Associations UK Congress

31 May – 2 June 2023 Staffordshire, UK Congress


Each session of the Association Leadership and Conference & Events Strategy streams will take the format adopted at the previous congress, which had excellent feedback. The Session Leader will present and facilitate discussion and delegates will contribute to the discussions and case studies.

  • Introduction and challenges facing associations in the topic area
  • About the delegates's specific challenges - from input provided by delegates
  • Discussion among delegates on the issues and how to address them
  • Case studies (x 4/5) by delegates, presented to the room of how the have addressed issues
  • Presentation of other case studies by delegate's around their tables
  • Exercise (subject to time available)
  • Conclusions
Each session is half a day long with a refreshment break in the middle, except for those on the last afternoon which are shorter with no break.

Wednesday 31 May

Welcome Reception

Welcome reception is the ideal time and place to get to meet fellow delegates, session leaders and association experts and suppliers.


Delegates that stay at Yarnfield Park and are arriving in time for dinner, have the option of choosing dinner in their accommodation rate.

Thursday 1 June

08:30 - 08:50
Plenary: Opening Session 
09:00 - 12:00

Including a
30 minute refreshment break

Association Leadership - Session 1
1. Critical challenges to sector-leading associations: Identifying and solving threats & taking advantage of opportunities 

We have been adjusting our business, services and member offering in the face of disruptions over the last few years. While normality has mostly returned, we haven't always taken advantage of the opportunities presented. Do we know all of the opportunities we face and how we can capitalise on them?  How do we become leaner, add value and become more agile in a more complex environment of new online communities, publishers or others expanding into our territory?

During this facilitated session, delegates will consider what threats are a danger to their association's position in the sector, revenue and membership, the opportunities that others have taken, and how to ensure they are in pole position for success. 

Andy Burman

Managing Director
SEBCO Consulting


Conference & Events Strategy - Session 3
2. Conference Successes and Challenges - for a robust & growing future

It’s been a rollercoaster – but what have we learnt? We went to online, to hybrid, and back to in-person, or in-person plus. We struggled with which audience to privilege. The challenges of budgets, diversity, sustainability, accessibility, increasing delegate numbers, decreasing delegate numbers – happy sponsors, less happy sponsors – we’ve heard it all. And boy did we learn fast. Learning about online delivery, pricing and marketing online events. Hybrid was expensive, technology was developing rapidly but not always effective, too often members naïvely demanded or we naïvely gave them free or very low-fee online attendance, and sponsors and exhibitors couldn't get enough out of them.

In this session we bring together all that experience and learning, share what we discovered, what worked and what didn’t. During this facilitated session, delegates discuss the core new challenges, hear from each other about successes and learning moments, and how to overcome the costs and mindsets that prevent expansion, growth and greater revenue.

Sasha Frieze

Managing Director
The Business Narrative


Executive Education - Session 2
3. Coaching for Growth: Conversations that enable discovery and innovation

How you serve as a leader has changed. Today, being a good leader does not mean having all of the answers. It’s about harnessing the potential of others to create them. Your job is to work collaboratively
with your people, enabling them to tap into their best thinking, and exceed their own expectations. The outcome is a highly motivated, energised team. A team able to generate the ideas and actions that meet the challenges of today. And possessing the belief that they will be able to handle whatever lies up

To get to this place requires a shift in how you communicate with your people. Today’s high performing leaders are using a coaching skillset to support their people to reach their full potential.
Coaching is a particular kind of conversation. It’s a partnership that stimulates learning, increases creativity, inspires and motivates. It is spacious, open and non-judgemental. It can create shifts in
relationships, behaviour and beliefs. It can build resilience, responsibility and self-reliance.

In this interactive session, ICF credentialed coach John Scarrott PCC, will share the principles and a practical guide to coaching. He will share the skills and qualities you need to unlock more of the
potential of your people and learn and support yourself as a leader in the process.

  • Introductions and goals for the session
  • An introduction to coaching: the key principles of professional coaching from the ICF
  • Key Skills: the four ACES that leaders can nurture in order to harness coaching
  • ACES in depth: the chance to explore the ACES (Attention, Curiosity, Expanded Listening and Speaking) in discussion and exercises
  • Practical steps: how to have a coaching conversation, set up, move along and complete
  • Barriers: what can get in the way of coaching and how to handle it
  • Discussion: the opportunity to raise questions and discuss challenges
  • Action: the space to develop a plan to begin to work on these skills beyond the session

John Scarrott

Trainer and Coach
John Scarrott Training and Coaching

12:15 - 13:30
Appointments Session

This session is for four appointments with strategic suppliers.

13:30 - 14:30
Lunch & Networking
14:30 - 17:30

Including a
30 minute refreshment break

Association Leadership - Session 4
4. Member Engagement - What is it and how to measure it

Engagement with members, capturing the transactions, interactions and experiences associations provide their members, providing a personalised experience and automating processes are vital ways to encourage member loyalty, increase participation, reduce costs and grow and thrive as an association.

During this session we will look at each of these three aspects, examining what are the most advanced approaches, what they are most suited to, and how they can deliver value.

  • What is member engagement?
  • Case Studies: Who is measuring engagement and how, and what value it brings
  • What decisions are made based on the measurements
  • How far should one go with measuring engagement - when to stop

Lisa Collins

Head of Membership Engagement and Marketing
International Association of Broadcasting and Media


Executive Education - Session 5
5. Association Data Analytics

Data and analytics is essential to driving success. This session will help you understand the usage of data in your association, key technologies, what to measure and how to forecast. 

In this session, you will gain and understanding of:

  • Where your organisation sits on the Data maturity scale and the different uses of data – automation, reporting, prediction, compliance & audit
  • What you need to measure and how to grow membership – renewal, recruitment, service usage, engagement
  • Common technologies used for data analytics – PowerBI, Tableau, Dashboards, Google Analytics
  • How data can be used to predict the future and assess risk
  • AIs and ChatGPT and their use in membership - A brief look at the future

Charles Veal

Membership Insights


  Conference & Events Strategy - Session 6
6. Re-examining the Conference Creation Process – a framework for an effective event strategy and design

How do we meet post-pandemic? How do we hardwire purpose and outcomes into our event design? How do we sort through conflicting information - Back to live? Hybrid? Accessibility? Diversity? Sustainability? Responding to millennial and Gen Z desires?

Now is the time to reimagine your conference, congress or summit creation process – from those very first building blocks. This session is designed to help you develop both your flagship Event Strategy and Event Design so that you and your teams have clear frameworks that you can reference throughout your event lifecycle.

The session will take delegates through the Event Narrative Framework (ENF), help you articulate a great question around which to frame your event's objective, and give you the building blocks to explore designing events with a clear purpose, based on these seven questions:

  • Why are you doing this event?
  • What journey are you taking your participants on?
  • Who are you stakeholders (and which want in-person and which online)?
  • How you create an experience to inspire change
  • How to share your message and promote the event to the audience
  • How to execute with purpose, excellence and quality production
  • How to measure results event and plan for the future

The session will also show you how to take your Event Narrative Framework and take it to the next level – event design; a process to help you shape your content, experiences, showcase your associations services and benefits, and hardwire diversity and accessibility into your event design plan.

Sasha Frieze

Managing Director
The Business Narrative


17:45 - 18:30
Appointments Session

This session is for two appointments with strategic suppliers.

19:15 - 21:30
Congress Drinks & Dinner

The dinner takes place at Yarnfield Park.

Friday 2 June

08:30 - 11:30

Including a
30 minute refreshment break

Association Leadership - Session 7
7. Successful Technologies & Adoption Strategies

Associations need to adopt effective technologies for their: membership management, email communications, website content, accounting, event management, event registrations, online events, video hosting, community forums, awards management, directories, eLearning, underlying CRMs and more.  In this session you will get an understanding of what technologies and function are most critical to the success of your association. With scene setting by the session leader, discussion threads on your most important issues, and leading case studies of innovations.

  • Most successful technologies for associations
  • Technologies for the future associations 
  • Integration of multiple systems or all-in-one?
  • Best strategies for approval and adoption of new technologies

Ben Sturt

Managing Director
Chrysalis Digital


Conference & Events Strategy - Session 9
8. Pricing & revenue for online conferences & online content

Associations are under pressure to provide online services for free or heavily reduced price. Whether its online delegate places at low or no cost or access to online events for suppliers at heavily reduced fees.

Monetising online content is challenging but critical to sustaining associations. When publications go from physical to digital, when the demand is for video and audio, when there is short form and long form versions of pieces. 

This session will address:

  • Successful pricing for physical and online delegates to physical events, and online-only events
  • Adopting an "online" pricing policy and communicating it to members
  • How advertising revenues can be protected in the move from phsyical > digital content?
  • Innovations in delivering online video, audio and written content in short and long form
  • Monetising digital and online content

Rennie Schafer

Chief Executive Officer
Self Storage Association

Executive Education - Session 8
9. Take to the Stage: Speak with confidence and highly effectively when it matters most

An association leader is expected to be a comfortable presenter. Speaking and presenting during meetings is a frequent occurence, but then there are the bigger occasions. The audience is larger, the
occasion is more formal, and you may be speaking on a topic that is less part of your day-to-day. Whether it’s an annual conference, AGM, awards dinner or something else, these moments are bigger.
The stakes are higher. The opportunities are greater. These occasions are your opportunity to:

  • Lead and promote through sharing ideas with others
  • Activate a positive connection between the audience and your Aassociation
  • Inspire trust and credibility in you as a leader
  • Create confidence in your association

This session will support you to make the most of these opportunities. ICF credentialed coach and experienced trainer and speaker, John Scarrott (PCC) will share his proven approach to success. This session will support you to create a step change in your approach to speaking, look forward to your next opportunity to speak, and be ready harness the occasion to raise the profile of your association.

  • The four Ps of successful speaking: Preparation, Practise, Performance, Personal Confidence
  • Preparation: What will you say and how will you say it? Planning and storylines to work with
  • Practise: How to practise to improve your performance
  • Performance: What to nurture and what to avoid around body language and voice
  • Personal confidence: boost confidence levels, before, during and after your speaker slot
  • Practical matters 1: A checklist for what to do in the run up to the speaking opportunity
  • Practical matters 2: Other than what you say, the key choices that make your presentation effective including slide options, use of technology and delivery methods
  • Action plan and next steps: plan what you’ll do next to take this forward

John Scarrott

Trainer and Coach
John Scarrott Training and Coaching


11:45 - 13:00
Appointments Session

This session is for four appointments with strategic suppliers.

13:00 - 14:00
Lunch & Networking
14:00 - 16:00



Association Leadership - Session 10
10. Association 3.0: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Deliver, Repeat...

Communities are no longer what they used to be. People don’t stay in the same place, in the same job, or even in the same sector, for very long – or some of us do, and some of us really don’t. We live half our lives online, in a constant flood of information, our attention being pulled in a hundred different directions at the same time. 

In the middle of all this, associations are in a flux. Are we sure we know what’s the purpose of our association? What do our members really want? How frequently do their needs change? How can associations keep their finger on the pulse and then keep up with member's needs? 

In this session we examine the factors that are pulling associations in different directions, how we can rapidly and better understand our members' wants and needs, from us. And then we project what Association 3.0 looks like.

Raisa McNab

Chief Executive Officer
Association of Translation Companies

  Association Leadership - Session 10
11. International Growth: Opportunities for UK associations

UK associations are among the most experienced and professional in the world. Some have successfully transferred their knowledge and experience to other English speaking countries where association work is in its infancy. This can quickly bring increased membership, influence and revenue if successfully implemented 

Tim Whiteman, an expert in international growth, will introduce the critical aspects for success. He will lead the discussions and case studies, and present his own experience of growing associations and businesses, while facilitating an exchange of ideas and best practice. The session will address:

  • Identifying opportunities in your sector
  • Focussing on transferrable activities
  • Identifying the right staff
  • Selecting your competitive advantage in the marketplace
  • Preparing a feasibility study
  • Avoiding confrontation in new regions
  • Different strategies: Membership led, Events led, Qualification led
  • Examination of possible business models
  • Pricing approaches for sustainable growth

Tim Whiteman

Chief Executive Officer


Congress Closes