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We All Can Win Championships

by | Jun 19, 2014 | Industry News & Trends

I am writing this post from beautiful St. Paul, Minnesota, where I spoke at the Midwest Society of Association Executives 58th Annual Meeting and Expo. I was invited to be one of eight presenters at MSAE’s IGNITE session appropriately titled “Grant Me Insight, and Make it Fast”.  I love these IGNITE sessions, or as I like to call them “presenting with your hair on fire.” It always feels like you’re under the gun and it always feels like a competition. I like it!

The tagline for the conference was Think Forward. Change the Game. It had a sports theme complete with mascots, uniforms from a variety of sports teams, conference attendees singing “We Will Rock You” and they even did the wave during the awards ceremony. There was a lot of positive energy and many amped up association professionals. That made for an enjoyable day while manning the booth. MSAE President Kathy Johnson and her staff are to be commended for a great event.

The sports theme and watching the MSAE crew in action had me thinking about the importance of building a great team. How with the right people on your team along with strong leadership, you can do some pretty amazing things. I looked across the floor from our booth and saw the good folks with Ewald Consulting, an association management company that just completed moving 42 associations to the platform in 11 months. WOW! Only a great team made up of dedicated and highly motivated people could have pulled this off. And that led me to think about the San Antonio Spurs and their newly earned 2014 NBA Championship.

The Spurs, my childhood team, have built an unbelievable organization. They’ve drafted players based on character as much as talent. And they have had a 17-year run with a nucleus of players that saw them contending for championships virtually every year. It is an organization that is about playing the game the right way and winning championships. And they’ve won five of them – the latest this past week.

I stopped by the Ewald Consulting headquarters yesterday, and the experience left me with a similar feeling in relation to the Spurs. There was a fantastic energy within the walls of their office as I walked around and spoke with their team about the work they were doing for all of the associations, and their thousands of members,  they are serving every day.

There was a great sense of accomplishment and pride in the amazing work their team performed to move their entire client roster to the platform in just 11 months. Long hours were put in to get the work down. Sacrifices were made as people worked nights and weekends to reach their goals. And in the process of doing the work, they learned a great deal about themselves and what they were capable of doing as a team. And the real winners? The associations and their members they help every day.

Now that the work has been completed and processes have been established for managing their clients, it is exciting to see how Ewald is utilizing’s membership software to change the game for all of these associations.

As Kathie Pugaczewski, CAE, CMP, Ewald’s Vice President of Communications and Technology said, “Now we can get down to the cool stuff. Looking at new and creative ways we can provide greater value to our clients and the thousands of members they represent. Our staff is excited about the possibilities, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Like any great team led by forward-thinking leaders, they can’t wait for the next opportunity to compete and win for their entire organization. After all, that’s what champions do.


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