We understand you are the new executive director, replacing Jessica Olander. How did you become involved with CTAA?
CTAA is a client association of TCORS Capitol Group, LLC, (TCG) a government relations and association management company with a dozen organization clients. Jessica managed CTAA and a couple of other organizations, and she took advantage of the opportunity to serve as the new executive director of a regional chamber of commerce. The timing of this opportunity to join the TCG team was perfect for me and allows me to bring my association management experience to CTAA.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Born in the Cleveland, Ohio area, my family moved several times while I was a kid in the Midwest and Southeast. My dad was in manufacturing management which resulted in a few location transfers and job changes. These changes provided the opportunity for me to learn how to adapt when we moved, and I attended seven different schools from first grade through high school graduation. Although moving as much as I did was sometimes challenging, I think that it probably helped mature me in some ways I might not have otherwise. Presently, I live in Branford, Connecticut on the Shoreline of Long Island Sound near New Haven.
What are your interests?
Of course, I enjoy association management and the opportunity to work with members who engage with and lead their organizations. Outside of work, I enjoy cycling and golf, and I love watching live theater. I am really looking forward to seeing live performances again. I also enjoy traveling, both in the United States – which I thoroughly appreciate – and abroad. I think I’ve been to ten or twelve countries, with my favorites being Italy and the United Kingdom.
I have a long history of personal volunteer involvement, which I believe helps me better engage and relate with association members. I currently serve on a couple of nonprofit boards and am an active Rotarian, all of which provide me many opportunities to contribute to my community.
What is your educational background?
I earned my business degree from the Terry College of Business at The University of Georgia; to this day I remain a dedicated Bulldog. While in college, I was active on campus in a variety of student organizations and loved my time in Athens. It was a great environment for me and a significant influence on my life. Early in my career, I returned to Athens as the Membership Director for the local chamber and got to experience the town in a different and fun way.
I also graduated from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institutes for Organization Management, a masters’ level professional development program. I was honored to serve on the Institute faculty for three or four years, which I found to be enlightening and helped develop my presentation and facilitation skills.
Please tell us more about your work experience.
Prior to joining TCG, my career path involved managing mostly member-based associations including six chambers of commerce in four states, an international professional technical society, alumni relations for a private high school, and on the management team of another association management company. My background includes leadership development, strategic planning, event planning, membership, communications, governance, and resource management. I enjoy facilitating group discussions and helping the participants come to consensus on the issues they are addressing.
Now, at TCG, I’m finding the work to be similar to what I’ve done throughout my career, and I feel great about joining the team here. It’s only my third week, so I’m still learning my way around. I’ve been meeting the leaders of the two organizations that I have the opportunity to serve while also figuring out where to find computer and physical files and other internal needs.
What are the main issues facing the association right now?
Right now, CTAA is taking the appropriate steps for post-pandemic activity, such as planning future educational and networking programs. The Tradeshow is coming up in September after being postponed twice due to COVID. We have several legislative issues the Government Relations Committee has been addressing as the General Assembly session comes to a close. Additionally, the eviction moratorium and other pandemic-related actions of impact need to be addressed to the benefit of the membership and industry.
I’ve been able to attend a few committee meetings so far and have been impressed by how well the volunteers work together to address critical issues they are facing. The opportunities the return to in-person activities, such as the Tradeshow, are on the way and will help reconnect current and prospective members with each other and the association. The effort to do strategic planning is underway so that the association addresses the needs of the membership while helping them better interact with their residents.
What are your goals for the association?
My primary goal is to help CTAA achieve its goals. I look to partner with the volunteer leaders to identify, plan, and execute the actions that will achieve their goals and objectives. This involves producing beneficial programs that educate, engage, and advocate for the membership. CTAA members should be able to serve the needs of their residents while successfully managing their businesses. CTAA can provide the resources to help them do that. My job is to help the association look good and achieve its mission.
Is there anything else you would like association members to know about you or the association?
I’m looking forward to getting to know and work with the CTAA membership. I am a believer in the value of associations and the opportunities they give people to advance themselves, their industry, and their profession.