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Associations UK Congress

16 – 17 December 2019 ICC Birmingham, UK Congress

Association Leaders' Forum

Association Leaders' Forum on Monday & Tuesday, open exclusively to leaders of associations.

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10.55 AM
The chairman will welcome delegates, introduce the conference theme and explain the day’s format.


Cecilia Spoor

Leadership Programme Director
Association of Association Executives

11.00 AM

BAPCO has been established for 26 years and was running comfortably, but with the potential to be a more successful and effective organisation. The public sector was also affected by the Government’s austerity measures causing loss of budgets for membership dues and events. It was clear that steps needed to be taken to update and develop the association in a toughening climate.  The first step was to review the association’s leadership and governance, working with a consultant and from there build for the future.  The association has just published its first three-year strategy and implementation framework and so begins a new journey.  This presentation will focus on the challenges faced and the hurdles overcome so far to bring BAPCO firmly into the 21st century.

  • Why was change needed and what were the drivers for change?
  • Gaining buy-in from a Board and an Executive Committee
  • Developing the new three-year strategy and implementation framework
  • Setting out five new objectives for the association
  • The impact of the move to free membership driven by austerity
  • Problem areas including diversity and age profile of members
  • Registering as a charity – pros and cons


Ian Thompson

British APCO

12.00 PM

Benchmarking can be a powerful tool to association leadership, with the ability to compare performance across associations and provide insight into innovation and forward thinking. But the usual approach to benchmarking is for the service provider to dictate the questions and areas to be compared. If this does not meet the needs of participating associations, the data is of limited value. Sometimes, benchmarking leads to the ‘so what’ question. How will you use the data you get to increase member value or improve outcomes?

  • Learn how benchmarking makes a substantial difference to association's performance
  • Hear how you and your association can benefit from benchmarking in 2020
  • Contribute to the benchmarking projects - what data you need to make decisions

This session introduces the AAE Benchmarking Project. This project, a collaboration between the AAE and SEBCO Consulting, turns the usual benchmarking approach on its head. This project will be led by association leaders as you will be able to influence the data being collected and help to create outcomes which will add real value.  

We will examine at AAE's recent Salary and Benefits Benchmarking study of the autumn of 2019. Then look at the value of benchmarking and allow you to identify key areas of association business activity that you want included in a benchmarking tool. This will then be refined with a launch of data collection in 2020.

The value of the programme will be extended with the opportunity for you to interrogate data specific to your association later on. A route to create association-specific analysis and business development plans will be available to all AAE members from AAE, SEBCO and other trusted organisations.

The aim is that, for the first time, benchmark data driven by you provides you with the vital business intelligence you need to add value to your association. 


Andy Burman

Chief Executive
British Dietetic Association

2.00 PM

Philosophically the problem with understanding cyber security can be summed up with the following:

Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of absence.

I first heard this phrase in the 1980’s at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, whereas on this occasion the guest speaker was refereeing to things of a scientific nature. Although we have many books on cyber security, protecting your data etc. we still don’t know what we don’t know.

For example, we understand that personal data should be protected, a bit like locking your doors, the problem is that often we do not appreciate the type of lock to use or what size of lock to use.

Trusted Cyber Solutions will take you on a path of discovery to provide metrics and methods to evaluate data, protect data and why you should protect it at all.

We will also take a pragmatic approach to protecting data and providing evidence to your peers that you have done so.


Paul Overton

Trusted Cyber Solutions

3.00 PM

What do you do as a CEO when your Board has backed your strategy, but you realise that your organisation isn’t capable of delivering it?  If management guru Peter Drucker was right that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, does that mean your strategy is toast – and you with it?  Is it possible to change an ingrained organisational culture and what impact could that have?

 In this session, Richard Lambert offers insights from his experience of transforming the way an organisation behaves and performs.

  • “We’re all in this together “ –  Are you running an organisation or a group of departments?
  • “Get the right people on the bus” – Finding the right skills, experience and attitude
  • “We all know why we’re here” – the importance of articulating your purpose and objectives
  • The importance of internal communication – in both directions
  • The value of measurement and real-time data
  • The bottom line impact – does a change in culture really make a difference to members?


Richard Lambert

Former CEO
National Residential Landlords Association

4.35 PM
Chief Executives with 5 year’s plus meeting – high level facilitated discussions – invited CEs will be asked to submit topics for discussion in advance. 

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10.10 AM

Managing your board is one of the key challenges for an association CEO.  A poorly operating board can suck the resources from an association and stunt its development, not to mention drive the CEO crazy!  This session will cover all that can go wrong with a board and how to fix it from the basic to the more complex, including:

  • The ideal make up of an association board
  • Keeping the board strategically focussed not operational
  • Attracting the right people to the role
  • Why subcommittees don’t work
  • Controlling disruptive elements
  • Setting the agenda for short focussed meetings
  • Managing the relationship between CEO and board members


Rennie Schafer

Chief Executive Officer
Federation of European Self Storage Associations

11.50 AM

Greig Baker, Chief Executive of The GUIDE Consultancy, will share confidential intelligence on:

  • The UK’s negotiations with the EU27
  • An assessment of how UK-EU relations will develop in the short-, medium-, and long-term
  • And the upcoming risks and opportunities for businesses operating in the UK and EU27.

This will be a discursive session, with an opportunity to raise issues of specific interest.


Greig Baker

Chief Executive
Guide Public Affairs

Streams preceded by plenary sessions with Keynote Presentations