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Spring Symposium: In a word, “networking…”

June 1, 2018
Last week, more than 160 fraternal professionals – from CEOs to asset managers, and community service directors to actuaries – met in Chicago for the Alliance’s second “Spring Symposium.” The Symposium was created to consolidate the Alliance’s vast array of former “Section” meetings under one roof, in an effort to make it easier and more cost-effective to members to attend, and to generate some synergy among practitioners of the various disciplines within a fraternal. By all accounts, the program concept, content, and format work well for both members and associate members. The most valuable component of the Symposium according to those evaluations?  Networking. While many attendees gave high marks to certain speakers and panel presentations, the overwhelming number of attendees from both large and small societies cited personal connections as the greatest takeaway from the conference. Here’s a sample of some of their comments:
  • “Networking.” (mentioned on no less than 75% of evaluations)
  • “Seeing my counterparts.”
  • “Sharing ideas.”
  • “Meeting others who do similar work.”
  • “Talking to people from other societies.”
  • “Connecting with others who work in my specialty.”
  • “Learning about others’ success stories and how I can bring them back to my society.”
Based on the feedback we received – both anecdotal and through the evaluations submitted by participants – the Symposium will be a cornerstone of the Alliance’s 2019 educational program line-up. The various education tracks may be changed to focus on more fraternal-specific functions – governance, for instance. But the notion of bringing fraternal professionals together from a wide variety of societies – to connect people in a very real and face-to-face manner – is compelling and will remain a key mission of the Alliance as we move to our new business model next year. To see photos from the Spring Symposium, click here. To see Questions & Answer interviews between me and the Symposium Education sponsors, click here. Next up – American Fraternal Alliance Annual Meeting, September 5-7, 2018, in Minneapolis.  Registration is open – click here.