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“Communication at every turn [was important]. Every couple of weeks thereweremeetings to discuss, ‘Here are the ideas, here are the actual costs.And here iswherewe can cover for this in terms of revenue generation.’ That helped the process.” —DillianWaldron


prepared to go out into the marketplace and identify the human talent that will get the job done. Tomb, in recruiting for her committees, still tries to get involvement on the part of upper management—but she also goes in search of “some of the up-and-coming members…[who] seemto have more time to really focus on projects that take place after the [vol- unteer] groups meet.” NPGA also enlists the help of its current volunteers in


identifying who will follow them. When the committee meets in person—alongside two board meetings and at a dedicated mid-summer planning meeting—they spend at least 20 min- utes at each meeting talking about who is a rising star in the association, and who are some people who might want to volunteer next year. “A lot of times,” Tomb said, “the exist- ing members of the committee will actually go out and recruit people that they know based on their expertise and interest.” And that, she says, is the key to a successful committee: “If a volunteer has a peer coming to them and…kind of giving [a] testimonial, that helps engage them and makes them feel obli- gated to give back to the association.”


Board Games For Sherry Romello, CMP, vice president of meetings and conventions for the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), the issue was adjusting the composition of her volunteer committee to reflect the people who attended NACS’s meetings. Similar to NPGA, as of five years ago, NACS’s committee was “basically comprised of…our very most engaged board members.” What Romello and her teamrealized was that their board


members tended to be CEOs and executives—“and a lot of the content that we build is for people who work for these executives,” Romello said. Thus, while board members remained ready and willing to pitch in, they occasionally would mention that they weren’t as close to a certain topic as another, perhaps more junior, person in their office might be. In recognition of that, Romello said, “We have really tried to make the composition of the committee representative of the people we are trying to attract.”


What NACS did was split its education into eight core


tracks, based on the association’s eight top audiences— including leadership, finance, human resources, marketing, and food service—and then go out to find thought leaders in each area who could spearhead development of those tracks. NACS identifies the top three or four people in each field,


On_the_Web


The Happiness Project’s Gretchen Rubin offers “Fourteen Tips for Running a Good Meeting”— for committees: http://bit.ly/good-meetings.


who make up small subsets of the committee. Everyone comes together to talk about content and toss out ideas. “Then we break them into smaller groups,” Romello said, “to really hammer out the topic, the objective, and the poten- tial speakers for food service or for the CFO or the CEO [tracks], because it is their field. It is what they know best.” But before you drastically reduce board representation on


your volunteer committees, understand that there can be a downside. Romello said: “The unintended consequence to not having the board be more involved is, when you are put- ting ideas through a convention committee, the staff liaison has to pay more attention to keeping the board up to date, because that is typically where you go for your ultimate approvals.” Furthermore, committee ideas—especially those that


require funding—are more likely to be approved if your board is involved from the outset. After all, if board members on a committee help generate an idea, then by definition they will have more buy-in and it will be an easier funding request,


www.pcma.org


pcmaconvene February 2012


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