A Celebration 100 Years in the Making

By Denman Wall

In this article and its supplements, we take a trip back in time 100 years to 1919, winding our way up to a celebration 100 years in the making.

To help with the journey, I am counting on the collective knowledge of Wikipedia, History Websites, fellow members, and NYSAE’s recently published 1919-2019 New York Society of Association Executives special insert.

1919 was, as documented in Wikipedia, quite a year. The president of the United States was Woodrow Wilson. The 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, authorizing Prohibition, went into effect. Congress established the Grand Canyon as a United States National Park. The first Transatlantic flight by Albert Cushing Read left from Newfoundland to Lisbon. Congress approved the 19th amendment to the Constitution which would guarantee a woman’s right to vote. WWI ended. The Chicago White Sox threw the World Series.

Things were certainly happening in New York too. The Hotel Pennsylvania was built, becoming one of the world’s most popular hotels. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! first appeared in The New York Globe. Babe Ruth was sold by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees…

And, of course, the New York Society of Association Executives, or NYSAE, was born.

[For more fun descriptions of 1919 happenings, read Raphael Badagliacca’s supplemental article…]

Founded in 1919 by Emmet Naylor, the organization was originally called Trade Organization Secretaries in New York City. At the time, Naylor’s full-time job was secretary-treasurer of the Book Paper, Cover Paper, Tissue Paper and Writing Paper Manufacturers Associations of New York, NY. According to a history provided by the American Forest & Paper Association, the Writing Paper Association, which was formed in 1861, became Naylor’s society, Writing Paper Manufacturers Association in 1863.

One year later, he would start the American Trade Association Executives, now known as ASAE.

In its 100-year history, NYSAE would go from an organization that used a shoebox filled with a few index cards to a modern organization that provides the association and nonprofit community with over 30 educational and networking events annually.

Under the leadership of Joel A. Dolci, CAE, and the board of directors, the organization would play host to several initiatives that would not only shape the association community in the northeast but The Big Apple itself. Among its list of accomplishments, the creation of the Association Center at 120 Wall Street in the 1980s. In cooperation with local and state government, that effort stopped the rapid exodus of nonprofit organization from New York City. It also established NYSAE and the broader association community as a catalyst for growth in the region.

Not to rest on its achievements, NYSAE established We Love New York Day during the same time period. That event, which celebrated the accomplishments of New Yorkers, established NYSAE as a “go to” organization for those professionals working in and with the association sector. At We Love New York Day, the organization honored outstanding New Yorkers – people who helped make the city what it is today. Some of the honorees include notables like Marc Anthony, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Adolfo Carrion, Jr., Mayor David Dinkins, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Larry King, Bill Marriott, Jr., Bebe Neuwirth, Gloria Steinem, Jonathan Tisch, and President Donald Trump.

To respond to changing demands in the association industry, We Love New York Day was replaced by a new hosted buyer event, Meet New York, in 2008. At the event, meeting professionals from various regions participate in a full afternoon of educational sessions, a gala reception, and a Broadway play. Originally, the event took place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, but it soon required much more space as the event gained popularity. These days, the event takes place at the Marriott Marquis overlooking Times Square, just up the block from its first home. According to those involved, “Meet New York is the best hosted buyer event in the Northeast…”

Through the years, NYSAE established itself as the leading organization for the hospitality and convention and visitor’s bureau industry. And that tradition continues when NYSAE celebrates its 100th Anniversary at a Gala luncheon on Wednesday, March 6, the same day as the 12th Annual MeetNY. At the event, NYSAE will be honoring The New York Hospitality Industry, The New York Broadway Theatre & Entertainment Industry and Joel Dolci, who is retiring after 40 years of leading the organization.

For more information about the celebration luncheon, visit https://100.nysaenet.org

In closing, when I was first introduced to NYSAE some 12+ years ago, I soon learned what it meant to be a part of a professional community – a family - whose mission is to provide service and support to other mission-driven organizations. Congratulations on your first 100 years, NYSAE!

Denman Wall is Sr. Director of Interactive Services at Dolci Interactive and is the editor of InView Newsletter.