By Elyssa Conley
I had the opportunity to attend the New England Society of Association Executives NESAE 2017 Technology Conference Sessions at Aloft Boston. NESAE offers innovative educational programs with excellent speakers and networking opportunities. This is a very exciting conference and I was eager to learn about more about NESAE, new technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
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NESAE members are involved in the management of professional association groups as well as various industry vendors. Members make up all types of association groups including CEOs, Real Estate Valuation, Meeting Planners, and many more industries. NESAE also provides learning and networking opportunities to their members.
The general session of the NESAE 2017 Technology Conference was The Human Face of Technological Disruption. This was an amazing look at the fast pace at which AI has moved into many industries. AI has come close to achieve qualities that are more similar to humans than I thought possible. Traits like creativity. Machines with feelings, see Sophia Robot. Robots with the ability to learn and build on knowledge have become a reality. We also learned about IBM’s Watson. Watson is taking over some white collar jobs abroad. After Shelly Alcorn shared some of these latest advances and how it most likely will affect many industries, she ended the talk on a positive note. She stressed the importance of ethics and compassion. Our society has become more divided and has moved towards degrading people with opposing views. Empathy will be even more important in the future. I was fascinated.
These ideas were very interesting to me. I was curious what some of the NESAE members thought of the presentation. It was time to chat with a few people about the General Session of the NESAE 2017 Technology Conference. I asked members if they were aware of these advances. Were they concerned that AI would have an impact on their industry, and whether they agree that ethics would become more important to help prevent job loss in some industries. The answers were noteworthy.
I spoke with five people. Four of them were not aware of the advancements in AI discussed in the presentation, but they were interested in learning more about AI. Most members were not too concerned that AI would affect their industry. Everyone agreed on the importance of ethics in business as well as in their association groups.
Stephen who is in real estate valuation was aware of the advances of AI. He is concerned about his industry because of the rapid improvements in the accuracy of AI property assessment. Stephen plans to get the word out to the members of his association group.
NESAE 2017 Technology Conference
After some interesting discussions with NESAE members about AI, I attended the Breakout Session Tech Talk-How Do You Do That?, which covered the topics of Social Media, Data Collection & Analytics, Time Saving Tools & Apps and Mobile Apps. These sessions were set up similar to group speed dating. Attendees had the opportunity to sit in small groups at a round table for 20 minutes. When the time was up, the members were alerted that they could move on to the next table for a discussion on one of the other topics. The discussions went on until lunch time.
We paused for lunch, which was a fabulous feast stationed by Aloft’s on-site catering. There was a wonderful make your own salad bar with mixed greens and included various tasty toppings, as well as grilled chicken and salmon filets. There was a assortment mini desserts which was a sweet transition into the afternoon sessions.
Following lunch, I attended another Breakout Session. on Taming the Email Beast- Key Strategies for Managing E-mail Overload & Efficiency by Randy Dean. Randy was a very dynamic speaker with a number of tips and tricks to organize your email quickly and efficiently. We left ready to get our email organized.
Association Management Tools
There was a concurrent session on Leveraging Your AMS – Strategies Your Team Can Apply Tomorrow which sounded very informative for people who use association management software. This session was also well attended.
I was unable to stay for the full day of the event, but highlights of the conference included, AMS Showcase (Live Demos), Supercharge Small Group Meetings with New Cloud-based Tools and What If? The Benefits of Being Data Curious which was followed by the “Skip the Rush Hour” Reception. This was a full and informative list of programs for people in association management.
Covering NESAE 2017 Technology Conference Sessions was a great team effort. David covered the morning sessions then Lauren came in to take over for the afternoon programs so that David could meet with another client. Juggling multiple events is what we do. That is why we have a great, reliable team in place at David Fox, Photographer.
This was a richly informative event. I learned a lot about the New England Society of Association Executives, some of the challenges they face, and how they work together to learn and grow. I look forward to next year’s technology conference.