single most important thing a leader can do. It’s the difference between arrogance and being smart

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about how to move forward. I might spend a little too much time in self-reflection, but it’s important for a leader to look in the mirror because it’s harder to get honest feedback as you move up the ladder. Leaders are high-energy doers, and it’s harder for them to spend time on qualitative analysis of themselves. That’s one reason why, in addition to self-reflection, leaders should seek out honest sources for feedback. For example, when I give a staff member’s performance review, at the end, they have to tell me what I can do better.

Leaders need to be open to feedback that will allow them to shore up their weaknesses. A high level of candor between ourselves and others generates self-awareness. — SPARK

One way I encourage honest feedback is to support open conflict. If staff can’t be honest with what they think about a project, they won’t be honest with you about your leadership. You have to be disciplined in how you apply your self-reflection, thinking, and analysis.

IMPACT Do you have to challenge your instincts before they can be trusted? As a leader, how much do you rely on your instincts? Ballard There’s a difference between instinct and gut reaction. A gut reaction is a cultural construct that is born from habit. An instinct is intuitive thinking. You must be mindful of that distinction so that at the end of the day, you’re using your values to make decisions. IMPACT What’s the difference between leading yourself and leading others? Ballard Leading yourself takes discipline and sometimes sheer force of will, while leading others takes discipline with a healthy dose of patience. You have to know where you’re headed. Even if you don’t have all the answers, you have to be clear on what you value. You have to think about that internal journey and make sure you can lead yourself before you try leading others. IMPACT SPARK talks quite a bit about the challenge of making decisions that align with your values and acknowledging that internal disconnect between values and actions. Have you struggled with that in your career?


COVERSTORY

Ballard Yes. It is a natural part of growing as a leader. The question is, what are your core values? Values drive your decisions, whether you think so or not. What’s the line that you’re not willing to cross? How far are you willing to go in one direction or another? You’ve got to do some contingency planning. You can manage what comes up if you know your values. It’s important to recognize that you can be in a position of leadership without being aware of your values. That said, your values follow you wherever you go, no matter what context you’re in. Having to make decisions that don’t align with your values — that often keeps people from accepting leadership roles. It’s not always black or white, yes or no. More often the world is gray, it’s more complex. As a leader, you have to be clear about the values you’re using to make each decision. That’s part of transparency. Transparency, honesty, and loyalty are my values. They drive everything I do. But values are just the foundation of leadership. Other skills influence your leadership. IMPACT What roles does value-driven leadership play in the association sector?

No one wants to look back and regret what they didn’t do in critical moments. Living your values is the best way to prevent this from ever happening. — SPARK It’s also important to think about your association’s values because they set the tone for the entire organization. In the association world, mission and vision are a normal part of life, but you have to go beyond that to values and promise. You have to know who you are as an organization. Sometimes you have

to help your organization figure out who they are as an organization. The organization’s values are its brand. The organization’s values and brand exist — even if you aren’t aware they exist. The key is to be purposeful.  Carla Kalogeridis (carlak@msae.org) is editor of Association IMPACT.

Keep Learning in Third Thought® Want to know more about this topic? Search for the articles listed below on MSAE’s digital library on www.thirdthought.msae.org.

“Values and Knowledge:

Critical Elements in the Strategy Making Process”

“Creating and Evaluating Core Values”

Ballard Association leaders are required to be mission-driven and goal-driven. That’s why many of us stay in associations. I chose the organizations I have worked for based on their mission. I cannot work for an organization that I don’t believe in, so usually, I don’t face a leadership challenge that conflicts with my values. When it does, I use the association’s mission statement as the litmus test. It’s messy — sometimes, you wake up in the middle of the night and say, “I shouldn’t have done that.” If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will. You have to be honest with yourself about why you made a decision a certain way.

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F E A T U R E STO R Y

FRESH FACES Catch up on the renovations at these leading hotel and meeting spaces in Michigan.

Crystal Mountain

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ssociations book about 60 percent of the meeting space in the state. They offer more adult education than any other sector. Once you are in a profession, you stay current through interaction with others and most often through your association. Since it is challenging for meeting professionals to visit each property to experience their renovations, MSAE features this synopsis of the significant changes to save you time on what is new.

Crystal Mountain Over the last two decades, Crystal

Crystal Mountain

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Mountain has earned recognition from trusted names like Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s Travel, Parents magazine and Michigan Meetings + Events. The resort has invested $100 million in development during that span. Now, as the resort celebrates its 60th anniversary, a transformative $11 million expansion to the Inn at the Mountain is taking shape and set for completion in summer 2017. “A shared set of values for community, family, the environment, and physical activity is what founded this place in 1956 and has been iteratively woven into each decision we’ve made in building

this mountain community over the last three decades,” says Chris MacInnes, chief operating officer of Crystal Mountain. The 31,000 square-foot expansion will include 25 new hotel rooms and suites to the Inn at the Mountain bringing the total to 54. In keeping with the resort’s reputation as a leader in sustainability, a geothermal heating and cooling system will operate 48 percent more efficiently than a traditional unit. The new lobby coffee and wine bar, specialty market, rooftop terrace, as well as the surrounding park — named after artist and founder of Michigan Legacy Art Park, David Barr — will offer a new stage for people to connect and exchange ideas. “We’ve designed the elements of a very special village core using a thoughtful, disciplined approach,” says Jim MacInnes, chief executive officer for Crystal Mountain. “This project is the hub that connects all the spokes, and we believe it will bring incredible energy and vitality to the very heart of the resort.”


F E AT U R E STO RY

Suburban Collection Showplace The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi has broken ground to add an approximately 175,000-squarefoot event center expansion to their facility. The expansion — scheduled to be completed by December 2017 — offers 90,000 square feet of exposition space, including 70,000 square feet of clear-span column-free event center space with 40-foot clear ceiling height, all contiguous with the existing 210,000 square feet of exposition space. There will be 14 additional meeting-banquet rooms including an 18,000-square-foot second-story ballroom overlooking the new event center and 16,000 square feet of upper and lower level prefunction space. The Suburban Collection Showplace will now be able to offer more than 300,000 total square feet of event center exposition space and four large ballrooms — ranging from 5,700 square feet to 20,000 square feet with 38 meeting-breakout rooms. The expansion will enable the facility to host larger consumer shows, entertainment events, athletic events, trade shows, social events, and association conventions for up to 8,000 people.

Cobo Center The $279-million Cobo Center renovation — completed in 2015 — includes a bevy of upgrades for the downtown Detroit facility. Cobo Center offers 723,000 square feet of exhibition space;

Cobo Center 200,000 square feet of flex space; a 40,000-square-foot dividable Grand Riverview Ballroom with floor-to-ceiling views of the Detroit River and Windsor, Ontario; three junior ballrooms; an 8,000-squarefoot state-of-the-art kitchen with tasting room; 100 meeting-breakout rooms; a 30,000-square-foot threestory glass atrium; 2,200 parking spaces; and 31 loading docks. On-site services and amenities include: ++ Hi-tech external and internal digital signage for messaging and advertising ++ In-house TV station with satellite up-link capability ++ Complimentary, facility-wide, high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access and splash-page sponsorship opportunities ++ Food courts ++ Business center ++ Detroit Shoppe retail shopping with made-in-Detroit

Suburban Collection Showplace

merchandise on concourse ++ Green event support services ++ In-house marketing support for events ++ ATM and mailing services ++ People Mover (light rail downtown transport) station in center

Royal Park Hotel Experience well-crafted, local fare at Royal Park Hotel’s newest dining establishment, PARK 600 bar + kitchen. Featuring locally sourced menu items created by Executive Chef Colin Brown, PARK 600 serves breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner. Pairing shared plates and bold flavors with refined cocktails, PARK 600 bar + kitchen brings the flavor of the cities across the world to downtown Rochester. Chart your own dining adventure with approachable and authentic food with a burst of bold flavor, prepared with thought, attention, and passion. Experience a diverse

Royal Park Hotel

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East Lansing Marriott

variety of culinary presentations featuring Indian Brook Trout Farm, Grassfields Cheese, The Cheese Ladies, The Givethanks Bakery, The Chef’s Garden, Sierra Cheese, and other native growers. Our service team looks forward to presenting you with a wonderful

East Lansing Marriott at University Place Located just one block from the campus of Michigan State University and in the heart of

Evergreen Resort

A dedicated team of professionals who know what it takes to help nonprofit organizations reach their financial goals. We offer customized solutions aligned directly with your organization’s mission and strive to help maximize the potential of your resources. For more information about our nonprofit niche services, contact Trey Williams at 517.886.9585 or twilliams@manercpa.com. 2425 E. Grand River Ave,. Ste 1 | Lansing, MI 48912

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dining experience that will keep you coming back to see what’s next.

downtown, the newly renovated East Lansing Marriott at University Place provides a modern and comfortable environment for your next meeting. The lobby has been transformed to an interactive, inviting center, identified as Bistro 43 – Great Room Restaurant and Lounge. It meets the needs of today’s Marriott traveler, combining work and play. Gather with friends or colleagues here at our casual American cuisine restaurant for lunch, dinner, or a light bite. Featuring 182 deluxe guestrooms and ultra-flexible event space that can accommodate meetings for 10 to 400 people, the East Lansing Marriott is a great spot to rest and unwind, meet and collaborate, or all the above. Plus, take advantage of 10,000 square feet of meeting space for your event in East Lansing — amenities include high-speed Internet and state-ofthe-art audiovisual facilities.

ASSOCIATION IMPACT < VOLUME 34 > 2017

Located in the geographic center of Michigan, Cadillac’s Evergreen Resort is an affordable meeting and business travel destination built upon the rich history and recreational amenities of the area. Nestled on 327 acres, Evergreen Resort provides highquality, full-service, year-round accommodations. The resort property features more than 100 newly renovated rooms and suites, 27 holes of championship golf, an updated event and conference center with modern amenities, a brand new Northern Michigan dining experience with a regional flair, and a casual tavern to gather and relax with friends. This northern destination offers access to diverse Northern Michigan outdoor activities and a friendly and knowledgeable staff to help you make the most of your visit.


Treetops Resort This past December, Treetops Resort began a $4.5 million renovation and improvement project. The resort is committed to bringing all types of guests and travelers an unforgettable and spectacular experience. The project contains plans for everything from exterior paint to a complete overhaul of the lodging rooms. The two main lodging facilities — The Lodge and The Inn — will have distinctly different color palettes, while fitting right into the new exterior aesthetics and the surrounding one-of-a-kind landscape. Plans for the interior overhaul include brand new lobby, updated bathrooms, fixtures and furnishings, flooring, and air conditioning units for the two buildings. With a renewed focus on comfort, guests can

Call (877) 496-1118 for more information.

enjoy some of Michigan’s most spectacular sights, while relishing in the modern, woodland feel of

Keep Learning in Third Thought®

more than 238 lodging rooms, found only at “Michigan’s Most Spectacular Resort.” 

Want to know more about this topic? Search for the articles listed below on MSAE’s digital library on www.thirdthought.msae.org. “Back to The Basics of Site Selection” “Wheeling Through a Site Inspection”

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A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE

Debunking the Myths About Employee Benefits Sometimes, misperceptions can hold back a small organization from offering or adding benefits. By Tim Durso

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 18

ssociations have a lot to offer: collective cultures, less bureaucracy, more relaxed attitudes, and, in many cases, they provide employees with the chance to build something from the ground up. That said, they often lag behind when it comes to benefit offerings. According to the 14th annual MetLife U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study, only 46 percent of small employers, including associations, report that their organization offers a range of benefits to meet their needs, compared to approximately 75 percent of employees who work at mid-sized and large forprofit companies. Sometimes, perception can hold back a small organization from offering or adding benefits. We see this in the marketplace all the time. Reasons such as not having enough

ASSOCIATION IMPACT < VOLUME 34 > 2017

staff to administer, costing too much, or employees’ lack of interest don’t usually represent the truth. The recent MetLife Study dispels all these excuses and provides data showing that offering benefits actually helps employers build stronger relationships with employees, increase retention of key people, and help with overall productivity.

Myth #1: Employees are not interested in benefits other than medical insurance. With so much energy concentrated on the Affordable Care Act, employers may be tempted to assume that employees only care about medical benefit offerings. However, this could not be further from the truth. Dental coverage, for example, is high in demand — and highly utilized — by employees. In fact, the MetLife Study found when ranking benefits that employees were interested in but did not already get from their employers, dental was ranked the number-one benefit after medical. Three-fourths (74 percent) of small-entity employees said they were interested in receiving dental benefits, followed by a retirement plan (71 percent), prescription drug coverage (66 percent), and then vision insurance (63 percent). According to the National Association of Dental Plans, employees who receive dental care are less likely to have larger


A S S O C I AT I O N K N OW L E D G E

health complications down the road. In fact, employees were 67 percent more likely to have heart disease; 50 percent more likely to have osteoporosis; and 29 percent more likely to have diabetes. In addition to negatively impacting employees, these illnesses can mean a loss in productivity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than 164 million work hours are lost each year due to dental problems alone. MetLife’s Study confirms this drain on productivity. Approximately onethird (30 percent) of employees said their productivity at work suffered because they had to delay medical or dental care due to the cost.

Myth #2: Benefits are not going to be a factor in attracting and retaining employees. Given the robust benefit packages provided by large corporations, smaller employers may feel that their benefit offerings cannot compete in the search for talent, so they do not bother. However, such employers are short-changing their operations, as benefits are a key to attracting, retaining, and driving loyalty among employees. When it comes to attracting talent, benefits matter. According to a 2014 study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 76 percent state that benefits are a very or extremely important factor in their decision to accept a job offer. This insight is critical for smaller entities that may find recruiting high-quality employees a difficult task. MetLife’s Study found that over two-thirds (69 percent) of employees at mid-sized companies said they chose to work for their employer because of the benefits. In contrast, under half (46 percent) of employees at small entities said the same, showing the opportunity for employers to use benefits as a recruiting tool. Benefits also play a role in retention and loyalty. The MetLife

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remain with their employer, and 34 percent said the same for vision. While benefits may not be the sole reason that employees join or stay at their jobs, they clearly make a difference.

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A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE

Myth #3: Administering benefits is too time-consuming.

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One of the most prevalent misperceptions about administering benefits is that they are time consuming. This belief is especially popular among small-entity CEOs, as they tend to be the ones administering their company’s benefits, whereas larger corporations have a dedicated human resources team or outsource all or several benefit administration functions. Seventy-two percent of business owners surveyed by the National Small Business Association said they were primarily responsible for handling benefit offerings, whereas 24 percent delegated it to staff and just 4 percent outsourced the responsibility. However, according to the MetLife study, employers at small entities found the benefit administration

ASSOCIATION IMPACT < VOLUME 34 > 2017

process to be much less cumbersome than did those at mid-sized and large companies. In fact, only 18 percent of small-entity employers were confused by the benefits review and selection process, compared to 29 percent of those at mid-sized companies. Similarly, under a quarter of smaller employers (22 percent) said the benefits selection process was too time consuming, compared to 32 percent of those at mid-sized companies and 25 percent at large companies. Additional good news for smallentity employers is that many resources and tools are available for understanding the benefits process. Employers can consolidate multiple coverages with a single carrier to reduce administration and increase efficiencies. They can also explore new channels, such as private

exchanges, to identify opportunities for increasing benefit choice while reducing administrative burdens. Ultimately, benefits don’t have to be a headache. Rather, they can add significant value to employers and their employees. By understanding these potential misperceptions and re-evaluating beliefs about benefits, small-entities will not only get more out of their benefit offerings but also will boost employee productivity and loyalty.  Tim Durso (durso.tim@principal.com) is president of The Centennial Group. MSAE will be distributing the Compensation and Benefit Survey in the coming month. Members that contribute receive the report first and the lowest price. Please submit your data when you receive the request.


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MSAE’s CMP Prep Course Builds on Last Year’s Success MSAE’s virtual class is an in-depth learning experience that enhances preparation for the CMP examination. By Stephanie Wohlfert, CMP

S

tarting in February, for the second year in a row, anyone from anywhere can obtain assistance toward receiving the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation. The face-to-face class will continue to be held at the MSAE office late summer/fall 2017. The Convention Industry Council (CIC) continues to promote industry standards, practices, and ethics with the CMP international standards developed for CMPs by CMPs. MSAE’s virtual class, just like the face-to-face class, is an in-depth learning experience that enhances preparation for the CMP examination. Both CMP preparation courses dive deep into all 10 domains that the CMP examination covers through a comprehensive, five-month interactive course. Over 10,000 meeting planning professionals in 55 countries have achieved their CMP designation. MSAE was the first organization to hold a preparation program in Michigan. Over the past 13 years, MSAE has assisted over 220 Michigan professionals in becoming CMPs. More than 300 meeting professionals hold this prestigious designation in Michigan. The CMP program increases the professionalism of meeting management professionals in all sectors of the industry, proving that they understand the comprehensive body of knowledge in the meeting management profession. The CMP credential is recognized globally

The use of the CMP Preferred Provider Pre-Check logo is not an endorsement by the Convention Industry Council of the quality of the session. This logo means that this session has met the criteria to be pre-approved for CMP certification credit.

as the badge of excellence in the meeting, convention, exhibition, and event industry. The qualifications for certification are based on professional experience, education, and a rigorous 165-question exam. “The Virtual CMP Prep Course is something the CMP Advisory Council and MSAE discussed for a few years,” says Cheryl Ronk, CMP, CAE, president of MSAE. “We decided to implement the virtual prep course last year, and I’m so thankful we did. In our inaugural year, we had 25 people from across four states register for the prep course. There’s obviously a need for a prep course beyond the driving distance of Lansing. We look forward to welcoming these meeting professionals, along with those outside of the state.” MSAE’s new Virtual CMP Prep Course features: ++ CEUs to count toward your CMP application ++ Meetings two times per month

for two-hour sessions ++ Simulated, full-length practice exam ++ Constant group communication, including an online group discussion board ++ Supportive staff and faculty to answer any questions along the way ++ Comprehensive curriculum outline and reading assignments to guide participants through the course materials ++ Knowledgeable core facilitators and content specialists to give expert tips on exam preparation

MSAE is also excited to announce that, once again, it has been approved by the CIC as a CMP Preferred Provider. This reflects MSAE’s commitment to providing education that helps individuals earn and maintain the Certified Meeting Professional certification. Note: This

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I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G

is not an endorsement by the CIC of the quality of the session. This just means that this session has met the criteria to be pre-approved for CMP certification credit. Both the virtual and classroom prep courses are led by a core group of facilitators and content specialists that are vetted and trained. The faculty consists of:

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Register at msae.org or contact Kristy Carlson, CMP at carlson@ msae.org or call (517) 332-6723.  Stephanie Wohlfert, CMP, is MSAE’s meetings coordinator. She is involved in the administration of the CMP program.


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS MSAE STAFF Mike Wenkel, CAE, Chairman Executive Director Michigan Potato Industry Commission

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Barry Cargill, CAE, Chairman-Elect Executive Director Michigan HomeCare & Hospice Association

®

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MSAE.ORG | July/Aug ust 2016

Cheryl O. Ronk, CAE, CMP President Denise E. Amburgey Chief Financial Officer Stephanie Wohlfert, CMP Meetings Coordinator Shawnna Henderson Marketing & Communications Manager

Denise McGinn, CAE Kimberly Gools, CAE Secretary Membership Director President Edward Woods III Association Guidance

Director of Learning &

Lorraine Goodrich, CPA Leadership Experiences Treasurer Angela DeVries CFO Executive Assistant Automotive Industry Action Group

Kelly Chase, CMP

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CONNECT WITH NEW PEOPLE THROUGH ASSOCIATION IMPACT MAGAZINE Did you know associations represent most industries, from potatoes to homebuilders to physicians? Take a second to think of an industry and I bet there’s an association for that! There’s even an association for associations — MSAE is proud to be Michigan’s. Our publications represent the most effective, inexpensive way to market to the association sector in Michigan. Contact henderson@msae.org for a personalized quote or complete marketing plan.

Amy Smith, CAE, AAP, Past Chairman Meetings Assistant Vice President and Kristy Carlson, CMP Executive Director Virtual Meetings Coordinator The Clearing House Payments Authority ASSOCIATION IMPACT® Rochelle Black Carla Kalogeridis VP for Government Relations Editor Oakland University

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Paul A. Long President & CEO Association IMPACT® is published Michigan Catholic Conference bimonthly by the Michigan Society of Association Executives, 1350 Cynthia H. Maher, CAE Haslett Road, East Lansing, Executive Director MI 48823, (517) 332-6723. Michigan Plumbing & Mechanical Subscribers should direct all Contractors Association inquiries, address changes, Steve Mitchell and subscription orders to that Chairman address. Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily Mitchell Research & reflect the view or position of the Communications , Inc Michigan Society of Association Dave Moulton Executives (MSAE). MSAE’s Member Services Manager position on key issues will be SME clearly stated. Manuscripts are accepted at the approval of MSAE, Andi Osters which reserves the right to reject Social Media & Brand Coordinator or edit. Appearance in Association Michigan High School Athletic IMPACT® does not constitute Association endorsement of the advertiser, Jack Schripsema, CTA its products or services, nor does Association IMPACT® make President & CEO any claims or guarantees as to Greater Lansing Convention the accuracy or validity of the & Visitors Bureau advertiser’s offer and reserves Jared Burkhart the right to reject any advertising Executive Director deemed unsuitable. Advertising Michigan Council of rates available at www.msae.org. Charter School Authorizers Kimberly R Pontius, CAE Executive Vice President Traverse Area Association of REALTORS® Richard P. Seely, CAE Account Executive Member Insurance Solutions, Michigan Dental Association

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Association IMPACT Magazine: Interview with Bonnifer Ballard & New Property Renovations  

Bonnifer Ballard, MLD, CAE, executive director of the Michigan Section-American Water Works Association, is interviewed in the first of seri...