The picture above links to a 1-minute video that lays out the content of my upcoming CEOnly session with Susan Neely (CEO American Council of Life Insurers) and Jay Timmons (CEO, National Association of Manufacturers) later this month. I am thrilled to have the chance to bring them together with 30+ CEOs later this month. Susan and Jay are exemplars in change leadership. Following our presentations, I will open up the conversation to include all of the CEOs in attendance. I am learning a tremendous amount putting this event together. (By the way, if you are a CEO and interested in attending the event I reference above, click here to learn more and register.)

I have come to association work late in life, just twenty years ago. I am still a student of what it takes to effect broad change in associations, on behalf of a trade or profession, and for the benefit of our society. That is the focus of this 2-hour event, which will be akin to a graduate-level master class on the topic I am most interested in. It will provide valuable content to all of those CEOs who attend. This is an example of how I take accountability for educating myself, and sharing the treasure I find with those around me.

This is, of course, not the only way. Another equally enriching method is to take on a project that will stretch the limits of your knowledge and experience. My first grand challenge working with Barbara Byrd Keenan while she led the Institute of Food Technologists was an example of that. It was called The Power of 3, and brought together specialists in food, water, and energy to address feeding humanity over the next 25 years. I had not facilitated such a meeting and as a result had the chance to work with not only Barbara, but senior leaders from Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland, the University of Nebraska, the Scottish government, and USAID. In the process, I learned so much about the needs of society now and in the near term future. Nowhere in the world could I have enrolled in such a powerful learning experience.

As a result, I was able to take a leadership role on developing and executing grand challenges with the American Geophysical Union, the American Nurses Association, the CFP Board of Standards, the Entomological Society of America, and Inteleos, the latter on two grand challenges! Each has been a powerful learning experience and added deep experience for me to share with current clients.

How will you engineer a learning experience for yourself? What can you do this week to enhance your professional development?


“Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.”
Kofi Annan