Pittsburgh Society of 
Association Executives


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  • May 01, 2018 11:07 AM | Lisa Moses (Administrator)

    In this era of legalized marijuana and an ongoing opioid crisis, how can companies manage employees that may be using these or other drugs? Learn how to implement policies that may reduce risk and create a safer work environment.

    Adriane Harrison is an experienced human resources professional with an extensive background in business, law, and non-profit sectors. She practiced law for fifteen years and now heads the human relations for Printing Industries of America, the national trade association for the print industry based in Warrendale, PA. Adriane holds an undergraduate degree in Journalism from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from DePaul University in Chicago. 

    Details and registration are here.

  • January 10, 2018 3:41 PM | Lisa Moses (Administrator)

    President’s Message

                                       January 2018

    Dear PSAE Members,

    Happy New Year to all PSAE Members.  Thank you for your participation and dedication to the organization as we transition into 2018.  I can’t believe that my term as President is already at the midway point.  Looking back at the first 6 months:

    1.      We had two educational luncheon meetings.  The September meeting at ACMS was all about connecting with millennials via social media.  The October meeting at SAE International focused on understanding emotional intelligence and how it plays an important part of leadership and success.
    2.      A social event at the Willow restaurant in Avonworth in late November.  As an early holiday party, the unformatted event gave members the opportunity to mingle and network with other members as well as participate in multiple gift-basket raffles donated by PSAE associate members to support the organization’s activities.
    3.      Most Importantly: I am pleased to announce that PSAE has a new Society Administrator: Ms. Lisa Moses.  Ms. Moses comes to us with an extensive background in planning and executing the many tasks required for the PSAE.  She will be handling the meeting logistics, membership, member communications, finances and day-to-day operations.  For any inquiries on membership or anything PSAE-related, please reach out to Lisa at psae@psae.org

    Looking ahead to 2018, we have an exciting list of events coming up to continue your leadership education and to expand your local network of professional society leaders.

    1.      Just announced for January 31, 2018: Leadership and Ethics by Rose Almon-Martin – “Discuss the common triggers that lead good people to do bad things and how leaders can create an environment where people know the right thing and they do it”.  The event will be held at the Oncology Nursing Society.  Visit the PSAE website for more details.  Register today for the event!
    2.      The PSAE Masters Conference will be held on February 28, 2018.  Two long-time contributors to PSAE are confirmed to participate:  Ms. Mary Lee Gannon and Mr. Michael Kumer.  Additional details for the program will be coming very soon.  If you are a vendor and are interested in sponsoring at this event, please see the website for details on the sponsorship levels.  The PSAE relies on the support of not only its members, but also its dedicated associate members.  We thank all who participate at any level.
    3.      A PSAE Social will occur on March 28, 2018, location to be determined soon
    4.      Mark your calendars also for two additional luncheon meetings:  April 25, 2018 and May 23, 2018.

    Don’t forget to submit nominations for members deserving recognition through the PSAE Awards program.  The PSAE seeks nominations each year for the following awards:

    • Joe Gilbert Outstanding Association Executive Award - Recognizing an association executive who has demonstrated a commitment to leading the field of association management through active participation in PSAE and contribution to the Pittsburgh and Tri-State Area Association Community. 
    • PSAE Member of the Year – Recognizing an individual member of PSAE for his/her outstanding contributions, leadership and achievements in PSAE and association management
    • Outstanding Affiliate Award/Outstanding Service to Associations - Recognizing an individual from an Affiliate Member Organization who has contributed substantially to PSAE over the past year. The individual is recognized for the application of his/her talents and activities as a vendor/supplier to the benefit of PSAE.

    More details on the nomination criteria and process can be found on the PSAE Awards website.

    Please feel free to pass along the PSAE Monthly Luncheon Program announcements to any business colleague you feel may benefit from the program content.  We depend on our members to truly spread the word to all for the benefit of all.

    Thank you.

    Brian Bliss, CAE

    2017-2018 President


  • October 15, 2017 12:36 PM | Jim Ireland (Administrator)

    Dear PSAE Members,

    On September 27, 2017, we kicked off the new PSAE meeting season with our September Members Luncheon Meeting at the Allegheny County Medical Society.  The keynote speaker was Ms. Felicia McKinney, Manager of Social Media at Point Park University.  Her lecture entitled, “Snaps, Apps and Fetty Waps” was a broad overview of the ways that Point Park University engages students (members) in promoting and advertising the many activities and opportunities at the university.  The social media environment at PPU lets the students become part of the social media program through their contributions to Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.  A great way to connect with Millenials.

    Our next Members Luncheon Meeting will be on October 25, 2017.  The luncheon speaker will be Melinda Rombold, Chief Human Resource Officer at SAE International and she will be speaking on emotional leadership.  “Regardless of your level or title, we all are leaders within our roles.  Leadership can vary from effectively executing tasks to being a great co-worker to having responsibility for a large team of people.  Whatever your level, emotional intelligence is an important part of leadership and can lead to overall success in any organization.”  Her presentation is entitled, “Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence”.

    The meeting will be hosted at SAE International in Warrendale, Pa.   We look forward to seeing you there.

    On November 29, 2017, we will be holding the PSAE Holiday Social.  Watch your email and the PSAE website for more details and the location.

    As this year progresses, we ask all of our members to consider nominating any PSAE member deserving recognition through the PSAE Awards program.  The PSAE seeks nominations each year for the following awards:

    • ·  Joe Gilbert Outstanding Association Executive Award - Recognizing an association executive who has demonstrated a commitment to leading the field of association management through active participation in PSAE and contribution to the Pittsburgh and Tri-State Area Association Community. 
    • ·  PSAE Member of the Year – Recognizing an individual member of PSAE for his/her outstanding contributions, leadership and achievements in PSAE and association management
    • ·  Outstanding Affiliate Award/Outstanding Service to Associations - Recognizing an individual from an Affiliate Member Organization who has contributed substantially to PSAE over the past year. The individual is recognized for the application of his/her talents and activities as a vendor/supplier to the benefit of PSAE.

    More details on the nomination criteria and process can be found on the PSAE Awards website.

    Please feel free to pass along the PSAE Monthly Luncheon Program announcements to any business colleague you feel may benefit from the program content.  We depend on our members to truly spread the word to all for the benefit of all.

    Thank you.

    Brian Bliss, CAE

    2017-2018 President

  • February 23, 2017 1:50 PM | Anonymous

    Executive Director Recognized for Outstanding Leadership and Advocacy for Physicians
    PITTSBURGH (February 20, 2017) . . . The Allegheny County Medical Society Foundation (ACMSF) will present the 2016 Executive Leadership Award to John G. Krah, executive director, ACMS, during its Celebration of Excellence Awards Gala, Saturday, March 4th at Heinz Field.
    Mr. Krah is the first recipient of the Executive Leadership Award, presented to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and advocacy for physicians over a sustained period of time, displaying administrative guidance and support to physicians to improve their ability to improve the lives and health of the people of our community.

    Mr. Krah has served as the society’s executive director since January of 1989 and has dedicated his career to advocacy for physicians and patients.

    “It has been a honor and privilege to work with Jack for the past ten years,” says Lawrence John, MD, 2016 ACMS President. “He is the most dedicated administrator I have ever been associated with in my career.”
    During his tenure Mr. Krah has worked extensively to help physicians achieve meaningful tort reforms in Pennsylvania and led local legislative efforts to stop Medicare fee schedule cuts scheduled under the Medicare SGR formula.
    Mr. Krah was instrumental in helping the society establish a medical student scholarship fund for students from Allegheny County and an endowed health care studies scholarship at the Community College of Allegheny County.
    The society has supported many public health initiatives addressing domestic violence, childhood obesity, smoking cessation, alcohol and drug abuse. The society has also participated in public service radio and television campaigns including Straight Talk About Healthcare on KQV; The Power of Prevention campaign; Health Capsules on KDKA-TV; Healthy 4 Life with WTAE-TV; the Dear Doctor column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which addressed reader questions on medical issues by ACMS physician members and more.
    The society built a fully accessible playground at YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee and Spencer in Fombell, PA. The society also conducted Medical Exchange Forums, which paired community and corporate leaders with practicing physicians for a two-day shadowing and educational experience and formed Allegheny MedCare, a group purchasing organization for physicians’ medical and surgical supplies and helped the society start and operate a central Credentials Verification Service.
    “Jack fully understands what makes doctors tick and how best to serve them,” says Dr. John. “His skills and insight are amazing and impress me on a daily basis. Physicians have been served comprehensively under his leadership and ACMS has been blessed to have Jack at the helm all of these years.”
    Mr. Krah currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative, and has previously served on the Boards of the American Association of Healthcare Executives, the Better Business Bureau of Western PA, the North Side Civic Development Council, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Western PA, and the Pittsburgh Society of Association Executives (PSAE). He has served as president of the PSAE and received the Joe Gilbert Outstanding Association Executive Award from the organization.
    Mr. Krah and his wife, Nancy, reside in Upper St. Clair and have two adult daughters.
    The ACMS represents physicians from all specialties and is dedicated to providing leadership and advocacy for patients and physicians. The organization has been serving Allegheny County since 1865. 

  • February 06, 2017 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    Here's a handy, quick guide to all the activities happening in Pittsburgh during the month of March 2017. 

    2017 03 Whats Happening.pdf

  • January 30, 2017 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    Using Mirror Surveys to Increase Board Awareness and Staff Effectiveness


    Larry J. Seibert, Ph.D.

    How often have you heard a Board member decry member surveys?  “We don’t need to waste our time and money on another member survey, we know what our members want.  We hear from them all the time.”  Sometimes the most vocal members represent the majority of members, but often times they do not.

    Mirror surveys can be administered to Board members to show them where they are in synch with the membership and where they are not. 

    Mirror surveys can also be administered to the staff to show them how well they understand the quality and value of the services they provide to members.  It is well documented in the service quality literature that service providers who understand their customers/members are much more effective in delivering high quality service. 

    A mirror survey is administered to Board members and staff, and is similar to a member survey.  In both surveys, participants are asked to provide overall ratings for the products, services and experiences the association provides its members (e.g. member benefits, publications, continuing education, advocacy, conferences, website, member services, etc).  But, while members are asked to rate each of these offerings in the member survey, the mirror survey asks Board members and staff to rate these same offerings in the way they think members will rate them.

    The mirror survey is administered at the same time as a member survey and requires that the Board and staff put themselves in the shoes of the membership.  It is easy for the Board or the staff to see the results of a completed member survey and say “I knew that”, but it is quite different for them to accurately predict in advance what members will say.

    When the results of the member survey and the mirror survey are compared to each other, a simple gap analysis will show where there are significant differences between the two ratings.  We recommend that ratings be summarized and compared as top 2 ratings, rather than as average ratings.

    There are several benefits associated with mirror surveys.  First, it forces the Board and staff to critically assess the offerings of the association from the perspective of the membership.  In our experience, the first time a mirror survey is conducted, the Board and staff will typically overestimate the ratings given to the association’s products and services, such as member benefits, continuing education, website, publications, advocacy, etc.  That is, they believe the association’s offerings are better than what members are saying.  It can sometimes be a wake up call when you realize that members don’t think as highly of what you offer as you think they do. 

    On the flip side, the Board and staff will usually underestimate the ratings given to the performance of the Board and staff.  We believe the reason that the Board and staff underestimate their impact on members is because of the number of problem calls and complaints that they hear from members.  Most of what they hear first hand can be disproportionately negative.  Once they realize that they are more appreciated than they thought, the result is generally a boost in morale.

    Perhaps the most important reason for conducting mirror surveys is that over time, members’ ratings of association-provided products and services will usually increase.  We believe this gradual increase in ratings is related to the staff consciously thinking about how their interactions with members impact members’ perceptions of their service, and then providing a higher level of service.

    Board members and staff are usually anxious to see the results of their mirror survey and how well they predicted members’ ratings.  These surveys can be fun and challenging, while helping to increase the Board’s awareness of members’ opinions and the staff’s effectiveness in dealing with members.


    About the Author

    Larry J. Seibert, Ph.D. is the President/CEO of Association Metrics, a research and consulting firm that specializes in voice-of-the-member association research for strategic planning.  He can be reached at larry@associationmetrics.com or by phone at 317-840-2303.


  • November 15, 2016 4:22 PM | Anonymous

    Here's a handy, quick guide to all the activities happening in Pittsburgh during the month of December, 2016. 

    2016 12 Whats Happening.pdf

  • September 25, 2016 3:41 PM | Anonymous

    Thank you for the opportunity to serve as the 44th President of the Pittsburgh Society of Association Executives.

    When I was first starting out, PSAE was my first exposure to the world of associations beyond my own organization. The education, experience and network of dedicated professionals I have gained through PSAE are invaluable to me. PSAE is our community, a place where we share ideas, learn from each other and grow together as professionals.

    Each year, PSAE provides outstanding professional development opportunities, from our annual Master's Conference to our luncheon programs. We cover a host of topics -- from functional areas to current events and issues of interest. More details about this year’s events will be provided shortly. Please mark your calendar for these dates and watch your e-mail and PSAE.org for details.

    2016-2017 Event & Meeting Dates



    September 9
    October 7
    November 4
    December 2

    February 3
    March 10 (Master’s Conference)
    April 7
    May 5

    To help grow our community, I encourage you to invite your colleagues to PSAE events and share what you gain from PSAE with your networks.

    Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at this year’s events.

    Jim Ireland

  • April 27, 2016 8:27 PM | Anonymous

    Noun:  A person who takes advantage of others' generosity without giving anything in return.

    In economics, the free rider problem is described as a situation where some individuals in a population either consume more than their fair share of a common resource, or pay less than their fair share of the cost of a common resource.
    In membership organizations working to advance or protect a profession, community or cause, a free rider benefits from the organization’s work but makes no investment in dues or volunteering. 


    Free riders have a host of reasons why they don’t join their professional, trade or community organization.  

    “Why join when I can find everything I need on the internet?” “You’ll lobby for me whether I join or not.” “If I want to attend I’ll just pay the non-member price one time.”

    The problem is so prevalent that boards of directors have simply accepted the fact that free riders will never change --- no matter how valuable the work of the organization.  

    The Gift

    What they refuse to acknowledge is that the rights to belong or associate should be seen as a gift. Around the globe, the majority of countries have no rights to freely convene, speak openly and to lobby government. In the USA these privileges are afforded in the Constitution -- and we have a responsibility to exercise them with care and understanding.  

    Beyond freedom to assemble, free speech and the right to petition government, there are other laws supporting the purpose for associations and chambers, they include:

    •    Exemption from federal income tax
    •    Volunteer immunity
    •    Deductions for charitable giving

    The opportunity to join and lead a nonprofit organization is a right that should not be taken for granted.


    Maybe President Teddy Roosevelt said it best, “Every man owes a part of his time and money to the business or industry in which he is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”

    In every case, a strong membership yields the best results. The purchasing power and political clout are enhanced if all potential members are represented. 

    Improving Communities

    It is said that associations and chambers of commerce do what regular people think “just happens.” A few examples include standards of excellence, favorable public policy, scholarships and community festivals. Little thought is given to the work of the Rotary Club for example, or the festival that increases tourism planned by the chamber, or the standards of safety proposed by an association.

    Behind the scenes of improvement is a cadre of volunteers and staff, strategy and resources to get the job done. I’ve never met an exempt, nonprofit organization that was not working to improve communities – whether they be a community of professionals, trades, causes or geographic region. 

    Financial Stability

    It would be inaccurate for free riders, or the public, to think these private sector organizations receive government funding. They diligently raise funds through programs and membership.

    Most associations and chambers rely on two broad streams of income. The funds raised through membership investments, and events and education, are used to improve the community, profession or trade. 

    If 100 percent of the potential members joined the organization the costs would be shared equally. But free riders refuse to lend support leaving the burden on those who are committed to protecting and advancing their organization and community.  In other words, the smaller the membership market share of potential members, the greater the burden for those who support organization.


    Free riders benefit from their colleagues who voluntarily work in the organization.   The free riders give up their rights and responsibility to shape the future of their community through leadership. 

    The opposite of a free rider would be a shaper - a person committing their personal time and resources to ensure a healthy and vibrant community. The shapers occupy seats on committees and the board of directors.

    In closing, the right to associate to advance and protect a community is a gift somewhat unique to western countries. Those who withhold their support can weaken its impact. 

    # # #

    Note:  Bob Harris, CAE, provides free governance tips and templates at www.nonprofitcenter.com.

  • October 23, 2014 11:40 AM | Anonymous

    PITTSBURGH – Say what? Pittsburgh is the most livable city in the Continental United States? Again? Are you serious? Yes indeed! Serious as Steeler's Nation.

    The Economist Intelligence Unit’s livability survey ranks Pittsburgh as the most livable location in the Continental U.S. (Only Honolulu ranks higher.)

    According to The Economist, the concept of livability is simple. “It assesses which locations around the world provide the best or the worst living conditions.” Worldwide, Pittsburgh ranks No. 30 out of 140 cities surveyed.

    On a scale of 1-100, with 100 being considered “ideal,” Pittsburgh ranks as follows:

    Stability rating: 85
    Healthcare: 92
    Culture & Environment: 91
    Education: 100
    Infrastructure: 100

    The study ascertains that those cities scoring best “tend to be mid-sized cities in wealthier countries with a relatively low population density. This can foster a range of recreational activities without leading to high crime levels or overburdened infrastructure.”In the same study published in 2009, Pittsburgh ranked as the most livable city in the United States.

    “It’s great to celebrate the accolades that were made possible through the spirit of innovation here, fueled by the passion of Pittsburgh residents and decision makers,” said Craig Davis, president and CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH. “This city has come far because of the determination of collaboration and of perseverance. There’s been a conscious effort to invest in arts, culture and the environment as an economic development strategy. And, that has paid off nicely.”

    “Coupled with the tremendous work ethic and pride of our people, and our topography, we truly have become a great place to live and a mighty beautiful destination,” Davis continued.

    The Economist ranking comes on the heels of the Travel Channel naming Pittsburgh as one of the “Best All-American Vacations” for 2014.

    The U.S. Livable City List (with World Ranking out of 140 cities surveyed):

    Honolulu (26)
    Pittsburgh (30)
    Washington, D.C. (34)
    Chicago (36)
    Atlanta (36)
    Miami (36)
    Detroit (39)
    Boston (40)
    Seattle (41)
    Minneapolis (42)
    Los Angeles (42)
    Cleveland (45)
    Houston (46)
    San Francisco (52)
    New York (56)
    Lexington (59)

    Other Pittsburgh accolades include:
    -    Jetsetter.com chose Pittsburgh as one of the “best world-wide destinations” in 2013.
    -    Selected by National Geographic Traveler as “one of the best places in the world to visit in 2012.
    -    The Huffington Post named city “one of the 40 prettiest cities in the world.”
    -    Named “America’s Most Livable City” by Forbes magazine in 2010.
    -    ForbesTraveler.com voted Pittsburgh as one of “the world’s most stunning skylines.”

    VisitPITTSBURGH is the official tourism marketing and promotion agency of the Pittsburgh region. It is dedicated to generating convention, trade show and leisure travel business for the Pittsburgh region.

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