My First (Association) Conference

Alex Mastrianni

As a new employee to Informz and new to the association industry, I was eager to attend my first conference as the face behind the newsletter of Informz, The Informal. I got the chance last week when I went to my first association conference – the New England Society for Association Executives (NE/SAE) Annual Meeting – in the resort town of Stowe, Vermont. Here are the details of my short yet exciting trip…

After arriving in Stowe after a four hour-long drive through the winding back country roads of Saratoga Springs through Vermont, I was greeted by the inviting Stowe Mountain Lodge – a vast ski lodge settled at the foot of Stowe Mountain. The view of the colossal mountains in the background made me immediately wish for winter so I could cozy up to the fire pit on the back patio of the resort.

The event kicked off that evening with a lively reception at the conference center. After mingling and networking with the association executives and other exhibitors, we sat down for a live auction of hotel stays and getaways throughout the Northeast. Alas, I did not win any of these deals, but I did get inspired to take an overnight trip sometime very soon!

The next day’s activities included a breakfast hosted by NE/SAE, followed by an opening session on the themes and proposals that resulted from hundreds of hours the presenter, Shelly Alcorn of Alcorn Associates, spent interviewing association executives. One intriguing quote that she shared referenced an aid of John F. Kennedy’s back in the 1960’s, who said that if the Whitehouse itself happened to be destroyed, the country would be just fine being run by associations—mainly because associations do such a good job of regulating themselves. An interesting concept to think about!

Overall, after speaking with the association executives and other members at the NE/SAE Annual meeting, my experience was a very positive one. Everyone I encountered was extremely friendly and eager to discuss Informz and email marketing, Stowe and the venue, and even just to chat about the events of the day. Leaving the conference to travel back through the picturesque scenes of Vermont, I felt elated having met such pleasant people, and satisfied to have had my first conference be such an encouraging, optimistic experience. I am looking forward to my next conference!