VSAE’s vision is to be the best at making our members and their associations the best. This year’s annual conference focuses on that goal by highlighting four main content pillars: Advocacy, Communications, Leadership and Meetings. With two educational sessions per topic offering the knowledge and training you need to excel for your association and its members, this is one conference you do not want to miss.

In addition to top-notch educational content, this year’s event is full of networking opportunities for you and your colleagues. Enjoy receptions, golf, baseball, or a craft beer tour as part of your conference experience. This year’s pre- and post-conference activities are a great place to unwind, have some fun, and meet fellow association leaders as well.    

See all this conference has to offer and register below.


Other conference resources are linked here.



10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. - Association Leadership Virginia
11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. - Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin
11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. - Norfolk Brewery Tour
12:00-4:00 p.m. - Norfolk Tides Baseball Game
4:00-6:00 p.m. - Registration Open
6:00-7:30 p.m. - Opening Reception (Sheraton Norfolk Waterside)
7:30-9:00 p.m. - Dine Around Town (on your own)


6:00-7:00 a.m. - Yoga Wake Up
6:00-7:00 a.m. - 5K Fun Run
7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. - Registration
8:30-10:00 a.m. - Breakfast & Opening Keynote: Get What You Want With What You've Got!
10:00-10:15 a.m. - Networking Break
10:15-11:30 a.m. - Breakout Sessions

ADVOCACY: #FreeTheMimosa: How Grassroots Advocacy Changed Hundred-Year-Old Blue Laws
COMMUNICATIONS: Google Analytics in a Nutshell
LEADERSHIP: Be Bold. Be Vulnerable. Be Mindful.
MEETINGS: Alternative Learning Formats: Avoiding Death by Panels

12:00-1:30 p.m. - Lunch and Board Installation
1:45-3:00 p.m. - Breakout Sessions

ADVOCACY: Seeking Consensus, Mediation and Negotiation Skills for Association Executives
COMMUNICATIONS: Rethinking Membership Communications
LEADERSHIP: Who Has Time To Lead?
MEETINGS: Create Mobile Experiences That Drive Member Engagement

3:00-3:15 p.m. - Networking Break
3:15-4:00 p.m. - IGNITE Sessions - Learn more and submit your idea.
4:00-5:30 p.m. - Shared Interest Group (SIG) meetings
6:00-6:30 p.m. - Emerging Association Professionals (EAP) Reception (invitation only)
6:00-6:30 p.m. - President's Reception (invitation only)
6:30-9:00 p.m. - Reception and Dinner


8:00-9:30 a.m. - Breakfast and Shared Interest Group (SIG) meetings
9:45-11:00 a.m. - Closing Session Keynote: The Game Winning 3: A Roadmap for Professional & Personal Development
1:00-5:30 p.m. - Golf at Riverfront Golf Club

Return to top]


Your registration fee includes all educational sessions (over 6 hours of CAE credit), two receptions, all meals on Monday and breakfast on Tuesday, and both the opening and closing keynote sessions.


Paid by Apr 6

Paid after Apr 6
$190 $220
$220 $250
Spouse/Guest* $165 $195

     * Spouse/guest registration must accompany a full member registration.


Paid by Apr 6
Paid after Apr 6

Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin
VSAE Member





Norfolk Brewery Tour (Sunday)
VSAE Member



Norfolk Tides Baseball Game (Sunday)
VSAE Member



Golf at Riverfront Golf Club (Tuesday)
VSAE Member






1 ticket
3 tickets
9 tickets $50
20 tickets $100



All registrations must be prepaid prior to the conference. Refunds will be made on the following scale: up to March 23- less a $25.00 administrative fee, from March 24-April 6- 75% of fees, from April 7-14- 50% of fees. No refunds will be made after April 14. Substitutions are welcome at any time.

[Return to top]


Opening Keynote

Get What You Want With What You've Got!
Christine Cashen*

Join the campaign to stop global whining - because it's dangerously contagious! Life is too full of opportunity to waste energy on complaining. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem. You have what it takes right now to make a difference in your personal and professional life. We are all given what we need to succeed and Christine will help you put those skills to the best use. This program will help you communicate effectively with all different personality styles, create a better day with more energy and time, and discover how to have less stress and more fun. Take charge of what you can change today. You'll leave feeling charged up, motivated, and excited to get back to it. 

*Provided courtesy of Powell Kohne Associates, LLC.

Morning Breakout Sessions 
(10:15-11:30 a.m.)

ADVOCACY - #FreeTheMimosa: How Grassroots Advocacy Changed Hundred-Year-Old Blue Laws
Jeff Tippett

Using the successful and popular North Carolina “Brunch Bill” campaign as the case study, this breakout session offers a deep dive into how to shape public opinion and engage to action covering topics like: messaging and imagery, websites and petitions, calls to action, email marketing, testing and running social media, engaging press, and positioning your association to lead within your space. Participants will leave with skills and resources to begin using public opinion to shape policy decisions for their association members. 

COMMUNICATIONS - Google Analytics in a Nutshell
Jason Moreau

According to Google, about 90 percent of websites have Google Analytics installed, but only 30 percent of people actually log in to look at their analytics dashboard. Of that 30 percent, most people don’t know what they’re doing. In this presentation, you will learn the basics of Google Analytics. This is not a course for tech experts, but for marketers who want to understand how to interpret their data. You will learn to better connect with your membership base and identify which marketing initiatives are really working. 

LEADERSHIP - Be Bold.  Be Vulnerable.  Be Mindful.
Rose Markey

Vulnerability is not a term often associated with leadership yet being vulnerable can be a key asset to leadership. This breakout session will examine the four myths of vulnerability and discuss how practicing vulnerability makes you a better leader. Attendees will learn strategies to rationally respond to stressful situations, and practice applying self-compassion. Take a bold step, be a little vulnerable, attend this session, and learn how to be a better leader.

MEETINGS - Alternative Learning Formats: Avoiding Death by Panels
Kristin Clarke, CAE; Mark Milroy, CAE; Frank Gainer

While panels dominate the education formats at many association conferences, they can often be a yawnfest. Open your mind and let three experienced session designers immerse you in at least one alternative format firsthand, while also sharing creative formats adopted by others. Among the cool formats covered will be speed soloing, networking salons, fly-on-the-wall, walking for wisdom, vending machine learning, and much more. The session will also include stories on format failures, and engaging introverts and ultra-experienced members. Even the most panel-loving groups will find something new to try in the name of learning.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions
(1:45-3:00 p.m.)

ADVOCACY - Seeking Consensus, Mediation & Negotiation Skills for Association Executives
Mark Rubin  

When everyone takes a position and holds on to it for dear life, is agreement possible? It is. This program will provide association executives approaches, ideas, and tools to avoid an impasse and gain consensus. Whether you are negotiating internally with members, volunteer leaders, government regulators, or legislators, the skills learned in this session will be key to your future success. The session will cover listening techniques, negotiating strategies, and mediation, including specifics on public policy issues.

COMMUNICATIONS - Rethinking Membership Communications
J.J. White  

Communicating with members and getting your message out is never easy. Association emails typically have an open-rate of around 30 percent, which means 70 percent are not reading your emails. How do you get your message heard? What’s the right channel for your audience? This highly interactive session will help you try to find answers to these questions. Hear from colleagues who have had success breaking through the clutter, then learn from fellow attendees in a facilitated conversation about how to get your message to your members, to your industry, and to your intended audience.

LEADERSHIP - Who Has Time To Lead?
Dave Phillips, CAE 

In today’s fast-paced world, leaders struggle to find the time to lead. The attention span of Americans is down to 7 seconds and that means your members and your employees are harder than ever to lead. Learning about the three leadership gifts discussed in Phillips’ book, Time to Lead, will create time for you and change your organization. 

MEETINGS - Create Mobile Experiences That Drive Member Engagement
Lauren A. Wolfe  

Associations are continually evolving and embracing technology in the race for relevance. Your members expect more than ever before. What happens after a big event when your members go home? Do the conversation and engagement end? Associations are leveraging mobile technology to extend member engagement year-round. Each success story is unique and offers perspective on using technology to connect on a deeper level. Hear association success stories about how you can be empowered to create dynamic experiences that keep members coming back to you for content and ways to connect.


IGNITE Sessions (3:15-4:00 p.m.)

Back by popular demand, this year’s conference will feature IGNITE presentations from attendees. IGNITE presentations are fast-paced five minute presentations with 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. Topics range from the personal to the professional. ALL ATTENDEES are invited to submit their ideas to give an IGNITE presentation at this year’s conference.

Closing Keynote

The Game-Winning 3: A Roadmap for Professional & Personal Development
Dave Davlin*

Success can be defined in its simplest form as making life better for someone else. Whether it comes in creating a better product, helping to relieve someone’s stress or pain, bringing someone laughter or joy, or helping someone get more out of their life, success is always about serving. This presentation is an hour of interaction, humor, and audience participation mixed with a powerful message. It is a roller coaster ride of emotion that will find the audience engaged in hilarious laughter one moment and brought to tears the next.

*Provided courtesy of Powell Kohne Associates, LLC.


Sunday - Nauticus and the Battleship Wisconsin

Explore the Battleship Wisconsin, the largest and last battleship ever built by the U.S. Navy during a guided private tour. You will walk through previously sealed off areas of the Battleship including the Captain's cabin, Admiral's cabin, Combat Engagement Center, Flag Bridge, navigation Bridge and Quartermaster's space. After the guided tour you will have free time to explore Nauticus on your own. Nauticus is  an exciting interactive science and technology center that explores the naval, economic, and nautical power of the sea. It features Battleship Wisconsin-related exhibits, hands-on exhibits, national-caliber traveling exhibits, HD and 3D films on a giant screen, sharks, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and more! See the itinerary here.

Sunday - Norfolk Brewery Tour

Take a private tour of Norfolk’s first two craft breweries! The tour will stop first at O’Connor Brewing Co., “a mighty yet humble craft brewery located in an 'industrial section' of Norfolk’s Ghent neighborhood/district.” Their mission is “to create an original, world-class craft beer experience for all beer lovers through our innovative, evolving products and services while supporting our local communities.” Following a tour and tasting at O’Connor’s, we will head to Smartmouth Brewing Co. in Norfolk’s Chelsea District. Since 2012, Smartmouth has helped shape the Hampton Roads craft beer scene with unique styles, quality ingredients and an emphasis on flavor over flash. See the itinerary here.

Sunday - Norfolk Tides Baseball Game

Join colleagues for an afternoon baseball game along the Norfolk Waterfront as the Norfolk Tides play against the Louisville Bats. The Norfolk Tides are a minor
league baseball team in the Triple-A International League. As an affiliate team of the Baltimore Orioles, the Tides play at Harbor Park. The game starts at 1:00 p.m. and will include food and beverages of your choice. See the itinerary here

Tuesday - Golf at Riverfront Golf Club

Join colleagues for an afternoon on the links. Designer Tom Doak sculpted the beautiful layout of Riverfront Golf Club to take full advantage of the local natural
beauty. It is a magnificent waterfront golf design. Tees are typically at ground level, the fairways are generally wide and friendly, and chipping areas are plentiful. Large deep bunkers, combined with undulating greens make shot-making crucial.



To reserve a room call (757) 763-6200, click here (Associate members), or click here (Executive members). Ask for the VSAE Conference rate and identify yourself as an Executive or an Associate. Check-in will be available at 4:00 p.m., and check-out will be by 11:00 a.m.

Executive members* $145
Associate members   $164
* There are a limited number of complimentary accommodations for Monday, May 7, for Executive members only. First come, first served. Credit applies at hotel checkout.
All rates are subject to applicable state and county taxes as well as occupancy fees. Deadline for room reservations has been extended to Monday, April 23, 2018. After this deadline, rooms are on a space and rate available basis. 

Hilton Norfolk The Main

100 East Main Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
(757) 763-6200

[Return to top]


To further enhance your conference experience, VSAE has partnered with Results Direct to bring attendees a mobile app: Engagefully. Download the mobile app (Download for Apple | Download for Android). The app is designed to help you navigate the conference, connect with other attendees, and engage on social media.
To download the app to your phone or tablet.

  1. Download and install Engagefully from your phone's app store.
  2. Open the Engagefully app and search for VSAE.
  3. Tap VSAE.

[Return to top]



[Return to top]