The Need to Learn, Share, and Grow

On January 7, my social media channels were filled with a meme that read “I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I’ve experienced the 7-day trial and I’m not interested.” The world had hoped the hypothetical turning of the calendar would bring an end to the dramatic changes we were experiencing due to the Covid-19 pandemic and political issues. Almost two months into the new year, we can say for certain change is inevitable and that creativity and flexibility continue to be the necessary tools of the trade. 

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Can Your Association Adopt a COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement?

Vaccines approved for emergency use by the FDA are now providing a welcome doorway out of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, they are unlocking a range of legal issues for associations concerning vaccine mandates. May an association require employees to be vaccinated before they return to the office? And, more broadly, may it require vaccination for attendees at its meetings and conferences?

Here are some of the key issues that any association should consider before implementing a vaccine policy.

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Virginia Adopts Permanent COVID-19 Workplace Standards

Virginia has enacted permanent COVID-19 workplace safety and health standards, effective January 27. These standards are similar to interim standards adopted in 2020 and continue to mandate personal protective equipment, sanitation, social distancing, infections disease preparedness and response plans, record keeping, training and hazard communications in workplaces. 

Employers are required to train employees on COVID-19 safety and develop infectious disease and preparedness response plans. The regulations also include guidelines for returning to work and communication about employees who test positive and potential exposures.


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Vote for Your 2021-2022 Officers and Directors

The Nominating Committee and the Board of Directors present the following slate of officers and directors for the 2021-2022 year (May 1–April 30).


Maureen Dingus, CAE

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Thinking Back, Looking Forward

Things will get better. Just keep saying that. And when we come out on the other side of the pandemic, we will face a world far different than the one we left behind.

The past year has brought new meaning to “working from home”. It has challenged personal and professional relationships, while also helping us appreciate and in many ways re-discover the simple pleasures in life. We have cooked more, watched TV more, (thank goodness for streaming!), experienced more time outdoors, and spent more time with our pets (or got a pet for those who did not previously have one).

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Call for Volunteers

If you're looking to deepen your engagement in VSAE, now is your opportunity!  VSAE's volunteers are instrumental in a variety of activities. They assist in developing educational content, mentoring new members, speaking at VSAE events, engaging members in community service projects, and much more.

From short-term projects to leadership roles, VSAE offers a variety of opportunities to be involved. See the list of volunteer opportunities.

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ASAE Details Critical Role of Associations in Letter to President

ASAE delivered a letter to President Biden on January 27 urging the administration to engage the association community in policy discussions of critical importance to the nation. ASAE typically sends an introductory letter to each incoming administration, though this year’s letter reflects the extraordinary and immediate challenges facing the White House as it works to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic and reverse months of severe damage to the U.S. economy

Congratulating the ALV 2020 Graduates

Congratulations to the 2020 graduates of the Association Leadership Virginia (ALV) program! This is the second class to graduate from the program, following on the nine who graduated in 2019. 

Launched in 2018, ALV aims to develop leaders for the Commonwealth’s association management industry. The program brings together association professionals from across Virginia and from all levels of association management to discuss and explore strategies for leadership. Tom and Melissa Laughon of Catch Your Limit designed and facilitated the year-long program, guiding participants as they learned about their own leadership style and how to harness it to have a positive impact in their organization. 

“VSAE congratulates its latest ALV class. We continue to be impressed by Tom and Melissa’s program leadership and focus on excellence in association management and we commend the 2020 graduates for their resilience and commitment in the face of the unprecedented challenges this past year,” said Phyllis Errico, ESQ, CAE, VSAE President and General Counsel of the Virginia Association of Counties.

For more details about the ALV Program, visit or contact Terry Monroe ([email protected]).

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6 Tips to Recruit Volunteers

Looking to recruit more volunteers for your association?  Check out these six out of the box volunteer tips.

Empowering Through Servant Leadership

I have a confession to make – I don’t read very many books or journals focused on leadership. My reading tends to be more focused on fiction, and my leadership is more often guided by gut instinct. But I did recently share an article on LinkedIn that I thought summed up much of what my gut usually tells me to do as a leader. Many of my connections on the platform were inspired by the article, and it spurred an invitation to write this column for VSAE about servant leadership.

Being a servant leader requires a combination of humility and confidence. Asking for help, especially from the very people we are charged to lead, can make us feel vulnerable. It takes courage and strength to do it, and especially to do it authentically. The perspective you gain from truly listening to and empowering your team members, though, is incredibly valuable. It builds trust and mutual respect that I believe brings out the best in people and enables high performing teams.

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Ten Strategies for Dealing with COVID Disruption

To a great extent, we’ve all been winging it, making it up as we go along and doing the best we can in both our personal lives and with our associations, The following ten strategies will help us survive and thrive as we move ahead.

1. Use Teamwork to Develop Solutions - Everything with the pandemic is unprecedented and no one has the experience to know what to do. We are all, to a great extent, just doing the best we can. This is a perfect time to use the benefits of teamwork. Whenever possible, associations should use workgroups, task forces and other forms of teams to work out solutions to the challenges before us. Teams will provide a well-thought-out solution that has a greater chance of success, and the team members will emotionally benefit from the interaction with others.

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CEO & Senior Staff Retreat Recap

On November 18-19, VSAE hosted its annual CEO and Senior Staff Retreat virtually. The two-day retreat was facilitated by the tandem of Seth Kahan (Founder of Visionary Leadership) and John Sarvay (Founder of Floricane). 35 people attended the event, including several recent VSAE members and even a few non-members!

The retreat proved to be an engaging and through-provoking combination of small group discussions, interactive exercises, and candid conversations about the challenges and subsequent opportunities associations face headed into the new year.

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Board Revisits VSAE Strategic Plan

On November 2, the VSAE Board of Directors met to review the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan in response to the unprecedented events of 2020. The event was facilitated by Dave Phillips, founder of Phillips Leadership and Consulting and a past president of VSAE.

The current strategic plan was adopted in September 2019 and focuses on three strategic areas: engaging members, developing leaders and serving the association community. The Board affirmed these three strategic areas while also addressing how to build upon them.

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