Thank You to our Members
July 1 kicks off a new fiscal year for NYSAE. At our virtual Annual Meeting several weeks ago, we were able not only to reflect on our accomplishments during the past year but also to set the stage for what is to come.
A year ago, as leaders of associations, hospitality companies, and other businesses, we reacted quickly to the pandemic as we shifted our plans, budgets, and events to carry on in what we thought would be a short-lived pandemic.
Here we are more than a year later and who knew that we would still be in a virtual world? We sincerely appreciate your involvement during this past year in all NYSAE’s activities. All of us look forward to meeting at NYSAE events in person as the upcoming months unfold and as New Yorkers re-enter the world.
What a year it has been! Working alongside an exemplary board of directors and our executive director Holly Koenig and the rest of the Kellen association management team, we became a much needed and valued resource for our members and beyond.
Despite the pandemic, we moved forward on the strategic objectives defined by the board in 2019. Thanks to an ongoing dialogue with our stakeholders, we have set NYSAE on a new course to provide increased value to our members and to make the NYSAE community a rich and vibrant one.
Here are some of our successes:
We repositioned our organization. After 100-plus years, a little shift was needed. We instituted best practices, became a trusted resource for tools and knowledge. Our board now has new data and trends to help us make informed decisions and we are able to share these metrics with our committees.
We enhanced communications. We stepped up the content in In View, our premier communications device. On our plate going forward will be much needed improvements to our website.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Our goal was to advance equitable access, opportunity, and experience so that all can thrive. We have seen results this year, reflected in our election process. Many thanks to Rhonda Payne and Bob Spangler, who led our Racial and Social Justice Advisory Task Force, developing an actionable game plan for our organization on this imperative.
We targeted long-term financial sustainability. We had a great year ending in June 2020, despite where we were a few months into the pandemic and are optimistic that we will come out of this in a positive position as well.
We developed strategic partnerships and alliances. This year we collaborated with other associations from PCMA-NY to ASA, the Association Societies Alliance. Joining together with these groups gives strength to the association community and benefits all. We are looking forward to doing more with the ESSAE, Empire State Society of Association Executives, especially Lobby Day in Albany.
Education and thought leadership. We have been laser focused on this objective. We offered over 50 cutting-edge educational programs and events that reflect the changing landscape of the association and NFP community. Our members were engaged. We attracted many new faces. A silver lining of the pandemic was that our virtual doors allowed us to see many new faces in our classrooms, lured not only by the program content but also by the convenience of an online community.
And finally, our newest objective — to propose a plan for the NYSAE Foundation. This educational arm of our organization has been inactive for many years. Many thanks to Mary Pelzer and her committee working diligently on this.
This pandemic year has made many of us realize that this is what associations are all about, and why we have chosen to be leaders in this community. We learned quickly how to pivot, be flexible and be better leaders. Our members looked to us for support and strategic advice.
NYSAE is no different. This past year has been our time to shine. I am proud of our leadership, our staff, our volunteers, and our members who contributed so much during this last year.
I’d like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the NYSAE officers and board, including the Executive Committee of Bob Spangler, Amish Mehta, Marsha Block, Charles Riotto, and Kimberly Unger. Thank you to our board members who have remained focused on the mission and finances of NYSAE throughout these uncertain times, along with our leaders of the committees, task forces and engagement groups who have been so active and effective.
Thank you to our board members whose terms have expired. Vijay Dandipani, Lou Coletti, David Murphy, and Gerry Thiers have each made their mark on our organization and we hope that they will remain involved for their wise counsel to those following in their footsteps.
As we look to the future, I am thrilled to announce that Meet NY is back! Join us live and in-person on Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Marriott Marquis for a one-of-a-kind show, bringing together association and non-profit leaders, convention, corporate and meeting planners and their hospitality partners for an afternoon and evening of networking and cocktails, capped off with tickets to the hit musical Come From Away! For many of us, this will be one of the first live, in-person events we will attend. It will be great to see all of you in person.
And more good news, our Synergy Awards will be back live and in person this year as well. Join us for breakfast on Friday, Oct. 29 from 9-10:30 at Chelsea Piers. We will celebrate outstanding achievement by individuals and organizations within the association and not for profit community in the New York tri-state area. This year, we will introduce a brand-new Crisis Innovation Award. Join us to celebrate our winners and to reconnect with each other after such a long time apart.
In closing, I would like to thank you all for the honor of serving as your chair during this most unusual year. With so many dedicated volunteers and a Kellen staff that never sleeps, we hope that the community we have built this year, under the most unusual of circumstances, has helped us to define a more relevant, engaged organization that has supported our members as we all pivoted overnight into an uncertain future. I look forward to seeing all of you in person. The best is yet to come.
Joanne S. Barry, CAE
CEO/Executive Director, New York State Society of CPAs