Associations World Congress & Expo

5 – 9 July 2021 Online: Live & On-Demand Congress

Hear from our Speakers

Hear what speakers are going to be talking about with these Interviews.

Juanita Vorster

At That Point


Your workshop on 15 April will address how to bridge the generational communication gap for sustained association growth - why is there such a need for this in 2020? 
"In all my years working with associations I have only met one that didn’t have membership growth as part of their strategic goals. All the others have a very strong focus on growing membership numbers and very often the supporting goal of achieving this growth in generations that differ from those dominating the existing membership demographic.

Even in 2020 the activities I often see launched in response to these types of goals still make one or more of these common mistakes: neglecting to offer something the target audience really needs/wants; neglecting to package the value proposition in a way that makes it appealing to the target audience; neglecting to communicate the value proposition in a way that appeals to different generations on platforms and channels they already follow.

Attracting members from younger generations while still retaining members from older generations require communication strategies and methods that surpass the depth and breadth – and resources – of what most associations are used to. The workshop will provide practical guidance of how to balance the sometimes conflicting approaches with the resources available to your association."

Your keynote presentation focuses on maintaining relevance and reinventing the relevance wheel. What do you think the role of membership bodies and professional bodies will be over the next 5,10, 20 years? 
 "Membership associations have traditionally justified their value by bringing like-minded professionals together to share information and ideas, providing professional development opportunities, and offering professional designations based on this professional development.

Like-minded professionals are however now – with the aid of technology – able to (at little to no cost) self-organise, network with more ease and greater results without the constraints of a physical location, and access the latest industry research from across the globe within seconds of publication. With the additional shift away from using qualifications and designations as the primary driver of career progress, associations must be courageous in imagining their new future.

If I could design the role that associations play in the role of society over the next couple of decades, I would focus on being: a presence that connects like-minded professionals rather than a physical organisation people must interact with. The association then fulfils the role of data administrator rather than service provider, a trusted resource that can access a database of relevant professionals in order to crowdsource the provision and/or verification of information and insight produced by machine learning, the owner and protector of a valuable database that can sell hyper-personalised ads for micro payments to members based on their behaviours and permissions, a high value brand that can verify the percentage of human involvement in any data project."

How can associations adapt and jump into the fast lane to future success? 
 "The fast lane to future success is reserved for those that have the courage to: Stay attuned to the role members want associations to play in their lives, not the role the association has always played in the profession; Seriously investigate alternative association models and ensure that the association board/exco comprise members that can steer change towards relevance."

What do your workshop and keynote have to offer the audience and why they should attend? 
"The Associations World Congress enables association leaders and their teams to spend time working ON their association rather than just IN it. The programme focuses on the complexities of association management and common challenges among associations. 

My sessions provide practical guidance and inspiration to pave the way for associations to remain not only relevant but truly valuable long into the future. They will also be the starting point of many discussions." 

Inge Wallage

Advisory Director EACD
European Association of Communication Directors

What can the audience expect from your presentation 'Why communications is vital in creating stakeholder trust.' ?
"They will be provoked to think about their own roles, their own stories and the connection with their stakeholders. They should appreciate that though everyone can communicate, not everyone is a communications professional and that the specialist skill is fundamental to make a difference to your vision and mission."

What are the three key delegates take-aways for your session? 

  • "Community (management) is key. Being in control is something of the past. Determining elements are mobilisation, enabling and empowerment"
  • "The need to have a narrative: those that are strategic storytellers will determine the future"
  • "The changes in the world matter to all associations - you have a choice to determine the role you want to play"

What do you think is the biggest challenge for professionals when it comes to education and professional development and what can they do to meet this challenge? 

"I actually think that two things are fundamental: first the realisation that one learns on the job, more than many often realise. Secondly, training that seems 'outside' ones own function is the most meaningful." 

Why do you think it's important for professionals to attend the Association World Congress? 

"Vital to learn beyond ones own bubble. The opportunity to share best practice with, and meet people from, different associations, appreciating that you share challenges and can compare notes and lessons learned. Last, but not least, sharing laughter."

Miguel Neves

Chief Social Strategist

What can the audience expect from your presentation?

"In my session, I'll be talking about how association and events professionals can make the most out of using social media to promote their events, but most of all engage with the community around their events, in particular, the community that forms their association. When used well and consistently social media can be an incredibly powerful tool for engaging communities. However, it's not just a case of setting up an account and talking about our events. There is much more to it, and while the differences between engaging and non-engaging content are sometimes in small details, these details make a big difference."

In your opinion, what are the three key takeaways that delegates will gain from your session? 

  • "Have a better understanding of how digital marketing can impact events"
  • "Feel more confident using social media and digital marketing to promote events and engage delegates"
  • "Have a strategic direction for how best to use digital marketing to achieve tangible results"

What do you think is the biggest challenge for marketing and communication professionals and what can they do to meet this challenge? 

"One of the biggest challenges is really getting buy-in from everyone involved so that the digital communication has the opportunity to develop its own personality and back it up with enough resources to be able to engage with the relevant community in the best way possible."

Why do you think it's important for marketing and communication professionals to attend the Association World Congress? 

"It's not often that we have the opportunity to connect with peers who are doing similar work to us. The Associations World Congress is a unique opportunity to do just that, to exchange ideas and experiences with peers and also to get insight from experts who can inspire and challenge how we do things."