MSAE.ORG | ISSUE #5 | 2019
Gilda Z. Jacobs MLPP, President and CEO
COMBATING WORKPLACE BIAS THROUGH PROACTIVE POLICIES
MICHIGAN LEAGUE FOR PUBLIC POLICY CONTINUES TO BUILD AN INCLUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT
MICHIGAN SOCIETY OF ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVES
MSAE 1350 Haslett Road East Lansing, MI 48823
THE ALL-NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS MSAE STAFF Denise McGinn, CAE Larry Merrill Chairman President/CEO President Denise E. Amburgey, CAE Association Guidance Cynthia H. Maher, CAE Chairman-Elect Executive Director Michigan Plumbing & Mechanical Contractors Association
Chief Financial Officer of MSAE & General Manager of MSAE Service Corporation Maryanne F. Greketis, CMP CTA Career Enrichment Manager Kelly Chase, CMP
Lorraine Goodrich Member Service Coordinator Treasurer CFO Taylor Benavente Automotive Industry Action Group Association Industry Advocate Jared Burkhart, CAE Ryan Handy, CMP Secretary Association Community Manager Executive Director Michigan Chapter – American Academy of Pediatrics
25,000 square feet of remodeled space State-of-the-art Crestron® sound system Vibrant “lake effect” design theme New air walls and LED lighting Private meeting planner office All-new digital signage
Barry Cargill, CAE Past-Chairman Executive Director Michigan HomeCare & Hospice Association
Kelly Mazurkiewicz Editor M3 Group Graphic Design
Steve Carey, CAE MSC BOARD OF DIRECTORS Executive Director Mike Wenkel, CAE National Truck Equipment Association Chairman Scott T. Ellis Executive Director Executive Director Michigan Potato Industry Commission Michigan Licensed Beverage Association
Jared Burkhart, CAE
Carey Goryl, MSW, CAE Treasurer Executive Director Executive Director Association of Staff Physician Recruiters Michigan Chapter American Academy of Michael Moss, CAE Pediatrics
President David Moulton Society for College & University Planning Secretary Donna Oser, CAE Member Services Manager Director of Leadership Development and SME
Executive Search Services Angela Madden Michigan Association of School Boards Executive Director Andi Osters Michigan Association of Ambulance Services
MEETINGS MODERNIZED New look, long history. For over 30 years, Governors’ Hall at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has been Northern Michigan’s premier meeting destination. Newly renovated with updates to technology, services, and design—along with a brand-new meeting planner office—Governors’ Hall is ready for the future. See the transformation at grandtraverseresort.com/governorshall.
Owned and Operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
Assistant Director Michigan High School Athletic Association
Jack Schripsema, CTA President & CEO Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau Richard P. Seely, CAE Account Executive /Medicare Advisor Member Insurance Solutions, Michigan Dental Association Ara Topouzian President/CEO Troy Chamber of Commerce
Michigan League for Public Policy continues to build an inclusive work environment
Bonnifer Ballard, CAE BRD Printing Executive Director Printing American Water Works AssociationMichigan Section
Kimberly R Pontius, CAE Executive Vice President Traverse Area Association of REALTORS®
COMBATING WORKPLACE BIAS THROUGH PROACTIVE POLICIES
© MSAE 2019
P R E S I D E N T ' S M E S S AG E 4
TO QUOTE MARVIN GAYE ‘WHAT’S GOING ON?’
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G 6
THE LOST ART OF SOCIAL CONTACT
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION CAN NO LONGER BE A PIPE DREAM
A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE 14
WHAT I’VE LEARNED MOVING FROM THE ASSOCIATION INDUSTRY TO THE TECH INDUSTRY
F E A T U R E STO R Y 16
THE CHANGING WORLD & YOU – CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S 18
HOW TO ELIMINATE UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
IMPLICIT BIAS IN THE WORKPLACE
Association IMPACT® is published bimonthly by the Michigan Society of Association Executives, 1350 Haslett Road, East Lansing, MI 48823, (517) 332-6723. Subscribers should direct all inquiries, address changes, and subscription orders to that address. Articles written by outside authors do not necessarily reflect the view or position of the Michigan Society of Association Executives (MSAE). MSAE’s position on key issues will be clearly stated. Manuscripts are accepted at the approval of MSAE, which reserves the right to reject or edit. Appearance in Association IMPACT® does not constitute endorsement of the advertiser, its products or services, nor does Association IMPACT® make any claims or guarantees as to the accuracy or validity of the advertiser’s offer and reserves the right to reject any advertising deemed unsuitable. Advertising rates available at www.msae.org.
P R E S I D E N T ’ S M E S S AG E
WHERE BUSINESS GETS DONE
To quote Marvin Gaye: ‘What’s Going On?’ What’s going on with MSAE?
ell, where to begin? I guess that introductions might be in order.
I am Larry Merrill, CAE, recently appointed interim president and CEO by the executive committee of the Michigan Society of Association Executives. I have served in the association world for almost 40 years, the last 19 years as executive director of the Michigan Townships Association. I served on the MSAE board about eight years ago and have been an active MSAE volunteer on many projects. I also have taught classes for MSAE, particularly the Academy of Association Management’s finance and governance classes.
I retired from the MTA in June, expecting to balance some consulting with work related to other interests I had put off due to a demanding career. That idyllic vision of retirement was disrupted by a phone call from an MSAE board member asking if I would be interested in applying for an interim position as MSAE’s president and CEO. I learned that MSAE President and CEO Kelly Turner, CAE, had recently resigned to take a position with another association and the executive committee wanted someone on board before Kelly’s departure. So, the clock was ticking. I was just starting to enjoy retirement and I had zero interest in being any organization’s caretaker CEO. But, the executive committee members shared with me their conviction that MSAE should aspire to be a model of excellent board governance and executive management; it should teach through example and deliver extraordinary programs and services. The opportunity to help them make their vision a reality was too good to pass up. I was humbled and honored to be
asked to help MSAE be extraordinary. So, here I am. And what have I discovered in my very short tenure? MSAE’s overall position is consistent with the executive committee members’ perceptions that significant change is needed. There are serious challenges and business as usual is not working. MSAE is at a crossroads. In the lifecycle of organizations, MSAE passed through its startup and growth phases long ago. In recent years, it’s reached maturity and must either renew efforts to grow or decline and face an uncertain future. Either option is on the table, but the actions needed to renew and grow must be taken very soon to avoid depleting existing resources essential for renewal and growth. Organizations cannot survive a perpetual downsizing spiral. If you drive by MSAE’s building you will notice a “for sale” sign, but, no, it’s not a going-out-of-business sale. MSAE is selling its building to better match its facilities with staffing and program needs. The association intends to lease space, and the building’s equity could be invested in infrastructure essential for growth. Renewal requires MSAE to identify what it needs to matter now and in the future. Toward that end, MSAE board has already begun a strategic visioning process and has invited members and other stakeholders to a series of focus groups to help inform the board’s decisions. MSAE’s values, vision and mission must align with member and stakeholder expectations. MSAE’s programs and services must deliver value. To realize these aspirations, there must be trust among the board, the staff and the members that can only be achieved through clarity of roles and responsibilities and mutual respect of each other’s competencies. I am a passionate believer in associations.
Larry Merrill, CAE
is the president and CEO of MSAE. President’s Message is a regular feature in Association IMPACT magazine. Larry encourages members to share their experiences and ideas for strengthening the organization by contacting him or other staff members directly. Keep your eyes on MSAE’s weekly newsletter, Update, for current news and industry happenings
French sociologist and political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-1859), authored “Democracy in America” (1835), one of the most influential books of the 19th century. Tocqueville identified associations as essential for American society to function well. He saw associations as key to solving complex social, political and economic problems. MSAE’s members are trade and professional associations providing Michigan’s job creators and service providers with advocacy and resources essential for their success. Associations are essential for Michigan’s prosperity by making their members stronger, more effective and adaptable as well as by accelerating economic and societal changes. MSAE is uniquely positioned to make Michigan’s associations successful through the development of knowledgeable leadership and professional staff skills. SEAT TLE I am honored to play a role in this exciting renaissance through early next year. The process will continue after my short interim term concludes, but I intend to leave the MSAE’s board, its next president and CEO, and staff well positioned to continue rebuilding the MSAE into the powerful organization you want, need and deserve. To our members, I ask for your patience, your engagement, your continued financial support and your wisdom. SAN Thank you! FR ANCISCO
MACKINAW CIT Y TR AVERSE CIT Y GR AND R APIDS CHIC AGO DENVER
*Voted Best Large CVB in Michigan Two Years Running
4 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019 LOS ANGELES
DETROIT CLE VEL AND 90 FORT WAYNE COLUMB US CINCINNATI 300
Central Location Boosts Attendance 600
NE W YORK
Access to Thought Leaders at Michigan State University
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R S TA N D I N G
Add some sort of (attendee-approved) interesting information about that attendee to attendee badges that will cause others to ask questions.
Ask every presenter, including the keynoter, to add an element of networking-driven audience participation to his or her program. While this is generally much easier for professional speakers to achieve, it is perfectly acceptable to expect “invited” industry speakers to comply. Inexperienced presenters can always employ the “roundtable” question discussion, regardless of the room setup.
The Lost Art of Social Contact By Ed Rigsbee
echnologically enhanced meetings can be a wonderful thing when the tech drives attendee engagement and learning enablement. Doing more with less and increasing the attendees’ return on registration, travel and lodging investment (ROI) serves everyone. However, when technology becomes the controller and the audience becomes the controlled, the value quickly diminishes.
Why We Meet My research has exposed the fact that networking first and education second are the primary reasons for live meeting attendance. Additionally this research, conducted across a wide assortment of trade associations and professional societies, has revealed the yearly sustainable real-dollar value of networking to be worth just over $4,000 in reference to annual membership. Yet, the conventional wisdom among meetings is that the networking-capable number of attendees is decreasing. This could offer possible proof that the art of social contact is disappearing.
Technological Downside The drawbacks of technology can be many. Of the simplest meeting technology is PowerPoint. Unfortunately, this helpful software also enables monotone and boring
6 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
++ presentations. It is easy for a presenter to get caught up in unsocial behavior; reading his or her bullet points and forgetting to engage the audience through voice modulation, storytelling and audience participation. This mechanical kind of presentation loses social contact.
Risk Avoidance From the perspective of audience members, technology-driven meetings and presentations can easily facilitate risk avoidance by eliminating the need for live social contact. The use of Twitter and Twitter-based application software during a live meeting can be a useful novelty; however, this also allows audience members to avoid expressing and defending their position on an issue. A lot of the available meeting technology enables anonymous participation, which is not always a good thing because it also minimizes social contact.
Technological Advantage Meeting organizers who incorporate social networking prior to meetings can help their attendees to make live connections at meetings. Twitter postings, Facebook pages and groups, and LinkedIn groups offer planners free cyber social contact enablement conduits. Meeting software,
such as Certain Software, offers planners amazing integration – elements from RFPs to attendee registration to creative flexibility in developing pre-meeting special interest groups are available.
Strategies for Resocialization ++
For meeting planners who truly desire to help their meeting attendees receive the maximum ROI from their attendance, consider facilitating quality social contact pre-meeting, throughout the meeting and post-meeting.
Set up a Twitter account for your meeting. Send an email invitation to constituents asking them to become followers. Then tweet weekly with new information about the meeting.
Set up a meeting group at either Facebook or LinkedIn. Email invitations asking constituents to join the group. About six months before the meeting, start posting weekly discussion questions designed to elicit discussion among members. Closer in, start posting individual notices about each specific activity. Just before the meeting invite all the “cyber” buddies to an “organization-hosted” premeeting live networking gathering.
At the first-night cocktail welcoming event, employ a networking game. The best are the games where everyone gets a sheet with a list of questions that requires them to get the answers from other attendees. One answer per attendee, please. If you have great door prizes, most everyone will participate.
Be reasonable about the meeting schedule. This is the area most susceptible to planner sabotage of networking possibilities. Breaks between sessions, depending on the distance attendees must walk, need to be closer to 30 minutes than the typical 5-15 minutes.
Buffet meals will cause much more networking possibilities than will “served or plated” meals.
For served-meal events, try assigned seating. There are several “seating formulas” that will work; yet the important element is a diversity of meal mates at each table. Sure, it requires additional work, but this enhances interaction among attendees as they seek out their seats.
Many organizations use the buddy/ mentor system very successfully. This is where every first-time attendee is assigned a buddy/mentor. The buddy/ mentor is responsible for taking
this new person around to all his or her social networks and effectively guiding them through the meeting maze. Also, the buddy/mentor can do some post-meeting follow-ups to see that the first timer implements new skills learned at said meetings. ++
Post-meeting interaction can be easily facilitated through the social networking activities mentioned above. The most effective will be centered on discussions and activities that encourage implementation of the new skills learned and followup with new persons met.
Ed Rigsbee is the consummate evangelist for member recruitment and strategic alliance success. He holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) accreditation. Ed is the author of “The ROI of Membership-
Today’s Missing Link for Explosive Growth,” “PartnerShift,” “Developing Strategic Alliances” and “The Art of Partnering.” To his credit, he has over 2,500 articles in print and countless articles electronically published. Ed is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c) (3) nonprofit public charity, Cigar PEG Philanthropy through Fun, and president at Rigsbee Research, which conducts qualitative member ROI research and consulting for associations and societies. He has been called “the dynamite that broke up our log jam” by association executives – rarely politically correct and almost always provocative – and from a dozen years as a United States Soccer Federation referee, Ed calls it the way he sees it. Exceptional resources at www.rigsbee.com.
• Signs & Displays • Freight Handling • Carpet & Drapery • Labor Services • Tables & Chairs • Floor Plans
Complete Trade Show & Corporate Event Contractor
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2019 7
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R STA N D I N G
I N D U S T R Y U N D E R S TA N D I N G
Diversity and Inclusion Can No Longer Be a Pipe Dream Susan Radwan, CAE, SMP, ARM, Leading Edge Mentoring By Susan Radwan Enough talk. Let’s do it. But how? Many of us are stuck in a paradigm around diversity and inclusion.
ome are stuck in a belief that we should all assimilate into a singular way of thinking. Of course, most of us accept the idea that staff and boards should be diversified, so we recruit or hire people who bring diversity into the organization, but then we expect everyone to behave the same – in alignment with a culture that was established without diverse input. Some are stuck in a belief that we could probably grow our membership if we diversify. So, we recruit board members and staff, but then assign them to work with people who align with their cultural heritage. For example: Hire a Hispanic staffer to recruit Hispanic members or hire an LGBTQ staff member to recruit others from within the community. This paradigm suggests we should celebrate our differences but assign people to serve their niche market rather than the whole of the association.
The 21st century understanding of diversity and inclusion is focused on integration of thought, where we change the way we work in order to leverage the best of all worlds. This “integration paradigm” is on the mind of every company that wants to be successful in today’s dynamic environment. The reality is that no one knows how to do this well, but future-focused minds are trying to figure it out. Here are a few things that need to happen in order to evolve our perspectives around diversity and inclusion:
Make workers feel valued.
Organizational Structure Requirements ++ ++
Have a well-articulated and widely understood mission and clear core values that drive all activity. Have a relatively egalitarian, non-bureaucratic structure.
Leadership Requirements ++
Understand that a diverse workforce will embody different perspectives and approaches to work and those perspectives must truly be valued. Recognize both the learning opportunities and the challenges that the expression of different perspectives presents for an organization.
Organizational Culture Requirements ++ ++ ++
Create an expectation of high standards of performance from everyone. Stimulate personal development. Encourage openness.
The reality is that no one knows how to do this well, but future-focused minds are trying to figure it out.
Welcome to Our Neighborhood. Enjoy the modern design, lush bedding, spa-inspired showers, free Wi-Fi, fresh cuisine, local craft beverages and live entertainment. We do great meetings, too.
Hotel Indigo Traverse City 263 W. Grandview Parkway Traverse City, MI 49684 t: 231.932.0500 Reservations: 877.8.INDIGO (846.3446) hotelindigo.com/TraverseCityMI facebook.com/hotelindigo
8 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2019 9
C O V E R STO R Y
Combating Workplace Bias Through Proactive Policies Michigan League for Public Policy continues to build an inclusive work environment By Rich Adams
ias exists in nearly every workplace, be it deliberate, unconscious or unintended. Favoritism or predisposition brings factors into the decision-making process that create unfairness. Everything from age and ethnicity to gender and weight can influence who gets hired, who gets fired and which employees are promoted.
These types of biases are stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals carry outside their own conscious awareness. Very often, these biases are incompatible with their conscious beliefs. More businesses and organizations are working to eliminate bias in the workplace, including the Michigan League for Public Policy, a statewide advocacy organization that supports public policies that lift people up with low incomes and people of color. The League’s goal is to help create economic security and well-being for all Michiganders, said MLPP President and CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs. “The Michigan League for Public Policy has been around for over 100 years and continues to evolve as an organization,” Jacobs said. “With the changing demographics of our country and with a growing understanding that public policies are often deeply intertwined with issues of race, about eight years ago, league leadership facilitated conversations with the staff about adopting a racial equity lens to our policy work.”
The early internal conversations and training about race and inclusion led to the organization’s realization that it could not achieve policy work through that racial equality lens without first turning that lens on itself. “We needed to understand race and racism and white privilege and how to create an inclusive work environment that respects people’s different lived experiences. So we began the work,” Jacobs explained. Over the past eight years, the League’s staff has participated in trainings on cultural competency, implicit bias, white privilege, understanding race, being a white ally and other topics that have helped in understanding different lived experiences, she said. “Several of our white staff members participated in a white allies training to learn how to better use their white privilege to support people of color,” Jacobs noted.
10 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® <ISSUE 4> 2019 11
C O V E R STO R Y
To help achieve an unbiased workplace, the League created a staff Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Team, known as EDIT, to provide leadership in the quest for equity and inclusion. One of EDIT’s endeavors is scheduling “Lunch and Learn” sessions every other month, during which an issue related to race or inclusion is discussed. “EDIT works with leadership to have facilitators provide trainings to keep improving on the cultural competency continuum and to hold ourselves accountable,” Jacobs explained. “We believe there will always be opportunities to grow in our inclusion work and believe that trainings are an important tool to help us do that.” The organization has revised its hiring and retention policies to increase the number of candidates of color – which, ultimately,
I believe that all of this work, including hard conversations sometimes, has led to a much greater awareness among our staff about the need to combat racism ...
increases the number of staff members who are people of color. Jacobs said the revisions include sending job postings to organizations associated with people of color as well as college and university programs that interact with students and graduates of color. “When interviewing candidates for staff positions, we talk about the importance of equity and inclusion and ask the candidate how they will contribute to an inclusive office culture that respects the different lived
experiences of staff members,” she said. “When onboarding new staff members, we have them watch a webinar on equity and inclusion, and we talk about how the organization lives into those values.” Jacobs said the training and inclusivity programs provide the League with a better understanding of how to be aware of and eliminate bias. “I believe that all of this work, including
hard conversations sometimes, has led to a much greater awareness among our staff about the need to combat racism, about how those of us who are white and with privilege can support our colleagues of color and how we all bring different lived experiences to work with us each day,” Jacobs explained. “I believe that new staff members coming to the league learn how much we value, and expect, inclusion as part of our organization’s culture. That was not the case before we became so intentional in our work to increase diversity and inclusion on our staff.” Jacobs noted that the increased emphasis on race and inclusion has led to proactive discussions regarding bias. “When staff have concerns, we don’t dismiss it, but rather choose to put it front and center. When staff brought to our attention the need to better understand microaggressions, we added language about this to our personnel policy and are currently arranging for an outside facilitator to train our staff about microaggressions,” she said. She explained that microaggressions is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups “But we are not perfect, and we don’t get it right all of the time. Even for those of us who were at the League when we began this work, we are still learning and wanting to do better,” Jacobs continued. “But at the end of the day, are we a better, stronger organization with a more diverse staff and inclusive work environment than we were eight years ago? Absolutely.” Does all of this training have any effect on the bottom line? “There has been very minimal impact on the League’s budget. We have spent money on trainings, but most of the work is done by our staff members, who have gone
12 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
through many trainings already,” Jacobs said. “I believe it’s been a tremendously important and valuable investment. And I should mention that our board has been very supportive of our work on this.” Similar efforts have become a way of life on the campus of Michigan State University. The Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives provides training and education designed to encourage and promote an inclusive and welcoming campus. The office works with colleges and academic units, administrative departments, and others to develop and present workshops, seminars and other programs for faculty, staff and students. All incoming undergraduate, first-year students and transfer students at MSU last year were required to complete the Diversity & Inclusion@MSU eLearning, which was developed to give a general overview of diversity and inclusion at MSU, an introduction to basic terms and concepts, and a sense of how students can engage with one another more deeply at the East Lansing campus, according to the MSU website. The online learning assessment took 30-45 minutes to complete. But not all bias is institutional. The American Association of University Women offers the following suggestions to overcome individual bias, according to the organization’s website: ++
When assessing the behavior or performance of someone from a stigmatized group, try to focus on concrete positive and negative factors and your memory of what actually happened, rather than relying on overall “gut” feelings. Notice when your responses, decisions or behaviors might have been caused by bias or stereotypes, and make an intention to think positive thoughts when encountering those individuals or other members of stigmatized groups in the future.
Imagine, in detail, people who violate expected stereotypes in a positive way and practice thinking about these positive examples. Thinking about these people may help make these counter-stereotypic examples pop up in your mind in the future.
Make an effort to assess and think about members of stereotyped groups as individuals. Recall their individual traits and how they differ from stereotypic expectations.
How Do You Know If Your Association Is At Risk? Associations are doing more with less, using the least amount of resources is not effective to minimize loss. Risk Assessment Services: combining financial, human resources and technology to increase controls and efficiency, allowing greater comfort knowing the sustainability of your organization is better secured.
Human Resources • Employment handbook and postings • HR forms and checklists HR templates • Employment files and I-9 spot audits
Financial Fraud Risk and Process Efficiency Assessment • Identification of potential internal and external threats • Financial policies handbook • Procedures manual identifying detailed desk process • Internal control checklist and monitoring guidelines • Industry best practices to reduce inefficiencies • Recommendations for technology integration To learn more…. Jodi Wehling, MLRHR Owner & Managing Consultant People Matters 517-925-8257 email@example.com
Sarah Jennings, CPA, CFE, CAE Principal Maner Costerisan 517-886-9502 firstname.lastname@example.org
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® <ISSUE 4> 2019 13
A S S O C I AT I O N KNOWLEDGE
Technology now permeates almost every facet of business and requires a collaborative spirit between teams
What I’ve Learned Moving from the Association Industry to the Tech Industry
By Lisa N. Powers, CAE, CTA
really thought I understood technology. When I worked for an association, I had written basic HTML code for its website. I had regularly pulled reports from multiple association management systems. I was even the staff member who was asked to figure out a new system and its uses in order to train other staff members. Then, a little more than a year ago, I shifted my career over to a technology company that develops websites and custom applications for associations. I learned quickly how different these two worlds are and the challenges each face when it comes to technology, communication and expectations. I came to realize that tech isn’t quite as easy as I thought it might be. This was shown to me shortly after I joined i2Integration when I had a meeting with one of our developers and a client looking to connect disparate systems. At one point in the meeting, I drew a line in the air, and said, “Once we connect this system to this system, you’ll no longer need to do dual entry.” The developer chuckled at me and said, “I just want you to know that the line you just drew in the air will take dozens of hours, depending on the amount of connection points. It’s doable, it’s just not simple.” I had reduced his job down to a line in the air. Not cool!
14 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
Now that I’ve seen the expectations from both sides of the proverbial fence, and also being sympathetic to both industries, I’ve learned a few things that I think can help us learn how to grow from here (and, ultimately, be more successful on both sides). First, I’ve learned that just because something looks simple, doesn’t mean it is and that the complexity mostly comes from what the tech guys call the back-end work, which is tied to the database and business logic of whatever project they are building, versus the frontend work, which is the stuff you and I see. For example, i2Integration was asked to provide a quote on developing an association website. To me, it looked like a pretty simple website refresh. Its current website was outdated, developed in an old coding language and was not highlighting the content important to the association on the homepage. Seemed standard to me. Once the back-end was reviewed however, a certain custom search feature was found that would significantly increase the time involved in this quote if it needed to be built in the new site. I was bombarded by the developers with detail questions like, “Where is the data coming from?” “How are the systems connected?” “This is a custom search field – is it pulling from the CMS or the AMS or a combination of both?” “Which system wins when initiating a search?”
Yikes. You mean you can’t just click a button and make the systems talk to each other? (Solid nope!) Also, what the heck is a CMS? Which leads me to another thing I’ve learned: Tech people talk in code. AMS, CMS, LMS, oh my! I often have had to stop meetings to say, “Wait, what is an API again?” The developers didn’t realize that not everyone inherently knows that an API is a data bridge between systems, or that a CMS (content management system) is better known as a website. But this is inherent in associations as well, which also have their own lingo. Some, for example, say they have an AMS (association management system), which could also be called an MMS (member management system), or some call it simply their member database. In short, I’ve learned to be both a translator between the two worlds, and have helped my tech company to better communicate and articulate expectations in terms that its association clients can understand. Keep it simple and try to reduce the number of crazy acronyms!
more far-reaching than they’ve ever been before – and that trend will only continue to increase. It used to be that business professionals would lob a question over to the tech team, and the tech team would lob a solution back. Tech staff and consultants can no longer “work in a closet by themselves” and try to provide a workable solution. Since we’ve seen how wrong assumptions can be made and expectations can be completely different from both sides, we need to come
together on these projects, communicate effectively, roll up our sleeves, and do the work to provide the best solution for the member and the association that will work now and into the future. It’s definitely a learning curve, and I’m still learning, but I love what I’m experiencing! Lisa N. Powers, CAE, serves as the director of business development for i2Integration, a mid-Michigan small business that has been providing technology solutions for associations for over 25 years. From design thinking consulting services to building, supporting, training and integrating pre-built or custom systems, i2 knows your technology needs are as nuanced as your business.
As a salesperson from the association world, here’s one thing I’ve learned that’s refreshing: Tech people (developers especially) have no agenda. They are almost universally straightforward, speaking honestly and openly of their thoughts and findings. There’s no “upsell” happening there. I have sat in multiple meetings where our CEO has told potential clients how to complete their goals in alternate ways that in some cases talks him right out of a job. I’ve seen this similar behavior in many of the tech organizations I’ve had the pleasure to come across and work with lately. Technology now permeates almost every facet of business and requires a collaborative spirit between teams. The decisions that are being made in relation to technology are
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2019 15
F E A T U R E STO R Y
The Changing World & You – Can’t We All Just Get Along? By Taylor Benavente
ou’ve heard the topic – by now you may have even sat through a conference session or two – Generations in the Workforce 101: how can we connect with millennials, Gen Z, and beyond? From the perspective of a 24-year-old who has himself sat through these very same conference sessions, it is fascinating to participate as a group of my (typically much older) professional peers attempt to simplify such a complex social and psychological issue – all within an hour-long meeting. If we were to stereotype what these sessions often resemble, chances are there is a speaker presiding over an audience comprised of 35 years and older professionals who are already well-established in their careers, as he or she leads the discussion about “relating to these younger folk.” You likely heard about management strategies to maximize output and engagement with millennial employees. Or, maybe the presenter instead focused on millennial and Gen Z polling data to “really clue you into who we are and what we stand for.” If you are really lucky, maybe your presenter even tried to describe our generation’s fears and motivations – in hopes of the “aha moment” when everything finally clicks, and you can now perfectly summarize the necessary tactics to engage those you had not yet successfully been able to reach. Regardless of the venue, who is speaking and who is in the audience – if it is exclusively during these types of educational sessions in which you are thinking about these fundamental shifts in societal attitudes and what it all means for you, your organization and the future of work as a whole – then you may end up missing this wave of change as it begins to crash into our shores more and more powerfully.
defend your Ph.D. dissertation about the relationship between the nearly life-long burden of student loan debt, mental health, and work productivity? No, because young Americans had not yet accumulated more than $1.5 in total student loan debt. As these realizations begin to crystalize, so too, should the notion that because none of us have been here before, that maybe, just maybe, we should all cut each other some slack as we figure try to figure this out, together. In practical terms, this means we are neither powerless nor defenseless against these changes, and our association community must lead by example as the waves crash to shore. It can only be through empathy and meaningful respect for each other that associations can remain the champions of our industries, advance our missions and represent our collective voice as individuals. Are you interested in better understanding the young folk?
Then simply talk to them and approach the conversation with a mutual desire to figure it out. No matter who you are and the organization you work for – it is these emerging, unknown challenges and opportunities we face as human beings that will create our shared sense of humanity. As the days go by and we slowly, but surely, become better able to recognize how generational differences truly affect us and our changin’ world, it should be our goal that the one-hour conference sessions are no longer necessary – and instead, our mutual respect, appreciation and desire to figure it all out, together, becomes all that is needed to prepare and equip ourselves for tomorrow’s challenges and opportunities. Taylor Benavente is the MSAE’s association industry advocate. In this role, he advocates for a healthy and successful association community through dialogue, events and programming, education, and more.
While educational sessions on these topics are in themselves a good thing, our attempts to quantitate the thoughts, emotions and habits of entire generations of unique human beings into an hour-long meeting will never truly do justice to how impactful these shifts have already become within our workforce – and how they will continue to transform our world. So what do we do then? How is it that we can successfully adopt and adapt to these fundamental shifts as they unfold in front of us every single day? Herein lies the key. As these challenges and opportunities reveal themselves, each and every one of us has a role within them. Not just millennials. Not just Gen Zers. All of us. While it may be the younger generations who will eventually inherit the mantle, every single Gen Xer and baby boomer play their parts in shaping the world as we know it, together. We are at a time in our history where we don’t have jetpacks – but do have smartphones. Our homes don’t yet rise to the clouds on stilts like George and Judy Jetson’s – but in a few years, our cars will drive themselves. Whether its technology or religious beliefs or politics or family values, this world it is a changin’ – and the bottom line is we don’t yet know where this change is taking us. It is at this intersection of generational shifts and rapid, transformational development that we should step back and realize that none of us, not a single one, have lived through a time like this before. Are you an expert on the empirical effects social media had on the United States in 1975? No, because it didn’t exist. In 1999, were you able to successfully
16 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
It is at this intersection of generational shifts and rapid, transformational development that we should step back and realize that none of us, not a single one, have lived through a time like this before.
Better AV Better Price What are you waiting for? Call Motown Digital C.E.O. Dave Scott today for a quote on your next event.
248-990-3675 www.motowndigital.com ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2019 17
P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S
no longer faced with the risk of a rival tribe like our ancestors. So, it’s a human thing. If you don’t think this applies to you, there are tests online, such as the Implicit Association Test, that are intended to measure attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling or unable to report. However, the validity of these types of tests are still being analyzed, but be aware that results could be used in a lawsuit against your organization, so use it strictly for your own personal awareness, not a component of an organization-wide unconscious bias training program.
Unconscious Bias in Action Unconscious bias works against our diversity goals in numerous ways, but here are just some examples of ways that it presents itself in the behaviors of the person who unknowingly has the bias.
How to Eliminate R Unconscious Bias By Jodi Wehling
Our minds are capable of processing 11 million pieces of information per second, yet we are only able to be consciously aware of about 40 to 50 bits of information.
18 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
esearch shows that diversity is a key component that drives positive organizational results such as innovation, stronger governance, better problem-solving and increased profitability. For example, a Boston Consulting Group study confirms that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue due to innovation. What would it mean for your association financially to increase revenue that dramatically? Knowing the value of diversity is only the first step. Many organizations recognize the importance of diversity only to find that their efforts to create a more diverse workforce fall flat. One likely culprit is unconscious bias (aka implicit bias), which is unsupported judgments in favor or against one thing, person or group as compared to another in a way that is not based on logic and facts but rather ideas that are within us as a result of our socialization. Because it is so deeply ingrained in us, unconscious bias is outside of our awareness.
Unconscious bias causes us to unintentionally make decisions that are in stark contrast to our diversity goals. The good news is that we know a lot about this unconscious bias, how to uncover it and how to reduce it. Starting with an understanding of what unconscious bias is will enable you to move toward controlling it.
Why Are We Bias? It can be shocking to think about the fact that forces we are not even aware of guide our decisions, but this ability has protected the human species for thousands of years. Our minds are capable of processing 11 million pieces of information per second, yet we are only able to be consciously aware of about 40 to 50 bits of information. For safety, we’ve honed the ability to make quick assessments of situations and people by drawing on the millions of bits that are outside of our awareness. One way to stay safe in the premodern era was to stay with your tribe. That resulted in us creating a strong, innate instinct to gravitate toward “people like us.” But we’re
Any good diversity initiative starts with the goal to get a wider variety of people into the workforce, including different genders, races, ethnic backgrounds, etc. But research has found that candidates with last names that sound more American than foreign are selected more often; males are more often associated with science- and math-based jobs than their female counterparts (but are commonly looked at for teaching and nursing jobs); and managers often prefer younger candidates over older ones. Even if you can attract a wide variety of people into your organization, how they are treated will determine if they stay, so make sure you’re not doing anything like these examples. ++ ++
Women are viewed as abrasive when they are no more aggressive than their male colleagues. Unaddressed microaggressions (statements, actions or incidents that are aimed toward members of marginalized groups), such as assuming older employees are not as good with technology as younger ones and giving the younger employees all the technology-heavy assignments.
These are very common unconscious bias-based mistakes that will leave your workforce homogeneous without you even realizing it.
How to Reduce Unconscious Bias Once we recognize the value of diversity and the fact that unconscious bias is real and in all of us, there are many things we can do to prevent bias from leading us to decisions that go against our diversity goals. Below are a just a few tactics to try:
1.) Self-awareness One way to make the unconscious conscious is by slowing down your decision-making. Ask yourself: Is that decision aiding my objective?
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2019 19
P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S
If I substitute this person for another, would I still respond the same way? You may have heard that it’s best to “go with your gut,” but if it’s based on untrue information, you’ll make a bad decision. Usually, when you ask your gut why it feels one way and give it time to respond, you’ll get an answer. And if it’s a logical answer based in fact, then that’s good. If not, it’s time to review that decision. For example, take the time to write down the reasons you’re choosing one job candidate and ruling others out to determine if the reasons are position-based and unbiased. Another thing to be aware of is when you’re making decisions. As the day wears on and we have a dip in energy, we rely more on our unconscious instincts and less on our logic. One study showed that judges are much more likely to deny parole at the end of the day than they are earlier in the day. Avoid making decisions when you’re physically, mentally or emotionally tired.
2.) Process change Don’t give implicit biases the chance to operate. Do this by creating or changing processes to guard against unconscious bias. A good place to start is with the hiring process. Ask your team where your hiring process might allow for biases. A Hewlett-Packard report stated that women will apply for a job if they meet 100% of the criteria, but men will apply if they meet only 60%. Long job postings with lots of criteria will not attract women to the position. Resumes reveal irrelevant demographic information such as names and addresses that the unconscious mind can use against the person, so try to read resumes without looking at these details before deciding. Interviewers will have a natural bias toward people most like themselves, so by having a diverse group of people each take a turn at interviewing the candidate,
Certifying Professionals Through Continued Education
you’ll be able to ensure that doesn’t happen.
3.) Start to break down unconscious bias Diversity and inclusion training are great ways to learn more about unconscious bias and practice recognizing it in yourself and others. Remember, it took years to create these unconscious biases, so this isn’t a one-and-done thing. The training should be repeated regularly. Even if your organization can’t afford training, you can still begin to decrease your personal level of unconscious bias on your own. The best way to do that is by creating relationships with people who are different than you. Who are the people you go to when you have an issue to discuss? If their gender, age, race, education and so on are the same as yours, they’ll also likely think like you do. Seek perspectives from those you don’t normally turn to and who are likely to have a different perspective than you. Don’t look at this as inviting conflict; rather, understand that it can expand your thinking. Be sure to build deep relationships, not superficial ones. You can do this by asking questions with respect and genuine curiosity about who they are and what their life has been like. Also, consider taking your societal programming into your own hands by choosing carefully what is placed into your mind. You can be intentional about watching shows and reading books that paint women and minority group members in positive, counter-stereotypical ways. What will you do today to guard against unconscious bias?
Register for classes today! Certified Meeting Professional
20 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
Jodi Wehling is the owner and managing consultant at People Matters LLC, an MSAE preferred partner. People Matters is a full-service human resources consulting and services firm. People Matters helps clients create great workplaces that engage employees and produce better business results. You can contact Jodi through her website at www.people-mattershr. com, email email@example.com or call 925-8257.
Implicit Bias in the Workplace By Dr. Tonya R. Fountain
influences the judgments we make about them and how we relate to them.
in education, and discriminatory hiring and promotion practices.
Our brains are naturally wired to be biased (Wendt, 2019). Our biases are influenced by many factors. Some factors include our life’s experiences, our familial upbringing, societal messages and our religious or political doctrine.
For instance, you may have grown up with the perception that women are weaker (in mind and in body) than men. This perception could be reinforced by the programs you watched on television or the roles females were assigned in your home. If this is a belief you have internalized, you may prefer male managers or supervisors.
For example, if you believe that all Asian Americans are good at math, you might exclude members of other groups when seeking applicants for open positions requiring mathematical ability. Or you may feel older workers are less likely to comprehend new technology. So when the opportunity to train in a new technical platform arises, older workers are excluded from consideration. These are examples of discriminatory employment practices.
imply stated, bias is one’s preference of a person, group or thing over another. Every human who has ever lived has bias.
Bias allows us to simplify information that we receive by helping us establish associations and patterns. These associations and patterns result in preferences. Bias may be apparent as we consider characteristics such as language, age, weight, race, gender, etc. These preferences dictate many of the choices we make throughout the day. For example, if you need to choose a seat on a shuttle, you may opt to sit by someone of your race versus someone who isn’t. We express our biases everywhere we go. That includes the workplace. Bias in the workplace is often expressed in implicit terms (Berger, 2018), meaning a person may not be conscious of how bias shapes the decisions they make or how they interact with others. When it comes to implicit or unconscious bias, the stereotypes we assign to others
Or you may have had a negative experience with a member of another race or ethnic group. That experience may affect your willingness to serve on a committee or team with members of that race or ethnic group. This reluctance minimizes the effectiveness of the organization and is prejudice. In terms of implicit bias, it is important to know that it is usually pervasive, can be unlearned and may be a direct contradiction to your stated beliefs. Leaders and decision-makers must be especially vigilant in recognizing and managing bias. Implicit or unconscious bias may lead to discrimination against members of their organization due to stereotyping. This discrimination could result in poor employment practices including harassment and hostile work environments, unfair pay practices, inequitable opportunities
There are several steps an organization leader can take to learn about and address implicit or unconscious bias within his or her organization. The first step is to hire, appoint or retain a trained and experienced individual who will be responsible for assessing and monitoring the culture of the organization and leading candid conversations about bias and why it matters. Human resources, organizational development groups and associations have trained professionals who are able to lead conversations on bias. The second step is to establish policies, processes and procedures that ensure inclusive and equitable practices throughout
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2019 21
P E R S O N A L AWA R E N E S S
nature of the bias, confronting it can be uncomfortable and even disheartening. But it is this very recognition that allows us to be productive and constructive team members.
Leaders and decision-makers must be especially vigilant in recognizing and managing bias. the organization. Business law attorneys and human resource associations can assist in crafting inclusive workplace policies. The third step is to recruit, hire, and contract employees and service providers in an intentional manner. Diverse organizations consistently perform at high rates of effectiveness and are generally preferred by job applicants over organizations that are not diverse.
Project Implicit website https://implicit. harvard.edu/implicit/iatdetails.html. The assessment is confidential and results are immediately available. The fifth step requires each member of the organization to be willing to embrace people who are different from themselves. Our workplaces and customers are becoming more diverse. Embracing people who are different from ourselves requires a commitment to adjusting our paradigms, seeing another’s perspective, recognizing stereotypes and appreciating others for their uniqueness.
The fourth step involves awareness and requires organization members to identify the types of biases they hold and establish personal action plans to minimize their influence. Harvard University hosts a free implicit bias assessment on their
Recognizing the bias we carry as individuals is not an easy thing. Depending on the
By allowing bias against people or groups of people to go unchecked, we risk harm against our co-workers and organizations. Organization leaders can minimize the damage done by implicit or unconscious bias by hiring a trained and experienced professional to help assess the organization’s culture, lead the discussion around bias, draft policies and procedures that ensure equity and inclusion, and promote openmindedness and inclusion in the workplace. Our organizations and customer base are becoming more diverse each day. To ensure continued growth and sustained competitiveness, implicit and unconscious bias must be identified, addressed and managed in an intentional way.
BRDPrinting.com tel 517.372.0268
912 W. Saint Joseph, Lansing, MI 48915
Ownership. Pride. Responsibility.
Your job. Done right.
Seamless, secure project facilitation.
From pre-press/graphic design and printing, to bindery and mailing — your project is in-house and under control.
We’re professionals — and it shows in everything we do.
22 ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < VOLUME 40> 2019
ASSOCIATION IMPACT ® < ISSUE 4> 2019 23
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
I,you,she or he...by Jaume Plensa at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
One of Americaâ€™s Super Cool Cities. Expedia
-The Lost Art Of Social Contact -Diversity And Inclusion Can No Longer Be A Pipe Dream -What I’ve Learned Moving From The Association Indus...
Published on Sep 30, 2019
-The Lost Art Of Social Contact -Diversity And Inclusion Can No Longer Be A Pipe Dream -What I’ve Learned Moving From The Association Indus...