Our Harvest Highlight is where Association Professionals and Business Partners can gather to reap the benefits of colleagues willing to share many years of ideas, insights and experience. Join your colleagues for a full day of discussion and walk away with ideas to take your business to the next level! 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Saratoga Casino & Hotel
342 Jefferson Street
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Overnight rooms are available at the Saratoga Casino & Hotel for the discounted rate of $124 (Monday, October 7). Harvest Highlight attendees who need overnight accommodations should contact the hotel's reservation's department at 518-682-8888 no later than Tuesday, September 24, 2019 (the cut-off date). Please identify yourself as part of ESSAE's Harvest Highlight when making your reservation. An online reservation link and group code will be provided soon! 

Registration to open Monday, August 19! 

Agenda | Session Descriptions | Speaker BiosSponsors Event Fees and Policies 

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Featured Keynote Speaker

Jennifer L. Bashant, Ph.D., LMSW, MA
CEO, Building Better Futures, LLC
International Speaker Specializing in Improving Culture and Connection through Social Emotional Learning & Resilience

Keynote sponsored by: Albany Capital Center

Building a Culture of Connection in a World of Disconnection

A lack of CONNECTION, with oneself, with one's purpose, and with others, is at the root of most problems bubbling up in today's workforce. When we lose the connection to ourselves, it becomes difficult to be authentic and follow our passions. When we are disconnected from colleagues and working in silos, we lose the creative potential that comes from collaboration and employees are often left feeling isolated, anxious and overwhelmed.

At a time where people are glued to their smartphones and distracted by the constant stream of information and emails, it has become more and more difficult to create healthy work boundaries and to be fully present in conversations. Our culture also values working long hours and pushing through fatigue and overwhelm rather than rest and self-care.

In order to establish a work culture that maximizes the potential of every employee, we must find creative ways to foster connection. In order to feel connected at work, we must create cultures in which employees are willing to:

  • Be authentic and vulnerable
  • Take risks and make mistakes
  • Be fully present and consciously aware of their own thoughts and feelings, as well as the thoughts and feelings of others

This presentation will discuss how mindfulness and deliberately focusing on improving emotional intelligence lead to a more connected work culture in which people feel seen, heard and valued.


We LOVE our event partners! Special Thank You to: 

Host & Event Partner: Saratoga Casino Hotel
Keynote: Albany Capital Center
Lunch: Destination Niagara USA
Breakfast: Sponsorship Still Available!
Audio/Visual: CMIAV
Coffee Break: Visit Rochester
Breakout Sessions: Visit Buffalo Niagara & Partners!
Event App: MapDynamics


Program Agenda 

Agenda is subject to change

8:00 AM - Registration Opens / Breakfast

8:45 to 10:00 AM - Welcome Remarks and Keynote Address 
Building a Culture of Connection in a World of Disconnection

10:15 to 11:15 AM - Concurrent Sessions

11:30 AM to 12:30 PM - Concurrent Sessions

12:30 to 2:00 PM - Networking Lunch

Session Descriptions

Tech Tips & Tricks: Become Immediately More Productive So You Can Still Make Happy Hour!
Presenter: Mike Pennington, CAE, Novi AMS Evangelist 

As association staffs continue to get stretched thin, piling on more hats, and juggling additional responsibilities, it's more important than ever to work smarter, not harder.  Thankfully, there are some helpful "freemium", low-cost, and game-changing solutions out there to make your job easier.  This session will cover some helpful tools that can automate your work day and make connecting online easier.

  • This session is for anyone in the association field that wants to learn about ways to be more efficient in the office. 
  • Work-life balance has gotten more and more difficult in our connected age.  Working more efficiently means we can be done at 5:00 and still make it to Happy Hour!
  • Learn how to overcome barriers to embracing new technologies
  • Learn about 20+ tech tools you should be considering
  • See a real-world example of the impact automation can make

Smart Business Solutions to Engage, Attract, and Retain Millennial & Gen Z Talent
Presenter: Ashira Prossack, Millennial & Gen Z Engagement Expert

Millennials and Gen Z currently make up the majority of the workforce. Although these generations are frequently grouped together, they are some distinct differences between them. This session will explore both the similarities and differences between these generations and provide insights into how organizations can tap into Millennial and Gen Z employees’ full potential.

You’ll learn strategies to best manage Millennials and Gen Z, what works and what doesn’t when it comes to employee engagement, and secrets to attract and retain next generation talent. We’ll also explore high impact, low cost strategies that you can implement immediately to boost employee morale, engagement, and retention.

Key takeaways:

  • Understand what sets Gen Z apart from Millennials
  • Best practices to attract and engage Millennials & Gen Z
  • The 2 things you absolutely must do to retain Millennial & Gen Z
  • Learn what attracts Millennials & Gen Z to a workplace
  • How to make small changes with big impact - on a budget!

5 New Idea$:  Not Your Grandma's Non-Dues Revenue
Presenter: Teri Carden, Founder & CEO, 100Reviews

While average associations get the biggest chunk of annual revenues from membership dues, reliance on dues revenue is waning.  According to the last ASAE Foundation's Association Operation Ratio Report, over the last 65 years the percentage of association revenue from dues has plummeted from 95.7% to 45.4% for trade associations and 30% for professional societies. 

To continue to effectively fund operations while holding dues increases at bay, many organizations are focused on driving non-dues revenue.  But we can't depend on our members to be satisfied with the same-old-same-old concepts.  At the same time, millennials are taking over workplace buying decisions, and have new expectations about engaging with the organizations they work with.  Plus, your sponsors and advertisers demand fresh opportunities that will keep them digging in their pockets to support your association.

This session explores 5 unique ideas that will inspire you to implement innovative non-dues revenue campaigns.  There's untapped and unexpected value right at your fingertips.  Join this session and we will share the po$$ibilities.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Obtain a clear understanding of why organizations should keep reinventing non-dues revenue opportunities
  • Articulate the business case and strategies for implementing the five non-dues revenue concepts
  • Gain insights from organizations already earning revenue using these new concepts.

Mindful Workplaces: Improve Relationships, Morale and Job Effectiveness
Presenter: Jennifer Bashant, CEO, Building Better Futures, LLC

Mindfulness is a practice that can have many positive effects on employees in the workplace. The benefits of being more mindful, or present in a given moment, include a reduction in stress, the ability to pause and think before responding, and overall feelings of gratitude and well-being. Beginning a personal mindfulness practice, and learning how to be more mindful at work helps to foster empathy, self-awareness and an increased ability to focus and pay attention.

During this sessions, participants will learn:

  • How mindfulness changes the shape and the wiring of the brain which leads to more adaptive responses to stressful situations
  • Mindfulness practices that can easily be incorporated throughout the work day
  • How to develop a positive, supportive work culture where employees are happier, healthier and more engaged

rEvolutionary Governance
Presenter: Jeff Arnold, MAM, CAE, President and Co-owner, Leading Associations

Question:  What is the perfect governance model for my association?  Answer:  It depends.

Popular governance models that many boards are familiar with take a "one size fits all" approach.  Smaller organizations find adopting such models cumbersome and confusing or simply not applicable to them.  Larger organizations find them useful but difficult to maintain long-term.  With this in mind, we propose a new model that meets every board where it is and and takes a step-by-step approach to progressing along an evolutionary path.

rEvolutionary Governance™ is a practical model to establish your ideal governance system based on your board's current state of development on a 6-stage continuum.  Unlike current popular models, this system applies equally to small associations with no staff and a handful of volunteers to associations with multi-million dollar budgets and thousands of volunteers.

The Review Economy: How Online Recommendations Impact Your Association and its Members
Presenter: Ben Martin, CAE, Executive Director of The Review Society and Chief Engagement Officer at Online Community Results

Your members won't spend $25 at a new restaurant, buy a $250 product online, or book a $2,500 vacation without reading reviews first. But where do your members go to get recommendations when they're making workplace buying decisions of $25,000 or more? Believe it or not, according to research published in the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, they look to their associations! While prevalent in the consumer market, online reviews are just beginning to gain a foothold in the B2B market. Empower your members to make data-driven buying decisions at work by creating resources that pair customer recommendations with the authoritative, unbiased character of your organization. Seize the online review opportunity, as well as new alternative revenue, in your industry before someone else does.

  • Reviews are trusted more than any form of advertising
  • Peer recommendations sought out in virtually every B2B buying decision
  • Associations are the hubs of B2B commerce
  • Associations can create all-new member value, engage members, and tap into alternative sources of revenue by creating venues for members to read and give reviews of the products and services they use at work

We will make the case for why associations are perfectly positioned to provide a safe place for members to give and read reviews about the products and services they use at work. By presenting statistics from academic studies, storytelling, and case studies, learners will achieve thorough understanding of the science and business of online customer reviews.

Key Takeaways:

  • Articulate the value of online customer review sites so you can speak intelligently to the board and other stakeholders
  • Explain the science of reading and giving online customer reviews to members and suppliers/vendors
  • Apply evidence-based theory about online customer reviews to create a completely new value for association members
  • Develop an online customer review concept and strategy for a membership organization

Registration Fees

Registration includes access to (3) three hours of professional development (CAE/CMP), interactive and engaging breakout sessions, continental breakfast with healthy options, coffee breaks between sessions, and a networking lunch. ESSAE Members: Please sign in to receive the member rate! If you have any issues with accessing your profile, please contact Amy Colvin.


Event Policies & Information

Social Media: Connect with us! @EmpireStateSAE - Event Hashtag: #ESSAEHarvest

Event Fees: You must be listed as an ESSAE member representative (and in good standing) to receive member rates for registration to ESSAE events, webinars, etc. If you are not yet a member, you must submit a membership application with your registration. To do this online, complete the membership application and pay dues. After your dues are paid, complete your registration. (PDF of Membership Application)

Substitution Policy: Substitutions of attendees are permitted for paid registrations. The difference between the member and non-member price will apply if a non-member replaces a member. 

Cancellation Policy: Registrations must be made and paid for by Tuesday, September 24, 2019. Registration cancellations received prior to the deadline may be eligible to receive a refund less $25 service fee. Cancellations received after the stated deadline will not be eligible for a refund. Refunds will not be available for registrants who choose not to attend an event (no-shows). Cancellations will be accepted in writing only and must be received by the stated cancellation deadline. All refund requests must be made by the attendee or credit card holder. Refunds will be credited back to the original credit card used for payment. 

Credits: This event will offer up to 3 credit hours towards the CAE/CMP designations. ESSAE is a CAE approved provider, formally registered with the CAE program and committed to providing education that meets the CAE Commission's standards for helping individuals earn or maintain the Certified Association Executive credential. CAE Approved Providers have received guidance on such standards and pledged to properly represent course eligibility for CAE credit. Details on how to track your points/clock hours, visit: http://www.essae.org/cae-cmp/

Questions? Contact ESSAE: 518-463-1755 or [email protected].