By Caitlin Hyatt, Account Executive
This past January was my son’s second birthday, which marked two years of navigating the scary world that is parenting. My goal for my son is to help him grow and reach his potential, to meet his needs and nurture him into a confident, self-sustaining, capable individual. Throughout this journey, I’ve come to realize that there are actually a few similarities between parenting and association management.
As a self-described planner, I pride myself on having things arranged ahead of time. However, as anyone with a toddler knows, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. The key here is to remain adaptable, and to build in time for any last minute tasks. And, while you may think you know everything your client needs, there are times when something pops up at the last minute. Build in buffers into your schedule to account (as best you can) for any urgent, unexpected needs. This shows that you are prepared for anything and that’s why the association hired you in the first place!
2. It takes a village
Without the help of my supportive husband, I wouldn’t have survived those first two years (at least not with my sanity). Having a child means added responsibility, and it’s tough to do it all on your own (especially when both parents work full time)! Having a person you can depend on and trust is part of what makes a successful parenting team the same can be said for managing a trade or professional association. My teammates here at ASG are critical to the success of our clients. We work together based on mutual trust and respect. We collaborate on shared experiences with a shared profession, and that is the beauty of an Association Management Company!
Children are innately dependent (even when they think they’re not). They require attention, unconditional love and support. One of the major advantages of using an AMC is that we become the caretakers of the association. We tend to the needs of the association on a moment by moment, as needed basis, so the volunteer leaders and board members can focus on their full time jobs.
4. Set Goals and Milestones
Just like anything worth doing in life, raising a child takes work. They don’t just wake up one day reciting their “ABC’s” and “123’s!” My husband and I are diligent about teaching our son valuable life skills like reading, counting, and identifying colors, and it is amazing to see how much he improves from day to day. As association staff, we also remain diligent and committed to improving various aspects of annual operations. We mark milestones for sponsorship, membership, engagement, meeting attendance, and work with our client boards to improve in those areas.
Parenting is an amazing and rewarding experience. It challenges me to change and grow as a person nearly every day. In the first few days back from maternity leave, I realized that my career in association management does the same thing. And while my son will (hopefully) fly the nest around age 18, I hope to continue to work with my associations for many years to come!
Caitlin has been with ASG for 5 years. She is currently the Executive Director for the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA) and the Direct Gardening Association (DGA), and also the business manager for the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS). Caitlin has a degree from the University of Georgia in Marketing. She loves running, Mellow Mushroom pizza, and spending time with her family.