Teri Carden


In Work and Play on August 27, 2010 at 10:30 am

The world’s tectonic plates didn’t collide and slide the the beautiful city of Los Angeles into the Pacific. As a matter of fact, the city is still thriving and warmly hosted 5,000+ conference members of the American Society of Association Executives, including me! This newb definitely had the time of her life and here’s why excitement still exudes.

I went to conference with two goals in mind. One, to find out more information on what the other allied societies are doing for growth and how I can play a role in that growth. And two, to find out more about the effects of mobile technology in the industry since I have a goal for FSAE to be mobile in 2011. After several conversations with fellow SAEs, meeting a few light-shedding technology vendors and attending Jeff DeCagna’s session on Engaging Your Members on Mobile Devices, I flew out of Los Angeles having achieved my goals and so much more.

So Much More:

Getting to see first hand how national ran their processes, including exhibitors, food, schedule, communications, layout, etc.

The In Real Life (IRL) encounters with my Twitter, #sweetspot and #YAPstar colleagues were just priceless. I admit that I was so excited to meet them that after landing in LAX, I asked the man standing next to me in the shuttle line if he was a tweep for the ASAE conference. You should have seen his face. “LA to visit the grandkids,” he replied. Check out the fun pics I have from just a few of my IRL encounters. Whip me with a wet noodle if we met for the first time and I didn’t get a pic with you.

Winning the #sweetspot award Live from LA was such an honor. I’ve admired @KikiLitalien, her eagerness to just do it, honesty, and wit for months and when she called my name as the #sweetspot winner I was nothing less than shocked. Thank you, Kiki for bringing me into the fold. More importantly, Kiki, Kaylee Coffman, Tobin and I shared an eye opening conversation on ASAE’s allied state societies. It’s almost sick to think about the energy we had at that late hour and how our talks had us changing the world. Must listen to Kiki’s audioboo that she posted after returning to her room at 3:00am. So cool!

In a 2009 post about Principles for Planning Brain-Friendly Meetings, @JeffHurt (check out IRL pic here) wrote, “… Pushing too much information, without enough time devoted to context, meaning, connecting the dots and digestion, does not nourish the brain. The attendee’s learning is sacrificed in the name of expediency. The brain needs breaks.” This is precisely why I loved the after session activities with familiar and new friends. The opening and closing night ceremonies were over the top, dinner with key association innovators was fabulous, networking with Omni friends at John Mayer was priceless, the YAPstars flashmob dance and party more than rocked, Hollywood was fun and in between I was able to engage in deep conversations about several topics and ideas on state societies activity, vendors driving content, relevant tools that will increase my work flow, leadership, etc.

Personal growth was inevitable. Just read the above. Mix that with being a first-timer amongst thousands that understand the inner workings of leadership in my field and bingo bango Teri is a changed professional. If I learned anything though, it would be that I’ve got a long ways to go. We are all idea factories and I need someone to bounce ideas off of and help take me to the leadership position I hope to earn some day. All good leaders have a dependable mentor and I’ve come to the conclusion that I am ready and need to be mentored. Any mature female consultant or executive up for a life-time challenge or anyone have mere words of wisdom on how to acquire a mentor?

Hard Lessons Learned:

Ask more from my counterparts as to what product/tool/solution was presented on the exhibit floor that will be organization altering. I learned the most when I asked, but I just didn’t ask often enough. So, tell me what solution will be your association’s next investment and why?

Don’t be a booth judge. Although it was nice of me to offer, I killed at least two hours of one-on-one exhibitor time because I had to briskly walk the showroom floor to ensure I saw each booth.

Be willing to switch sessions away from one that might not be going in the direction expected.

Take the day off after returning. First day back to work=Ouch.


I know there have been gripes and complaints about ASAE’s delivery and I appropriately agree with some and indicated so on my survey response. I can vouch that when conducting a meeting for professionals that are in the profession of holding meetings, one is under nothing less than the highest powered microscope. Nearly everyday I tell my kids to, “Fill someone’s bucket today.” So, let me fill ASAE’s bucket today and say that I thought the event was great.  Thank you for the scholarship and thank you for the platform to bring amazing individuals together in an amazing city.  My personality naturally tends to focus on my immediate goals thrown in with a bit of spontaneity but with a huge splash of positivity.  I hope you too can say that you walked away having fulfilled your set goals and SO MUCH MORE.

  1. It was great to meet you as well and thanks so much for posting that pic of us! Looking forward to next time already!

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