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By: Angie Karpouzis

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May 12, 2017

ACESYD17 Day 2 Round-Up: Don't Just Strive for Excellence

ACESYD17

Welcome to the second day round-up of the AusAE Conference and Exhibition 2017 (ACESYD17). I am back giving you a round-up of the day’s activities so you never miss a beat of the packed ACESYD17 program.ACESYD17So, let’s get started.

Theme of the Day: Don't Just Strive for Excellence

Our day started with everyone’s favourite live event Six Degrees of Association. Hosted by Sara Gonzalez of Redback Conferencing and Andrew McCallum from the Association of Corporate Counsel, they closed out their second season of the show with a 60 minute live show with Graham Catt from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) and Sam Refshauge from Batyr.

Both Graham and Sam had new, innovative membership models on the mind and used the session to talk about how the common association needs to be agile (even when they are over 100 years old like AVA). Sam spoke of membership language being about opportunity not obligation and how their financial model shies away from government assistance and only seeks like-minded sponsors in a fee-for-service model.

They also both also addressed the myth of excellence for associations. They highlighted that excellence should be important to members in their profession or industry/trade, but not to associations. Association’s roles are to add value but not to be the “best.”

Next up, was Susanna Richardson from Victorian Hospitals Industrial Association (VHIA) presenting the newest community app for VHIA members. Susanna spearheaded the project and gave insight into the journey from “We need an App” to 42% member engagement.

Susanna highlighted the need for member input and feedback to present a community, of sometimes differing minded individuals, something they will use. VHIA also took Susanna on the road to promote the use of the app and to spread the word about its purpose to members so they knew how the app could give them value and what they could contribute to the growing online community.

Susanna also touched on today’s theme by being realistic with the reach of the app. She was not looking for excellence or to be the best app for NFPs, her aim was simply to create a platform for her members to excel. Like Craig Davis said in his opening keynote yesterday; we all need to take ego out of the equation and simply deliver something that can advance the mission of our users, not our association.

Finally Patrizia Torelli from the Australian Furniture Association (AFA). Armed with an extraordinary story about changing the entire mission of an association in three years. Patrizia was compelling and honest about AFA’s shortcomings and more importantly their triumphs.

Unafraid to share some of her war stories, Patrizia spoke of the changing face of the Australian furniture and manufacturing industry and how AFA influence and promote their growing member-base.

AFA currently has three active staff members and outsource actives like HR and accounting, and Patrizia espoused her mantra that she (and her small staff) do not need to be experts, they need to work with experts. Excellence sometimes means knowing when something isn’t in your wheel-house and the courage to seek help.

That was everything on my agenda today (I will try to run now and see Naomi Simpsons' closing session), but I hope you had a great conference this year and this round-up caught you up on anything you may have missed.

Thank you to the entire AusAE Team and the Australian and New Zealand association sector for another great event, I look forward to seeing you at ACE 2018. 


There's so much to learn at the conference about treating your members right and engaging with them. For extra ideas on interacting with your members (and, really, making your job more fun), check out our new eBook 50 Ways to Boost Association Membership.

50 Ways to Boost Association Membership

About Angie Karpouzis

Angie Karpouzis was the Product Marketing Manager located in Aptify Australia's Sydney office. When Angie is not busy making people uncomfortable by tearing apart their favourite artist/film/tv show she is indulging in Sydney's live music scene or nerding out over popular culture. Engage with Angie on Twitter to discuss member engagement, how to build a community or email marketing.

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