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by Callie Castro, MBA, CAE, KCSAE Treasurer

Regardless of industry, non-profit status, or mission, a strategic plan is key for the success of every association. It is our roadmap; it provides direction and vision; and it should be based on the membership. A strategic plan should be full of great ideas that are achievable, but keep the association moving forward and relevant. The plan should look to engage the membership and build relationships with members that create unparalleled value.

This is precisely what your KCSAE board has strived for throughout my entire tenure serving. Every agenda includes a review of the current strategic plan and discussion by the board as to how the association is doing to meet the goals and objectives set forth. We just wrapped up work on the 2014-2016 Strategic Priorities and have spent the past couple of months creating a new plan and direction for the next two years. This new plan was built upon the foundation of the outstanding work that has occurred the last several years.

KCSAE remains committed to creating an association management community for its members that advances their careers through education, professional development, and networking. The organizational priorities also focus on providing value to members, creating a community for Kansas City association professionals through a variety of formats, and an alignment of operations and governance that allows us to achieve these goals.

We will again take a comprehensive look at education and networking opportunities for all member segments to ensure that member needs are met. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) are gaining traction, and we will continue to look at the segments of KCSAE members in relation to SIGs to build upon the value of this member-to-member interaction. In addition, we plan to work with committee leaders to increase collaboration and communication between the many KCSAE working committees throughout the year and especially as we look to develop programming for the next year. Lastly, your KCSAE board seeks to develop and enrich partnerships with local groups to allow us to build more robust education and networking opportunities for members with other Kansas City professionals.

I assure you that the KCSAE strategic plan is not something that is just created and then left sitting on the shelf to collect dust. It is an organic document that we utilize to guide our decision-making at every meeting. We welcome member input and feedback throughout the year so that we can continue to serve your needs and demonstrate value. Do not hesitate to reach out to any of the board members or our Executive Director with thoughts or suggestions.

How fitting that the February educational event is on engagement. After all, that is what each of our associations strives for as an outcome of our strategic plans, right? We all know that engagement means value which equals retention. I hope you all make it a point to become engaged with KCSAE this year, whether it is through a meeting, an online community, or SIG.

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