I just returned from the ASAE Annual Meeting in St. Louis, and wanted to share some quick thoughts on the event.

  • The opening reception was held under the Arch, and it was great. But MAN, we could have used some air conditioning! It was hot and HUMID!
  • The opening general session featured some individual awards and a keynote by Tina Brown of the Daily Beast/Newsweek. The acceptance  speeches from Jodie Slaughter and Matthew Gertzog were just great. Jodie’s was heartfelt and touching, and Matthew’s was downright hilarious. By contrast, Tina Brown was dreadful. A 20 minute informercial on her website (which she had trouble navigating) and a far-too-long bio (which I could have read just as easily), with absolutely NO ATTEMPT made to find RELEVANCE to the audience. Truly the most pathetic keynote I’ve ever witnessed.
  • By contrast, I’m told that the closing session from Peter Sheahan received a well-deserved standing ovation. I’m sorry I missed it.
  • The few sessions I attended were good. I heard anecdotally from most attendees that the sessions they attended were very good. Didn’t hear once about any truly bad educational sessions. My favorite session was from David Nour, who very bluntly challenged the association execs in the room to think differently about how they run their associations and how social media and social relationships will impact the future of associations.
  • While I’m not a social-media evangelist, I very much enjoyed the #asae11 twitter-stream. It’s a nice way to get a pulse for how attendees are feeling, especially during general sessions. (Hint: It was COLD in the room and Tina Brown was losing most attendees.)

If you’ve never been to an ASAE Annual Meeting, do what you can to budget the time and money required for 2012. There’s simply no better single gathering place for like-minded people.