The SAMI Perspective

First Time at ASAE

Posted by Sarah on August 29, 2017



I have been in the Association Management world for just under a year, and one question is always constant: What is Association Management? Friends and family ask when I tell them my job title, and even experts with years of experience in this field still wonder the depths and many paths within it. With the great opportunity of attending ASAE, I was able to gain insight into this new career I’ve started, and am now better equipped to answer this question - for myself, and for those who ask.

Day one started with the Opening Reception at the Royal Ontario Museum. The venue was beautiful - I fell in love with their mineral collection! – and this was the first chance to truly meet attendees and vendors. This community of coordinators, executives, and travel representatives is incredibly welcoming – I was pleasantly shocked at how many people will walk up with a smile and start chatting. No titles, no expectations, just honestly interested in meeting you. First impression: Authentic people and great company!

Day two was the Opening Keynote. With everyone in one room, around 5,000 attendees, you really feel the vastness of the meeting and the professional side of the organization. It was also my first time in the Exposition. My favorite booth was - of course! - Visit Milwaukee, serving up authentic Bloody Marys with a sprinkle of Wauwatosa Seasoning from the Spice House. There’s something so comforting and incredible seeing attendees from across the world with a piece of MKE in their hand.


I had a chance to walk around and speak to representatives of CVBs and hotels, and get a feel for entering a conversation with potential business partners, and what both parties are looking for. It also made me want to visit every city across the US and Canada – their booths all had a unique personality and design. (PS: Visit Milwaukee won Third Place for their delicious booth)

The most rewarding session I attended was the very first one. The session was part of the Young Professionals track, organized by the ASAE Young Professionals Committee. The peer leaders and mentors in the ASAE are inspiring and positive and were so personable and willing to share their path to success. This session empowered me to take initiative in my current position. It was very encouraging to know that although I’m just starting out, there are so many in the association management world that is eager to foster your growth, share their own valuable insight and experience, and there is a path to achieving greatness. I walked out of this session feeling confident and meeting many in my own shoes. 

There was a variety of sessions for every level of development, but among those I chose was about preventing burnout, inspiring stories from the ASAE community, millennials in the workforce, and an impressive Game Changer session about productivity. Each session had little pieces of wisdom to listen to, think on, and implement when the time comes. 

In between the reflection and learning of the sessions, there was a scattering of receptions, both large and small, to network with all levels of people. Again, the openness of the community and the ability to walk up to seasoned C-suite attendees as well as first timers is just incredible. I had a chance to come into my own position, see where I can go within the industry, get to know my own colleagues better, and celebrate the diversity and creativity of those in attendance. I am truly humbled and lucky to have been able to attend the 2017 ASAE Annual Meeting, and I look forward to chasing more opportunities that come my way.

Rachel_LG.jpg Rachel Dubinski

If it Were Easy, Everyone Would See It!

Posted by Sarah on March 29, 2017

It had been on my ‘bucket list’ for a while – the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.  But like many things that are wondrous to see, they take some effort to find and observe.

The Aurora Borealis occurs in a circular pattern over the arctic and sub-arctic.  Sure, they occasional occur far south, including in Wisconsin, but very rarely.  In order to (almost) guarantee that I would see the Aurora Borealis, it was necessary to travel to a place it regularly occurs.

I traveled there in the winter when night is long (about 18 hours). North from a place few have heard of, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, to a place few have visited, Blachford Lake Lodge. It is a remote place perfect for the solitary contemplation of nature’s beauty. 

I arrived at the lodge by ski plane as the only other option is a ten-hour snowmobile ride.  Nature has top priority at the lodge, and its kind treatment through composting, recycling and outhouses leaves the area natural and pristine.

After two nights of cloud cover and frost, a beautiful Aurora Borealis occurred, lasting for hours and lighting up the night sky.  It was as glorious as I had anticipated.  Camera batteries quickly lost their charge in the -25 degree temperatures while I stood outside to photograph essentially what could not be photographed – dancing ribbons of light.

The journey, including people met along the way, long hours of travel, and bonding with my traveling companions, my brother and sister, was just as large a part of the experience as seeing the Aurora Borealis. 

Staring up at the northern sky, without the benefit of cell phone or internet was an opportunity to focus on the joy of the moment.  To contemplate how small we are in comparison to the power and complexity of nature.  

The Aurora Borealis occurred several nights in a row.  It was an unforgettable light show.  My advice is not to hesitate to attempt the difficult things in life. They are often most rewarding.  

Enjoy the photos of Aurora Borealis and may you find your brilliant night sky.


   Jane A. Svinicki, CAE








4 Ways to Overcome Procrastination

Posted by Monique on September 30, 2016

We live in the age of procrastination. There are so many distractions at our fingertips on our computers and phones that it can overwhelm us during our work time. We all encounter projects that are difficult to start or that we try to avoid at all costs. Here are some steps you can take to set yourself up for more success at work, or anytime you need to get something important done.

How to Plan for the Unexpected

Posted by Scott on July 13, 2016

As a meeting planner, there will always be unexpected situations that occur at any given outing, meeting, reception, etc. They can range from something as small as a speaker breaking their glasses to full-blown AV shut down. Like Murphy always says: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong


Posted by Jennifer on June 29, 2016

Feedback is one of the most important things for me. I like to know personally where I can improve and where I am succeeding (I am a millennial after all). Compliments and criticism are critical to growing and moving forward in one’s career. Without hearing from supervisors and peers where you can grow, you will never move up in your career. Just as feedback is important to me, I believe it is critical to the success of my clients to hear from members.


Need a New Website? We Do That.

Posted by Christine on June 15, 2016

Redesigning a website can be a daunting task, especially for a non-profit association. Successful completion depends on a healthy budget as well as time to research, coordinate volunteers, communicate with vendors, dig into details, and deal with anything and everything that can, and will, come up. However, as the internet is becoming more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, a strong online presence is key to every organization’s success. Through SAMI’s tried and true methods, I recommend the following steps to achieve your desired result: the perfect new online experience. 

Staying Organized While Traveling

Posted by Sandy on June 1, 2016

Working for an association management company like SAMI means that I travel for different clients – sometimes just days and weeks apart.  Keeping flights, hotel reservations and rental cars straight can be daunting, especially during our busy seasons.

Tipping Standards

Posted by Jennifer on May 19, 2016

Though tipping is not mandatory, we do live in a culture where it’s customary to provide gratuity to someone performing a service. Regardless of whether they’re making $2.13 or $15 per hour, the act of tipping is to express thanks for a job well done.

SAMI to Pilot New Communication System: Slack

Posted by Erica on May 4, 2016

As a millennial, I like to stay on top of new technology. In my personal life, I use various apps to keep my busy schedule under control. 


No matter what your position is within a company, you need collaboration and organization to be successful. This cannot be overstated when it comes to working with a graphic designer. In a typical work day I may touch ten or more projects from five different clients, so it is often difficult to find additional time when someone needs immediate turnaround.