What members say

Marie Tahmazian

Finance & Member Engagement Manager
International Seed Federation

What lead you to become involved with the AAE?

I joined International Seed Federation (ISF) 6 years ago from outside associations. I wanted to know more about the association world, it was a new one for me. At the start I felt somewhat alone with my issues. I’m responsible for managing the finance, accounts and membership rather than a particular area like events. So being able to find a community where I could access information and network with other association professionals was very useful. And to have access to all areas of concern in associations and be able to dip into each is good.

What has been your experience of it?

The AAE helped me to connect what I am expert in (finance) with the way it works for a membership body. I was able to become informed about the different revenue streams coming into an association. And then on membership, I have learned a lot at the congresses about engagement with members and how to keep them.

How have you benefited from the AAE?

I’ve attended 4 congresses now in Berlin, Vienna, Antwerp and Gothenburg. With each one, my knowledge and understanding of associations has grown and this has fitted nicely with the broader role I have taken in within my association.

Would you recommend AAE to others?

I would encourage association professionals to join AAE, especially if you’re new to associations. For me, it has sparked conversations with people who are in similar associations to ours but in a completely different sector. We have been able to connect and discuss issues freely. We have stayed in touch after the first meeting and exchanged useful information with each other. This and other relationships have been useful to me and were created through my involvement with AAE. 

Anne Godfrey

Chief Executive Officer
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health

What lead you to become involved with the AAE?

I was asked to chair a session at the 2014 Associations Congress in London.

What has been your experience of it?

Very positive. Their Associations Congress was well run with a good programme. Subsequent events have been similarly well done. The AAE team are a nice bunch of people to work with.

How have you benefited and contributed to the AAE?

I’m quite selective about how often I speak to stay relevant. The AAE’s events have the right feel to them. They provide the right environment, for me, to share my ideas.

Would you recommend AAE to others?

I’ve introduced other senior team members to the AAE’s events. It’s important that they have the opportunity to see and be seen, and to learn from peers at events like those that AAE organise.

Andy Burman

Chief Executive
British Dietetic Association

What lead you to become involved with the AAE?

I’m a believer! I’m committed to AAE and the principle of engagement and networking, because they add value. I would strongly encourage my fellow CEOs to take advantage of the opportunities so they can benefit personally and professionally from it.

What has been your experience of it?

AAE’s content whether an event or online, is strategically orientated. They ask us, leaders within the associations sector ‘what would be of interest to you?’  and then ‘can you help us deliver it?’ What’s missing?’ It’s a powerful and empowering way to work. You get to set the questions and take a hand in the creation of the answers to the questions you are asking.

AAE’s membership in exchange for contribution is a fantastic idea. I get something out so I put something in. There is great value for me in talking about things I know about, that I am passionate about and sharing my experience. This is a gift for me. If I deliver something useful, that is rewarding and an exchange has taken place. It’s not just AAE giving and me taking.

What members value is not necessarily what you’d anticipate. It’s not money off this or free that. It’s the community and the interaction of that community when we share with each other that creates value more powerful than any discount could ever match. It’s a safe place to share, and you can’t put a price on that.

How have you benefited and/or contributed to the AAE?

In the last 6-9 months I’ve become more aware of the content available on the AAE website, in particular the documents and webinars. There is access to information that has value and is readily available.

The Awards we like. The ceremony is a celebration but shorter and therefore sweeter than others in the sector. The scheme allows you to be recognised and have your team recognise the value of their contribution. I have been a judge on a number of occasions, which is a good way to learn about how others do things and about how they present their results. It’s a real insight into what good and great looks like. This helps us push ourselves to achieve even more, inspires us. Isn’t that how an industry raises its value? By having open channels of communication to better each other, by learning from each other?

Would you recommend AAE to others?

I have recommended the AAE to my team and would to any association professional that wants to share, learn and be inspired. On a practical level, there’s a useful mix of content and information online, both specific to associations and from outside the sector. If you’re at a senior level, leading on comms, events, finance or need an overview, then the AAE is the place to come. I actively encourage the team to get out and take in new thinking. It’s important that we’re not thinking in silos. It’s important for us to horizon scan. The AAE environment delivers what we want in a useful way and enables us to do this.

Paul Sloggett

Head of Member Engagement
Chartered Institution of Wastes Management

What lead you to become involved with the AAE?

Before I started at CIWM I’d never worked in an association, let alone been a member of one. I immediately noticed how engaged all parts of CIWM were, and how this connectedness increased their knowledge and with it their voice. It made sense for me to belong to an association that would do similar things for me and my organisation.

What has been your experience of it?

I feel part of the AAE. There’s a really positive energy that comes from the people there. The caring and supportive nature of the interactions and the desire on the part of AAE people to want to make it work for the profession. As a contributor, they showed an interest in my experience and my story. And a desire to give me a platform to share that story and support me to do so successfully. It was a positive engagement that wasn’t trying to sell me.

How have you benefited and contributed to the AAE?

I spoke at the Engage event in 2018 and the Associations UK Congress in 2019. These were positive experiences and good to get external feedback. It’s one I’ll be repeating. And it’s free to join, which made it very accessible.

Would you recommend AAE to others?

I already have. After my involvement I suggested to my CEO that he signs up, which he did. As an Institute we support all kinds of industry and interest groups within and related to our sector. It’s really important we support ourselves in the same way. AAE is a great way to give and receive for the associations community. I presented our story, putting something back and in doing so gained from the input of others doing the same. Between us we’ve inspired each other, and that is a great way to grow the success of associations as a whole.

Tajinder Panesor

Head of Membership
Institute of Physics

What lead you to become involved with the AAE?

I was introduced to the AAE by my predecessor. My first experience of it was the Associaitons UK Congress in December 2018, which was held in London. Part of why I got involved with the AAE was to do with the role I’d taken on and my predecessor. She had been doing the job for around 12 years. After she’d left and I’d taken over, she was still involved with the sector, and this got me thinking. I was asking myself, ‘how do I establish myself as the new head of membership?’ My predecessor had a great reputation with the IOP's membership and also within the membership sector. But in my mind ‘there was a new sheriff in town’. So, I had to get out there.

What has been your experience of it?

Looking back there was a domino effect. I registered for an event. I networked and made myself known. Then I was asked to speak internationally. The AAE team supported me to make me feel welcome and gave me confidence at all points in the process.

How have you benefited and contributed to the AAE?

My network and contacts have expanded. Doors have opened. The benefits of membership of the AAE have been tangible, too. For example, I’ve met many exhibitors who supply our sector and this has been useful for me and the IOP.

Another way the AAE has developed my network is through being the place where I’ve met colleagues from the world of chemistry (and beyond). We’ve had enjoyable conversations and bonded around common challenges.

The experience with the AAE has, I believe, made me more outgoing. What has encouraged this? I would say it was getting involved and making a contribution. For example, the AAE gave me my first speaking experience overseas on membership at the World Congress in 2020. In doing this I proved to myself I can do it. The speaking opportunity has, I feel, added weight to my experience.

Would you recommend the AAE to others?

I’ve spoken to a number of my colleagues about what the AAE has to offer and encouraged them to attend and speak. I see opportunities at the AAE to encourage my team towards. I’m an advocate of the experience because I’ve seen how it’s helped me.

Gareth Davies

Membership Development and Recruitment Specialist
Royal Society of Chemistry

What lead you to become involved with the AAE?

My first involvement with AAE was at their Associations World Congress around five years ago. I went along to fact-find. I was curious to know what are others doing?

What has been your experience of it?

AAE encourages and provides the right conditions for an exchange of value to take place between associations. This includes events but is available through the resources on the website. I have seen a talk at an event for example, and then re-watched the talk on line later. And if I haven’t had time to get along to the event, having the talks accessible online is an excellent way to catch-up.

How have you benefited and/or contributed to the AAE?

We’ve shared examples of our work with the other members through the Congresses, Association Success Stories and at smaller group discussions. We gain by passing on our work, hearing what others think of it and seeing how they might use it enables us to improve. 

AAE is a great place to engage with the other related professions. I’ve strengthened my links with the Royal Society of Biology and the Institute of Physics along with other STEM organisations. I’ve made good membership related connections at focussed events like Engage. At the same time, I value the diversity and breadth of themes covered in the Congresses.

AAE brings in fresh insights from outside the association world. The things I have learned have given me a wider perspective. For example I took away ideas from the speakers at the Associations World Congress in 2019, the likes of the Nobel Institute and Volvo that have enabled me to bring a fresh perspective back into my organisation.

Would you recommend AAE to others?

I encourage my colleagues at all levels to get involved with AAE. I’ve found at each stage of my career that there has been something useful to meet a need that I had at that particular time. I’ve pointed my direct reports into the AAE and highlighted the amount of applicable information and learning that is available.

Emily Cowan

Manager, Partner Services
Cruise Lines International Association

What lead you to become involved with the AAE?

I was introduced to the AAE by my director. My current role is my first out of University so my introduction to the association world was through the AAE.

What has been your experience of it?

It’s been about connecting with others. And specifically, the type and quality of the connections you can make. When you are not competing with them, there’s an opportunity to talk freely on issues that we have in common. There are no boundaries on our discussions, no competitive protection to consider. We can be open and we get openness in return. Without fear or favour. We each take away something useful to apply to our own situations. On top of this, it feels like we are working together to raise the value of each other and our sector.

How have you benefited from the AAE?

I’ve learnt a lot especially in my first year or two. I’ve attended events with my colleagues and the common experience, shared through each of our individual perspectives has enabled us to add a lot of value and bring this back to our association.

In terms of value, the engagement masterclass has been useful. Rather than it being a 'cookie cutter' style application of this, we used the foundations to redesign our own approach. Having the external stimulation was key to this. As was the small group nature of the masterclass which allowed for sharing between the delegates as well as us taking from the tutor.

There was another example with an Expert Briefing on social media. The Expert Briefing started with why we might want to do more of it, before going on to suggest how. This was good for us as it made us pause and think about what would be right for us.

Would you recommend AAE to others?

The membership was recommended to me and having got involved I can see the value in it. Working in an association we play in two fields. We are working for the sector we represent, and we are part of the association community. It’s important that we nourish both sides, that we get outside the sector we represent, so we can come back and do our best for them. The AAE gives us many opportunities to do this.