When we reached our centennial at the Endocrine Society, I saw the celebration as a springboard to focus on our future. I coined a phrase:

“We’re in the first year of our second century.”

A one year old behaves quite differently than a 101 year old, and our centennial has sparked a rebirth. We continue to build upon our historical foundation but we’re not bound by our history. Our new strategic plan uses an outward-facing perspective. We’re not rejecting past practices but recognizing that now requires something different than then. It’s changed our perspective on many aspects of our work, including partnerships.

The 20th century model of partnerships involves getting together to work on a project with another organization, and then letting the partnership fall to the wayside when the project is over. Or the whole thing is reduced to logo slapping: we’ll slap our logo on your stuff and you slap your logo on ours. That isn’t true collaboration.

In our 21st century model of partnership and collaboration, everybody at the table yields some power for the greater good. When that happens, organizations start building trust in working with one another. They might allow somebody else to take the lead and find they realize wonderful benefits. They learn from each other.

Recently, we were thrilled to learn that our Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition won an ASAE Summit Award. Last year, Texas, Florida and the Caribbean were devastated by hurricanes. Many of our members treat patients with diabetes, so we looked at the storms with a specific lens. If a natural disaster prevents a patient with diabetes from accessing insulin, they are in grave danger. We knew we had to do something to ensure individuals had the supplies and medical care they needed. The situation prompted us to form a coalition with organizations including the American Diabetes Association.

We delivered four thousand pounds of supplies to affected areas. Our staff raised money for our partner, Insulin For Life. We staffed a hotline so that physicians and patients would be able to find out how to access supplies. We saved lives in collaboration with our partners and as a result, we discovered how much we can accomplish when we come together under a common goal for the common good. The coalition is now building permanent infrastructure to support people with diabetes who are affected by future disasters.

We will have members who will be part of this organization for the rest of their lives because they will remember the impact of that program. They will remember that we stay true to our mission, to improve health worldwide.

Barbara spoke in the “Busting the 7 Myths of Entrepreneurship in Associations” session during SURGE Optimism 2018, an interactive virtual conference hosted by AssociationSuccess.org on November 7th-9th. Click here to watch the sessions on demand.

Barbara Byrd Keenan, FASAE, CAE joined the Endocrine Society as CEO in 2014. In the past four years, the Society has developed and begun implementing a new strategic plan, expanded global leadership in education and advocacy, repositioned its suite of publications, and won 10 awards for education, program development, communications, and diversity, including sharing the 2018 Power of A Summit Award with Diabetes Disaster Recovery Coalition partners.  Prior to joining the Endocrine Society, Ms. Keenan was the Executive Vice President/CEO of the Institute of Food Technologists and Feeding Tomorrow as well as staff head of the International Food Science Certification Commission. During her decade plus tenure there, the Institute won over 25 awards for education, publishing, advocacy, marketing, design and scientific achievement. She has over 30 years of CEO experience, having previously served as CEO with the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals International and Community Associations Institute. Upon her departure from HFTPI, she was made an Honorary Member, and CAI created the Barbara Byrd Keenan Award in her honor and named her as the first recipient. In 2013, IFT & Feeding Tomorrow established the Barbara Byrd Keenan Scholarship Fund to support the academic achievement of IFT student members. Ms. Keenan also has held senior positions and consulting relationships with the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American College of Cardiology and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. She is a Charter Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives and the recipient of the ASAE Key Award — the highest honor in association management—and the 12th woman to receive it since its creation in 1960. She holds BS and MS degrees from Old Dominion University in Virginia, where she was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Barbara Byrd Keenan, FASAE, CAE joined the Endocrine Society as CEO in 2014. In the past four years, the Society has developed and begun implementing a new strategic plan, expanded global leadership in education and advocacy, repositioned its suite of publications, and won 10 awards for education, program development, communications, and diversity, including sharing the 2018 Power of A Summit Award with Diabetes Disaster Recovery Coalition partners.  Prior to joining the Endocrine Society, Ms. Keenan was the Executive Vice President/CEO of the Institute of Food Technologists and Feeding Tomorrow as well as staff head of the International Food Science Certification Commission. During her decade plus tenure there, the Institute won over 25 awards for education, publishing, advocacy, marketing, design and scientific achievement. She has over 30 years of CEO experience, having previously served as CEO with the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals International and Community Associations Institute. Upon her departure from HFTPI, she was made an Honorary Member, and CAI created the Barbara Byrd Keenan Award in her honor and named her as the first recipient. In 2013, IFT & Feeding Tomorrow established the Barbara Byrd Keenan Scholarship Fund to support the academic achievement of IFT student members. Ms. Keenan also has held senior positions and consulting relationships with the American College of Preventive Medicine, the American College of Cardiology and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. She is a Charter Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives and the recipient of the ASAE Key Award — the highest honor in association management—and the 12th woman to receive it since its creation in 1960. She holds BS and MS degrees from Old Dominion University in Virginia, where she was presented with the Distinguished Alumni Award.

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