Pittsburgh Society of 
Association Executives


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  • August 28, 2020 1:51 PM | Lisa Moses (Administrator)

    The Pittsburgh Society of Association Executives is incredibly sad to announce the passing of Nicholas G. Stratigos, our long-time mentor, colleague, and friend.  PSAE would like to honor Nick’s memory of a life well lived and publicly acknowledge his never-ending service toward his many passions, in particular, the PSAE community and the entire Pittsburgh association-related industry that he touched, lead, and navigated daily.

    Nick was a Certified Association Executive (CAE), and a member of PSAE for more than 20 years, serving twice as our President, Treasurer a multitude of times, and other Board positions throughout his tenure with PSAE.  He was the recipient of our prestigious Joe Gilbert Outstanding Association Executive Award, only one small achievement bestowed upon him during his lifetime. 

    Immense respect for Nick’s range of knowledge, mentorship, and breadth of activities contributes to his leadership legacy within the Pittsburgh association ecosystem.  In addition to his volunteer work at PSAE, Nick was also President of the Better Investing Pittsburgh Chapter, Board Member for the Miracle League of Southwestern PA, dedicated theatre group actor and voice talent, and a passionate Pittsburgh Penguins hockey fan.  He was educated at Duquesne University and Carnegie Mellon University, where he began his career as business manager for his alma mater.  Afterwards, Nick held many leadership positions with the Iron and Steel Society, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Printing Industries of America, and PRINTING United Alliance.  

    Our community sends our prayers and support to the main passion of Nick’s life, his family.  Our condolences are extended to his wife Cindy and his three children Melina, Lizzy, and Erik as they deal with the staggering loss of this remarkable man.  Help PSAE to honor a life well lived by posting your memories and encounters with Nick using the comment option below or on his personal Facebook page.  Rest in Peace dear friend. 

    On behalf of the entire PSAE Community,

    Beth A. Kassalen, MBA

    PSAE President 2020-2021

  • December 05, 2019 5:54 PM | Lisa Moses (Administrator)

    Thank you to the DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh - Green Tree for generously hosting our 2019 holiday party!

    Thanks also to everyone who donated our fabulous auction prizes:

    • American Society of Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine
    • Association for Iron & Steel Technology
    • Gateway Clipper Fleet
    • Hospice & Palliative Nurses Association
    • Hyatt Regency Pittsburgh International Airport
    • Kassalen Meetings & Events
    • Kimpton Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh
    • Omni Bedford Springs Resort & Spa
    • Omni William Penn Hotel
    • Pittsburgh Airport Marriott
    • Pittsburgh Marriott City Center
    • Pittsburgh Transportation Group
    • Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square
    • The Three Rivers Group at Morgan Stanley
    • VisitPittsburgh

    And of course, thanks to all who attended and purchased auction tickets!

  • August 19, 2019 3:30 PM | Lisa Moses (Administrator)

    Fall 2019

    Many of us “fell” into association management. We didn’t necessarily grow up dreaming of being an association executive, certification professional, membership manager, or continuing education director. But you know what? We all have exciting careers that influence and share the industries we serve and ultimately the world. It can really be inspiring to consider the impact our organizations have made in transportation, housing, healthcare, economic development, and the environment.

    ASAE and PSAE will be considering this as we celebrate the centennial of ASAE. We will be looking at how associations build a stronger economy, enhance job skills, improve systems and structures, and strengthen lives through volunteerism. We will be celebrating our past and re-envisioning our future as the ASAE Foundation, through the Power of A campaign, starts to pull together incredible research about the value of associations. I will be sure to keep you updated as this information is released!

    But PSAE is not waiting for this research. We are gearing up for another great year with PSAE, and I am inviting each of you to become involved. The PSAE Board met recently and were so enthusiastic about making this year the best year yet as we celebrate, educate, inform, and network with our peers and colleagues.

    We are looking specifically for some individuals who are willing to do this with us.

    We recognize that the future of our profession is with our newer colleagues. We are launching a Young Professionals Committee to help the PSAE Board develop programs, advise the Board on issues faced by Young Professionals, and help us recruit and engage their peers in PSAE. If you are interested, please contact Lisa Ashbaugh.

    We are also looking for volunteers who can share the exciting work that you are doing! Specifically if you are having great success in using AI or augmented reality, creating new educational models at meetings (getting away from the podium and slide deck), or building new corporate partners or individual donors and are willing to share your experiences with your PSAE colleagues, please contact Beth Kassalen.

    Finally, we are looking for tech savvy communications individuals who would be willing to produce a PSAE podcast. If this is a skill you would like to build, we would love to hear from you! You can contact me at astengel@asra.com.

    The PSAE Board and I are excited about the coming year and look forward to working with you to make this a year in which we grow professionally and celebrate what we do!

    Angie Stengel   

    2019-2020 President


  • June 15, 2018 4:22 PM | Lisa Moses (Administrator)

    Thank you to the DoubleTree - Cranberry for hosting our June 14, 2018 PSAE Board meeting, education program, and summer social! PSAE appreciates the outstanding hospitality that was extended to our Board and attendees!

  • 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.

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