ALA Masters Series - Sessions & Presenters

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January 22, 2021

Change Leadership through Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is instrumental in any organization's long-term growth and success. DEI impact and need are more significant than just business outcomes; it's human at the core. Organizations that succeed will understand, learn, and adapt to the change occurring in our society.  Leaders need to be equipped to understand DEI, the role they play, and how to lead others through organizational changes around DEI. This session will aid participants in their DEI journey to lead positive change in their organizations.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes:

  • Understand critical elements of DEI, including unconscious bias, privilege, and institutional discrimination.
  • Develop practices to self-assessment and long-term individual learning around DEI
  • Evaluate their own organization's current DEI efforts to initiate change
  • Establish a plan to implement change within their organization

Trevor S. Mitchell, MBA, CAE, CDP is the Executive Director/CEO of American Mensa, Ltd. and the Mensa Foundation, Trevor provides leadership toward the achievement of the organization's mission, vision, strategy, and annual goals and objectives. Trevor works with both boards in developing strategies that support the mission, developing and implementing the strategic goals and objectives of American Mensa, and enabling the board to fulfill its governance function effectively. Trevor has been involved in association management for over 15 years and has contributed to the profession through speaking, writing, and volunteering. Trevor recently earned his Certified Diversity Professional designation from the National Diversity Council.

February 26, 2021

Organizational Strategy: A Journey To Sustained Success

To say that the year 2020 was challenging is certainly an understatement. While last year was challenging, it also reminded us of the importance of having clear organizational strategy. Defining, setting, and implementing good strategy is essential for sustained organizational success. This interactive session explores organizational strategy through case studies, examples, and implementable tools.

Responding to the challenges and opportunities of 2020 affected how many boards of directors operate, and board operations will need to evolve to meet current and future organizational needs. This evolution includes redefining effective decision making; ensuring a shared understanding of the definition of success; faster strategy execution; greater understanding of the digital landscape; and a commitment to entrepreneurial innovation. Highly effective boards will embrace their role as a think tank; ensure foresight; collaboratively lead in partnership with staff; and build a culture of optimism and gratitude.

Gabriel Eckert, FASAE CAE serves as chief executive officer of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Georgia and BOMA Georgia Foundation. He is also an ASAE Fellow, a past chair of the CAE Commission, and a past chair of the Georgia Society of Association Executives Foundation. He has been named one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Metro Atlanta, and as one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Association Management by USAE and the Association Forum of Chicagoland. Gabriel is also a nationally recognized strategic planning facilitator, consultant, speaker and executive coach. He is a co-author of two books published by ASAE: “From Insight to Action: 6 New Ways to Think, Lead and Achieve” and “Strategic Integration: Tips, Tools, and Techniques to Move Beyond Strategic Planning and Transform Your Organization.”

March 12, 2021

Legal/HR Matters Impacting Associations

During this session, we'll be talking about the legal questions that can get associations into trouble if not handled properly. Fiduciary duty and board governance issues are always top of mind. This interactive session will present the group with real life scenarios ripped from the headlines and will ask for input from the class on how to proceed! The session is a great opportunity to enhance your legal knowledge in order to better protect your association from legal challenges.

Thomas Simcoe, Esq., Member
Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC

A 2014-2016 Upstate New York Super Lawyers Rising Star, Tom is an experienced tax attorney in the tax exempt organizations practice group of Bond Schoeneck & King, one New York State’s oldest and largest firms.  Counseling organizations from all corners of the nonprofit sector, Tom helps nonprofit boards and professional leadership navigate the vast array corporate and tax issues that they encounter every day.  Passionate about the nonprofit sector, Tom has also been an active board leader, currently serving as Chairperson of the Board of the Albany Collegiate Inter-Faith Center.  Tom holds a Masters of Law in Taxation from New York University Law School and is an Albany Law School graduate. 
[email protected] |

Delaney Knapp, Associate
Bond, Schoeneck, and King, PLLC

Delaney focuses her practice on assisting for-profit entities and non-profit organizations to meet their business goals and charitable and philanthropic missions. Delaney drafts organizational documents for clients related to entity formation and governance, reviews contracts and agreements, and prepares documents relating to mergers and acquisitions. 

Specific to the non-profit sector, Delaney has experience drafting bylaws, conflict of interest, whistleblower and investment policies. She advises clients on board governance matters and questions of NYPMIFA (New York Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act) compliance, and also works with clients to obtain and maintain recognition of tax-exempt status. Delaney assists in client representation before the New York State Charities Bureau and New York State Attorney General’s office, with respect to cy pres court filings and entity dissolutions. With a related practice in trusts and estates, she is able to further counsel non-profit clients in matters related to charitable gift agreements. 

April 16, 2021

Governance for the Times

We may live in unusual times, but the basics of good governance have never been more important. Associations are living or folding because of it. CEOs are thriving or losing jobs because of it. Join us for an interactive 3 hours to talk about how leadership presence, governance dynamics, organizational structure, role clarification, leadership nuances, and much more can either make or break our strategy, implementation, and careers. Values are at the heart of whether our culture, mission, & strategy can live. Relationships are at the core of everything from robust strategic conversations to hearing each other at review time and negotiating or renegotiating contracts.

You’ll hear some wild stories from our facilitators and participants, laugh at the absurdity of what we try to lead at times, engage around provocative scenarios, and come away reminded why putting effort into governance is so worth it to do this work that we all love, as we try to make the world a better place. 


  • Consider the role of effective governance in the times in which we are called to lead.
  • Learn from others’ experiences of what worked and how to avoid catastrophes that no one needs to repeat.
  • Engage in thoughtful deliberations about partnering with boards to achieve extraordinary results & innovation
  • Experience a safe place to talk about one of the most challenging parts of leading an association

Cynthia Mills founded The Leaders’ Haven™ to help leaders & teams go beyond business as usual & continuously transform, so they can fulfill their true calling & exceed the expectations of the people they serve.™ With over 20 years as an association CEO leading 501(c)3, 4, and 6 international, national, and regional organizations; Cynthia has a breadth of understanding of the association profession that includes running for-profit subsidiaries, national and state PACs, foundations, insurance entities, and credentialing bodies.

Nicknamed “The Board Whisperer™” & "Chief Experience Weaver™" by clients, Cynthia relishes transformational journeys and loves that moment when everyone sees the potential and commits to going after it! Cynthia shares her insights through The Leaders View online TV show and is a best-selling author, an ASAE Fellow & Academy of Leaders Awardee, a former ASAE executive committee member & a GSAE past president.

Donté P. Shannon, FASAE, CAE
Donté, is the CEO of the Association for Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP), a national trade association, globally servicing heavy equipment managers through education, training, certification and industry standardization. He is also an Account Executive with AMPED Association Management. Prior to his current role, Donte served as Executive Director/CEO of the Specialty Advertising Association of California, a state-based trade association servicing promotional product professionals.

Donté is a highly recognized influencer in the association community, having presented over 20 association management presentations, ranging in topics from strategic leadership and organization rebranding, to career development. Additionally, he has been featured in, and co-authored, numerous articles related to association management. A
devoted professional, Donte recently served as Chair of the CAE Commission, the governing body of the CAE credential, previously served as Chair of the ASAE CEO Job Analysis Task Force, and contributes his expertise as a member of for-profit and nonprofit Boards and Councils. His career highlights include being selected as a 2020 digital Now Leader of Distinction, a 2020 ASAE Fellow, and a 2011-2013 Diversity Education Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar.

Donte is a strong advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion and enjoys giving back to the various communities and industries he touches. Donte earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from the College of Charleston in 2003 and received the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential in 2015.

May 14, 2021


Within the Academy registration process, you will be asked to select which topic/theme you would like to see featured for the fifth and final session in the leadership series. As part of the "pick your own adventure" session, participants will be required to meet periodically with 2-3 other leadership attendees to discuss their issue/topic and will have 30 minutes to present their findings (along with a session facilitator) to the group during May's session.

To create a shared experience, where getting uncomfortable lends itself to real learning, we will be asking this year’s Master Class to present in small groups during the final session in the series.

In groups of 2-3 people, participants will design their own presentation based on the CAE domains selected. To prepare, groups will need to meet several times between January and May, which may be done using video conferencing or in-person assuming local health guidelines and participant comfort level allows.

What is the end result? This depends on how you and your team approach the project.

Perhaps you’ll create something new that can be used as a tool for your colleagues. Teams may wish to use examples from within or outside their own associations or create a case study for the domain/topic. Discuss outcomes and how you might have changed to improve the end result. Or how might this topic/theme change in the future, impact association leadership, impacts felt due to COVID, etc.? What does this mean for the future of your association and/or perhaps the future of associations in general?

To view the full CAE Domain list, including sub-domains, download the CAE Exam Content Outline (PDF).

NOTE:  After submitting your ALA Registration, you will receive an email confirmation with a SurveyMonkey link to select your top three (3) choices from a list of CAE Domains. Registrants will be required to rank the CAE Domains in order of preference, how they resonate with you, and/or relevance to you and your organization.

More information on this project will be shared at the opening session.

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