November 21, 2016 Statement
For the last seven years, I have served this community as host of Association Chat. In this time, the community has grown and shifted in many ways, rightly reflecting the community that it represents.
I have great love and admiration for both the Association community and our country as a whole.
Before I get into my personal thoughts, I want to share a little about myself. I am from a small town in southwest Missouri. My dad was a homebuilder, had his own construction business and is a Vietnam vet, the leader of his platoon. My mom was a school teacher with a passion for teaching her grade school students about Abraham Lincoln. They were imperfect people raising imperfect children. We did the best we could. I guess most of us can claim the same.
Before I started my own business, my early career was spent working for associations. I became the host of Association Chat in 2009, and a couple weeks ago I received my ASAE membership anniversary card celebrating 11 years as a member.
I don’t want to hide any bias. I did not vote for Donald Trump. So admittedly, when I saw the headline last week, “Manufacturers and Associations Unite to Offer Support to Trump,” I was concerned to read ASAE President and CEO John Graham had signed a letter of support for the new Trump administration. Later, after looking into it, I saw that the letter was written before the election was decided to support whomever was elected into office. But the perception is out there and now many people in the association community are upset and concerned.
ASAE, I love you guys. This seems very off-brand and does not seem like the ASAE that I know. Is this the perception you want to put out there? When people Google ASAE, is this the sort of thing you want to come up? I do not believe that this is what ASAE stands for. But I do believe that now is a time when we need to hear from you on the commitment you have for diversity and inclusion.
I’m behind you ASAE. I know we’re better than this. I know it is more powerful to fight from the inside than the outside. So let’s do this together.