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Free Interactive Virtual Conference

Where association professionals assembled to harness the power of collective knowledge.

May 1st-3rd, 2019
Add to Calendar 05/01/2019 12:00PM 05/03/2019 04:00PM America/New_York SURGE Co-Creation 2019 SURGE is a free virtual conference assembling association professionals from around the world to have productive conversations around innovation & change. Each session of the virtual conference will be produced by a member society or organization that serves the association profession.

Don’t let the shopping cart throw you: you’re paying $0.00! 


Register now to start hearing from the SURGE community.


Immediately start sharing your great ideas, while learning what others are doing.


Return May 1st-3rd to view the sessions, discuss with other attendees, and ask the speakers.


Look out for the eBooks that will be published after the event, compiling insights, resources, and strategies gleaned from the sessions and discussions.

Why Attend


SURGE is a free virtual conference assembling association professionals from around the world to have productive conversations around innovation & change. The sessions are the seeds of discussion! As they play, a chat runs simultaneously, where attendees can interact with each other, as well as the speakers. After the event, we’ll go through the sessions and chat, pull out the biggest insights, and turn them into eBooks made available to the community.

Why is this event called SURGE Co-Creation? The topics of discussion for the conference were put together with our partners by identifying the biggest challenges and opportunities. Throughout (and before!) the event, we’ll ask attendees to share their insights on these topics. That’s because it’s our strong belief that the best way to solve industry problems is through collective knowledge, and SURGE is about coming together to learn from each other.

Register now to start hearing from the SURGE community.


We are a CAE Approved Provider.

Sessions and Speakers

Thanks to our speakers, whose ideas are the very backbone of this event.

New to SURGE: At the end of each day, from 4-5 PM EST, we will have Happy Hour bonus sessions. Hosted by our sponsors, this is the time to unwind and discuss the day’s themes. Details soon to follow!

May 1st, 12-1PM ET

Power of A is the Power to Problem Solve

Amanda Kaiser

Chief Path Finder
Kaiser Insights LLC

Garth Jordan

Healthcare Financial Management Association

Marjorie Anderson

Manager, Digital Communities
Project Management Institute

Randi Sumner, CAE

Sr. Director, Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Members value associations because associations help solve their challenges. The life-blood of your value equation is the type and quality of the solutions and experiences you offer to members and their member organizations. In this conversation we will cover how to accurately and clearly define your members challenges, methods for helping members solve those challenges, and transformative techniques that can help cement member engagement. This session is for association leaders who have been thinking hard about association value, relevancy, and innovation.

May 1st, 1-2 PM ET

Troublemakers! Influencing a Culture that Drives Success

Aldo Maragoni

Communications Manager

Allen Lloyd, CAE

Executive Director
Montana Society of CPAs

Jamie Notter

Co-founder and Culture Expert
Human Workplaces

Meena Dayak

VP, Integrated Media & Communications
American Public Power Association

Yes, YOU can be a positive culture influencer.

Culture is really not that hard to define. It’s the human actions — and all the other “stuff” — that reinforces what’s truly valued in an organization. Can you help build a culture that drives success? Can you step out, ask the tough questions, and be the dissenter and collaborator all at once? Wherever you are in an organization, you can introduce the culture you want to see. Just be prepared to test, experiment, show quick results, define processes, rally your allies, shore up your systems, and build feedback mechanisms. And be just a little defiant, within the boundaries of your influence. Let’s discuss how you can care for your culture and have your culture care for you.

May 1st, 2-3PM ET

Navigating the “Messy Middle of Your Association Management Career”

Maddie Grant, CAE

Culture Designer | Digital Strategist
Human Workplaces

Jennifer Wickline, M.A.

Member Services Coordinator

Amy Thomasson

Director, Marketing
Congress of Neurological Surgeons

Tracy Vanneman, CAE

Corporate Partnership, Sponsorship, & Exhibits Consulting

Are you in a mid-career phase of your life? Too “seasoned” for the Young Professionals resources but not quite senior enough yet for the CEO track? How do you continue to grow and evolve professionally? What if there are not just one, but many things you want to learn? How do you find the right mentor? How do you keep from getting stuck in a box, or worse, a rut? Our organizations are not designed for the messiness of individuals wanting to carve their own pathways. What can we do to change that, from an individual perspective? We don’t have many answers, but we have lots of questions. Join this discussion to commiserate with others and share the tips and resources you might have collected along your journey. Also - if you’re a senior leader helping support your mid-career staff in interesting ways, or a mentor with resources to share, or even a YP looking ahead, we welcome your input into this lively discussion!

Learning objectives:

  • Identify different ways to describe common experiences at the mid-career.
  • Collect peer-to-peer advice and resources related to professional development, mentorship, work life integration.
  • Explore strategies for developing your own pathway and personal brand

May 1st, 3-4PM ET

Kickin’ @$$ and Taking Non Dues Revenue

Arianna Rehak

Community Evangelist

Laura Taylor

Vice President of Digital Operations and Development
Naylor Association Solutions

Kelly Turner, CAE

President & CEO
Michigan Society of Association Executives

Tamela Blalock, MBA, CAE, CMP, DES

Executive Director
Section on Women’s Health

You’re not attending SURGE to kick back and do nothing. You’re here because you want to kick @$$ and take names!

You know the value of non-dues revenue to support your member initiatives and strategic goals, and to expand your association’s capabilities beyond what membership dues alone can do. You’re probably doing okay with some existing added revenue streams, too – but is okay enough? Our panel of financial and revenue experts will review ways for associations of all sizes, missions, and levels of financial savvy to tap into new sources of non-dues revenue. We’ll cover how to evaluate potential non-dues revenue ventures before you commit staff and organizational investment in them. And we’ll discuss how to ensure the success of a new revenue generating venture through marketing, member buy-in and unbiased, data-based evaluation.

Join our brainstorming session to become even more of an association maverick and kick some @$$ at generating non-dues revenue.

May 2nd, 12-1PM ET

Tech is Powered by the People

Dave Will

Co-Founder and CEO

Heidi Weber, MBA, CAE

Executive Director
Alpha Omega Dental Fraternity

Melinda Starkweather, CMP

Principal, Starkweather Association Services
Starkweather Association Services

Tori Liu, CAE, MBA

Director of Information Systems
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

The Matrix. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Weird Science. What do these brilliant works of art have in common? They are all about the intersection of people and technology. While we will not be discussing these movies in great depth, or at all, we will be talking about the relationship between people and technology.

Join our panel as we discuss the role of technology in an association. We’ll demonstrate that technology is a means to an end, and not the solution itself. We will discuss how to create value that starts with people first. We’ll challenge each other and the audience to harness technology by fostering a culture of innovation and analysis, where leadership and staff are equipped and empowered to question, continuously improve and experiment. And finally, we’ll explore how the tech can help us serve our members, support our organizations and create better experiences for both members AND staff.

May 2nd, 1-2 PM ET

Local Perspectives on the Association Industry Path

Ioannis Pallas

Program Manager
European Society of Associations Executives (ESAE)

Jeffers Miruka

President and Founder
African Society of Association Executives (AfSAE)

Lowell Aplebaum, CAE

CEO & Strategy Catalyst
Vista Cova
Octavio “Bobby” Peralta

Octavio “Bobby” Peralta

CEO & Founder
Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE)

Toni Brearley

Australasian Society of Association Executives

Globalization should not come from a place of expansion, but rather from collaboration. There are organizations all around the world that are tackling similar challenges, and have identified similar opportunities. Where are there opportunities for collaboration (no matter where in the world we’re located), and how do our unique insights bring clarity to complex global challenges? In this session, you’ll hear from leaders who are spearheading the association movements in their respective countries. They will offer their perspective on global partnerships, and how we might consider “associating”.

May 2nd, 2-3PM ET

Blockchain for Associations: Separating Hype From Reality

Elizabeth Engel, MA, CAE

CEO & Chief Strategist
Spark Consulting

Feng Hou

Chief Information Officer
Central New Mexico Community College

Shelly Alcorn, CAE

Alcorn Associates Management Consulting

Tim Haynes

Signal & Story

The buzz is unmistakable. The next technological wave is beginning to crest and blockchain is leading the way. Advocates claim it will revolutionize trust on the internet and, counterintuitively, lead to more privacy for individuals. Detractors have concerns about misuse, security, and what the overall socioeconomic impact may be of blockchain being deployed at scale. We’ll talk about what blockchain is and how the technology works, discuss how it’s going to affect the association industry, and provide a roadmap for associations to use as they begin to help their members prepare for the impacts of this disruptive technology on their industries and professions.

May 2nd, 3-4PM ET

Drive Member Loyalty with Personalized Experiences & Predictive Analytics

Dan Gaertner

Executive Vice President, Membership Solutions
Community Brands

Erin Shy

Executive Vice President, Nonprofit & Event Solutions
Community Brands

Peggy Smith

Director of Marketing
Community Brands/Your Membership

Sigmund VanDamme

Membership Software Evangelist
Community Brands

Tristan Jordan

Executive Vice President, Careers & Education Solutions
Community Brands

Member satisfaction increases by 23% when members view your association as an early technology adopter. And personalization is essential to delivering better experiences, however, only 33 percent of members believe they receive personalized content. There is a growing expectation from members that organizations use their information to provide more personalized interactions based on preferences and past behaviors. As technologies improve, there are now more opportunities to deliver personalized, relevant experiences at scale. In this session, we will discuss real-world association examples of using technology and predictive analytics to take your member’s experience to a new level.

May 3rd, 12-1PM ET

Putting Members in the Driver’s Seat

Amy Hager, CAE, IOM

Director of Communications
Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Chris Beaman

Director of Advancement & Communications
Kappa Delta Pi

Marice Fernando

Manager, Knowledge Management & Member Engagement
Exponent Philanthropy

Megan Denhardt, CAE

The Denhardt Group

From Amazon to Netflix, Dollar Shave Club to Blue Apron, subscription models make it exceptionally easy for consumers to access nearly anything they may need or want – and have it delivered right to their front door (or digital device). These companies offer a positive and valuable experience that is incredibly convenient, highly personalized – and profitable. They are data-driven, listen to their members, and provide recommendations based on behavior patterns. Join us for a conversation as we explore subscription models and the implications for the association membership space.

May 3rd, 1-2PM ET

Mind the Gap: Advancing the Workforce through Association Education

Aaron Wolowiec, MSA, CAE, CMP, CLEA, CTA, CTF/QT

Event Garde

Colleen Loeffler, CAE, MNA


Keith Segundo

Limitless Association Solution Resource

Veronica Diaz


Do you know what education your association needs to offer in order to help emerging, mid-career and senior professionals both get and keep jobs in your industry? What evidence do you have to signal that your current learning programs are meeting this need? How can you better leverage your learning programs to support the career development of members? This session will explore the importance of gathering 360-degree feedback about your association’s education portfolio; elements of a successful gap analysis; how to proactively fill those gaps in an effort to advance both the workforce and the profession; how to evolve and adapt to the learner’s needs; and how to mindfully connect learning offerings to best support each learner’s journey. Four speakers – a professional development consultant, a credentialing guru, a community-building specialist and a professional learning leader – provide their varied perspectives, first-hand experiences and sage advice. Topics covered include workforce challenges, education portfolios, gap analysis, microcredentialing to support learning and skill development, advancing the workforce and much more!

May 3rd, 2-3PM ET

The Future is Now—Get Ready To Work It

Kevin Ordonez


Rob Miller, MPA, CAE

Senior Vice President
Gravitate Solutions

Sharon Rice

Managing Director Business Strategy

Stuart Meyer

Co-Founder and Partner

Ping pong tables and free food are nice, but don’t count on those perks to attract the highly skilled teams associations will need for future success. Technology is putting the workplace on overdrive and reshaping what it means to be an employer and to be employed. Rob Miller, Stuart Meyer, Kevin Ordonez and Sharon Rice have over 20 years of experience advising associations on how to maximize technology for improved strategy and operation.

They’ll discuss:

  • What you and your association need to know about the freelance economy.
  • Opportunities for associations to develop specific value propositions for freelance professionals in their fields.
  • Why associations need to become more comfortable about hiring freelance workers to meet their staffing needs?

May 3rd, 3-4PM ET

Top Insights from the ASAE Technology Council

Anita Joshi

IT Director
National Investor Relations Institute

Katherine Matthews, CAE

Business Intelligence Analyst
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards

Reggie Henry, CAE

Chief Information and Engagement Officer
American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)

Ron Moen, CAE

American College of Chest Physicians

The amount of technology change we see in our everyday lives is astounding. How do these changes affect your organization’s technology strategy? Which technologies should be on your radar? What should you be experimenting with? How do you help you members navigate the technology landscape? Join a few current and past members of ASAE’s Technology Council as they explore these questions and talk about their technology strategies for now and into the future.

Our Partners

Hover over their logos to learn more about them.


Helping associations achieve more revenue and engagement.​


​A collective ecosystem of purpose-driven companies bringing together the best tech and market expertise to accelerate innovation.


Affinipay is a financial technology company, creating payment-based practice management tools for professional service markets. Power your payments now!​


PerByte offers high quality software consulting for associations and nonprofits.


The official community for association industry professionals in Colorado working to educate diverse audiences as to the significance and value of associations.


​Philippine’s Council of Associations and Association Executives serving the interest of institutions and professionals.


First European association supporting and representing association management professionals in Europe.


Serving as the professional society for those within the Association Management Profession within the African Continent.


The Asia-Pacific Federation of Association Organizations is a regional network of national membership organizations of associations.


ACE is a cross-functional group of association executives with a passion for thinking entrepreneurially.


.orgCommunity is a collective of experienced association and nonprofit executives interested in nuturing innovation to stimulate organizational sustainability.


PPN provides strategies and solutions to improve corporate partnership and sponsorship programs for associations and not-for-profit organizations.


MSAE is the association for associations in Michigan! Their mission is to ensure a knowledgeable, professional and successful association community.


GSAE is the association of associations in Georgia! It aims to create meaningful and diverse opportunities for their members to connect with each other.


The leading association for current and future association and not-for-profit leaders in Australia and New Zealand.


Partnering with purpose-driven organizations to produce virtual events that foster meaningful conversations.


​A feedback automation platform that helps engage your members and staff by driving a continuous stream of feedback 365 days a year.


​CE21 is powering this virtual event and provides LMS and webcasting services for associations worldwide.


​Snöball is an influencer marketing tool that we use to help our speakers, partners, and attendees share the event through personalized landing pages.

How it Works

Who is putting on this event?

This event is being hosted by We are a facilitator of great ideas, so this conference is truly a collection of ideas and insights from dozens of people. We are also delighted to be partnering with a number of member societies across the globe, representing voices from all corners of the industry.

Is there an opportunity to sponsor/advertise within the event?

Absolutely! Contact to set up a call!

What is the format of the conference?

This is a three-day event from 12-4PM EST on May 1st-3rd. Each session is an hour long, and is pre-recorded. This allows the speakers to spend the entire session period in the attendee chat answering your burning questions. At the same time, you will be able to communicate with the other attendees through the same chat. Join in on whichever conversation is most interesting to you!

Where is this event located?

This conference exists in the virtual space, as it gives us the opportunity to bring together thousands of association professionals from around the world.

How do I access the event?

Once you register, you will enter the event page, where you can immediately start interacting. At the same time, you will be sent an email with the link to return. The event is the finale, but conversations will occur in the platform leading up to it.

How can I ask speakers questions during the event?

The sessions are pre-recorded so that the speakers can spend the time answering attendee questions. They will be typing away furiously to reply to as many questions as possible in the live chat!

Will there be opportunities to communicate with the speakers after their specific sessions?

This will depend on individual preference of our speakers. For those who are willing to be contacted, they will provide their email addresses and LinkedIn profiles.

Can I communicate with other participants?

Absolutely! When you register, you can immediately start communicating with fellow attendees in our forum. Throughout the sessions, there will also be a chat running simultaneously.

Will I have access to the sessions after the fact?

If you register before May 1st, you will be given access to watch the recorded sessions at any point after the event.

Can I gain CAE credit hours watching the sessions?

Yes, but only if you attend live! Once the event is over, we provide certificates of attendance to those who attended the sessions live. All certificates will be available in the SURGE platform after-the-fact under the “CERTIFICATES” tab.

I would like to speak at your next conference. Is there an opportunity?

We would love to hear from you, we will release a call for submissions when the event is over!

What platform are you using to stream the event?

We are proudly partnered with CE21.

Are there any browsers that your platform does not support?

The quality will be a little funky on Internet Explorer 8. Although we highly recommend Chrome for the smoothest user experience on any website, here’s a handy link to download Edge, which is Microsoft’s move away from IE:

My question hasn't been answered in this Q&A. How might I satisfy my curiosity?

Email your question to If you’re asking, you’re not the only one, and you will help us make our Q&A complete!