Essentient Association Management is hiring an Association Manager.
To view the job posting and apply, please click here.
Essentient Association Management is hiring an Association Manager.
To view the job posting and apply, please click here.
We have just returned from the ASAE Annual Conference in Toronto and discovered that we have been listed in the 2017 Guide to AMCs, an annual publication.
Click here to download. Essentient Association Management is featured on page 27.
Essentient staff belong to ASAE, the AMC Institute and to CSAE.
Toronto, Ontario – October 27, 2016
Essentient Association Management is pleased to announce that Courtney Thack, Association Manager, was honoured by the Canadian Society of Association Executives with the prestigious Donna Mary Shaw Award. This award was presented at the CSAE Annual Conference held in Toronto.
The Donna Mary Shaw Award assists young professionals wishing to pursue careers in the not-for-profit sector.
A graduate of Sheridan College (in Advertising) Courtney began her not-for-profit career with the Ontario Community Newspaper Association in 2009. Prior to beginning her employment with Essentient in 2012, Courtney had spent several months in South Africa working with underprivileged children.
Because Essentient is a relatively small (but full service) AMC, in working with all of our clients Courtney has been able to gain a wide range of experience in a number of areas as well as hone her skills in membership development, governance and event management. Courtney has a particular affinity for event and volunteer management and is committed to expanding her knowledge of governance and association best practices.
In her current capacity Courtney provides oversight and expertise to the 85 events that Essentient
manages annually and in 2015 was named one of 20 Millennials to Watch by Meetings and Conventions Magazine.
Courtney has the potential to become an association leader and driver in the AMC space because of her exceptional organizational capabilities, razor sharp critical thinking and her insatiable desire to learn, grow and make a difference.
Essentient Association Magazine congratulates Courtney Thack for being recognized by the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) is Canada’s premiere association advocate. It provides tools, resources, and education to help association professionals and volunteers succeed. From this success, Canadian associations will continue to grow and excel in pursuit of their goals.
Essentient Association Management is a full service AMC and event company that provides strategic and operational support to not-for-profit enterprises regionally, provincially, nationally and internationally.
Essentient Association Management is a leader in the AMC sector with nearly 12 years
as a full service company that is focuses on managing associations. While some of our
competitors are event/secretariat companies first and AMCs second, we are proud to be an AMC first.
What does this mean for our association clients? Essentient has the capacity and know how to work with volunteer leadership to grow the association and help them to achieve organizational excellence.
After nearly a dozen years in the association management business, Essentient
Association Management has helped a number of organizations reach their potential
through the implementation of systems, well-regarded governance tools, strategies and
tactics. These include:
– Policies and procedures
– Board orientation/training
– Board roles and responsibilities
– Consent agenda
– Organizational review
– Strategic planning
– Business planning
And while we are indeed very good at running events (85 events per year at last count) our clients value us for our ability to help them up their game and be successful.
Toronto, Ontario – On August 16, 2016 Meetings + Incentive Travel (M+IT) announced its 2016 Hall of Fame inductees in a special, live presentation at IncentiveWorks™ 2016, Canada’s leading meeting, events and incentive travel trade show and conference.
It was announced that Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE, Owner and CEO of Essentient Association Management was an honouree in the Industry Mentor category. This is the first time in the Hall of Fame’s history that a Certified Association Executive (CAE) has been inducted.
“We are delighted to welcome this year’s inductees into the Hall of Fame family,” says Robin Paisley, managing director, M+IT and IncentiveWorks. “Each of them has made, and continues to make, a significant contribution to the meetings and incentive travel industry. They are truly inspiring.”
Reflecting upon her award Ms. Wrigley-Thomas noted “Mentoring is important because it creates continuity and connectivity between the generations. The lessons that I have learned during my career may help someone cut through the clutter of decision-making to arrive at a solution. In addition to sharing my experiences of ‘what to do’, I am equally, if not more happy, to share ‘what not to do.’ As a mentor I can provide the “hand up” that a mentee may need to realize their potential as an employee, volunteer and perhaps, as a future mentor. ”
She went on to say “I have observed from my role as a member of 5 industry associations, as a volunteer with 2 and as an AMC of multiple associations, that mentorship programs are not just needed, they are expected by members at both ends of the generational spectrum.
Constance Wrigley-Thomas is also the recipient of CSAE Trillium Chapter’s 2009 President’s Award and was recognized by NAIOP – Commercial Real Estate Association, for Outstanding Contributions by a Chapter Executive in 2011. She sits on the Board of Directors for CSAE Trillium Chapter and is also the co-founder and Secretary/Treasurer of the AMC Institute Canadian Chapter.
M+IT is the owner of Canada’s premier events, meetings and incentive travel industry magazine and website as well as IncentiveWorks. It launched its Hall of Fame in 2009 to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves in the Canadian meetings and incentive travel industry.
Essentient Association Management & Events is a Canadian full service association and events management company. They are a leader and innovator in the association management company (AMC) space.
Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE and CEO of Essentient Association Management & Events, was recently appointed to the new AMC Institute Canadian Chapter Board of Directors. Ms. Wrigley-Thomas was also appointed Secretary/Treasurer of the organization at its first Board meeting on June 9, 2016.
The AMCI Canadian Chapter evolved from the AMC Forum which was co-founded by Constance Wrigley-Thomas and Serge Micheli of Association and Events Management in early 2014. They established the AMC Forum with the purpose of providing association management companies from across Canada with a platform to share best practices, promote the AMC model, access professional development and establish standards of practice for the AMC sector.
No such group existed before for association management companies in Canada so it was a natural evolution for the AMC Forum to become the first international chapter of AMCI. The Canadian Chapter was incorporated on April 11, 2016.
The new Board of Directors for AMC Institute Canadian Chapter is as follows:
Chair: Serge Micheli, CAE CEM – President, Association and Events Management
Vice-Chair: Jonathan Strauss – President, Strauss Event & Association Management
Secretary/Treasurer: Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE – Owner/CEO, Essentient Association Management
Ruth Abrahamson – CEO, Base Consulting & Management Inc.
Jenny Faucher – President, Managing Matters
Seamus Gearin – Senior Association Manager, Becker Associates
Anthony Laycock – President, Funnel Communications
The article below was prepared by the Canadian Society of Association Executives.
It provides a step by step narrative on what to look for when sourcing and selecting an association management company.
Selecting an Association Management Company
By Bob Hamp
While most associations hire their own staff and manage their own assets, many smaller associations and chapter affiliates retain an association management company (AMC) to reduce costs, promote efficiencies, share resources, access expertise and reduce volunteer commitments to administrative matters.
Prepare the Request For Proposal (RFP)
A selection committee that develops the RFP, evaluates proposals, conducts interviews and recommends candidates to the Board normally manages this first step. The committee typically includes both members who understand the organization’s history and past needs, and newer members who have a longer-term investment in its future.
Where do you begin to develop your RFP? What do you want to know about the companies you are evaluating? What will the companies want to know about your association and the services they will be asked to provide? You’ll find help with these and other questions in CSAE’s “Resources Library.”
Generally speaking, prospective AMCs will be better positioned to develop a meaningful proposal if the following information is made available to them:
Board and committee personnel
Previous meetings’ minutes and resolutions
Number and location of Board and Committee meetings
Audited financial statements
Current budget, policies and procedures
Membership growth and retention trends
Affinity programs (if any)
Meetings and conventions (number, location, number of exhibitors, booths, revenue and expense profiles, contracts with hotels and other entities, etc.)
Expense reimbursement policy
Newsletters published each year, including their circulation and any advertising that may be associated with them
After supplying this information, what do association representatives need to know about the AMC? Here are some suggestions to look for in a prospective AMC’s capability résumé:
Philosophy or mission of the AMC
Résumés for the principal(s) and summaries for support staff
History of business and main area(s) of focus
Geographic range of operations (international, national, provincial, regional, local)
Typical client list
Areas of expertise (full-service, meeting and events planning, publications, research, marketing, affinity programs, data management, financial management, etc.)
Computer systems and software
Data membership management programs
Finance and accounting software
E-mail domain and ability to administer websites
Location of organization
Commitment to continuing education (membership and participation in CSAE).
Weighing the AMC Proposals
AMCs have differing management styles and price points, often making it difficult to compare proposals from several companies. The most important step in analyzing management company proposals is to look at your organization. Are you large or small? Growing or in need of a turnaround? What are the priorities in terms of programs—education; trade shows, publications, membership development or financial services, or some combination? While everything may seem equally important, the purpose of this analysis is to clearly define the most pressing current and future needs to make the best choice among good proposals.
Once you’ve taken a critical look at your organization, it’s time to turn the same critical eye to the AMCs’ proposals. There is no right or wrong answer, but there may be a best answer for your organization. One company is unlikely to be strong in all categories; look for the one that best matches your overall needs.
Creating a rating form can help you focus and clarify the analysis. Here are some general qualities your selection committee should look for when evaluating proposals and interviews with AMCs.
A contract between an association and its AMC represents an investment of time and money on both sides. Does the AMC appear stable and able to meet its commitments? Does it have the human and financial resources to take on another client (that is, you)?
Can the AMC serve your current and future needs? Selecting an AMC is a long-term commitment and transitions are costly. So the AMC you select should be able to grow with your organization and assume additional responsibilities. Although some turnover is inevitable, it involves direct costs and indirect costs, such as those resulting from loss of institutional continuity, memory, and identity.
Is the company’s location accessible to your organization?
Do any of the AMC’s current clients present a potential for conflict of interest with your organization? Is the number of other clients suitable to the size and resources of the company? Can it continue to handle its other clients’ needs and those of your organization, or does it plan on adding staff and resources? If so, how will new staff be allocated among current clients and your organization? How will your organization compare in size, in fee, and in needs to the other clients? Will your organization be important to the management company or will it be a minor client among much larger organizations?
Look for a Good Fit.
While larger AMCs may have more resources than smaller ones, how will they allocate those resources to a smaller client? On the other hand, while a large association will be very important to a small management company, how will the company be able to accommodate the needs of a large client?
If your organization will meet at the AMC’s office, does it have adequate meeting facilities? There are many home-based AMCs: this may help save you money on overhead fees. The question is whether such an arrangement will work for you.
Does the AMC have adequate equipment and will it stay current with changing technology? How will the AMC’s technology help you achieve your objectives?
What is the experience of the individuals assigned to you? Is their experience well matched to your needs? How will the AMC assign staff to your organization and how much internal turnover can be expected?
AMC service fees range from full-service, which includes all aspects of overhead, salaries, benefits, equipment, and supplies, to a retainer-plus arrangement, where the client pays for all services, use of facilities and equipment, and supplies as required. To some degree, all pricing plans must include an overhead component (occupancy, equipment, and supplies), a staffing component (salaries, benefits, recruiting, and training), and a reasonable profit.
Like all service businesses, AMCs sell time. Individual worker fees may be separated or packaged in an hourly rate or flat fee. The cost of time may or may not be clear. One thing is certain—it will be difficult to compare fee proposals. Make sure you understand the proposal and know what is included and what is not.
Remember also, that the better the AMC performs the more likely it is your organization will ask it to do more. You need to budget for all the costs, and these may not be included in the proposed fee. Ask what is and is not included. Determine what procedures, controls, and/or limitations exist to help you and the AMC plan for the cost of services.
The proposal may or may not include all the terms of a possible contract. Will the contract be for a single year or for multiple years? If multiple, are there provisions for increased fees and services after the first year? What protections exist in the contract for each side? What provisions are made for termination?
Look carefully at the description of individual services. If you asked the AMC to administer meetings, what exactly does that include and at what cost? Will the AMC take the minutes and circulate them? The exact description of the services to be provided can vary and affect cost significantly. As you consider the services to be provided, ask to see examples of the AMC’s work. What level of service is the AMC proposing and what has it done before? What is the quality of its work?
Quality of Presentation.
Is it well written and error-free? Is it glossy boilerplate or customized? Is it a combination of the two?
Always difficult. It stands to reason that prospective AMCs will provide the names of individuals they expect will give them the best possible references. Current clients may provide valuable information provided you have some open-ended questions. What is XYZ’s greatest contribution to your organization? Can you describe a time when you were disappointed in their performance? What did they do to fix the problem? Do you feel you get good value for your dollars? Why?
Interviewing a Prospective AMC
Choosing an AMC to manage all or part of your affairs demands that both partners get to know each other in an atmosphere of candour, respect, and comfort that will set the tone for a dignified, “No thank you, I don’t think this is the right fit,” or “Let’s go forward.”
Prepare questions to ask each AMC presenting. Assign each member of the selection committee a particular area of the proposal to address. Assess the different responses that each company gives to the same question. Explain your decision process to each presenting AMC and advise them of the final determination date. If you expect to conduct further negotiations, state when you expect those negotiations to take place.
Sample Questions to Ask an AMC
How does your philosophy compare with our association’s?
What are the geographic scope, budget size, and membership traits of current clients?
Are any of your existing clients potential competitors of our association?
What is the range of services and capabilities provided by your employees? Do you outsource any management functions, such as data management, meeting planning, financial record keeping, publishing, or mailing services? If so, how are the agreements with vendors handled?
What resources and equipment do you have to support client needs? Do you have the capacity to serve our organization?
What software programs (such as accounting and membership database) do you use?
Do you have system back-up and how will we access our data? Do you have a disaster plan prepared?
What reports can we expect? In what format will they be presented? How frequently?
Do you provide full-service management, stand-alone functions, or both?
May our volunteers provide some services, and contract with you for others? If so, would you prefer these come through a single, pre-authorized volunteer?
Who would be assigned to our account? What is their background and experience? Who do they report to?
Would we have our own dedicated consultant or be assigned a team that performs a range of functions?
Will we have access to the owner or principal, and if so, on what basis?
What are the strengths of your AMC, and what kinds of clients do you serve most successfully?
Have there been any recent changes in ownership or leadership? Are there any plans for merger, consolidation, or buyout, and if so, what succession plan is in place for a smooth transition?
Is there a conference room or other meeting space at your office? Where do your clients typically meet?
Do you have storage capacity? How will our documents be archived?
What measures do you take to train your employees? What does staff do to keep current professionally? What professional organizations do they belong to?
Do you have the ability to design and maintain a website?
How do you set your fees? Retainer? Time/hourly based? By project?
What about contract terms, evaluation, renewal, and cancellation?
Following the interview process, the committee usually recommends a firm for Board approval.
A written contract defines mutual obligations and expectations and provides a structure for the relationship. A standard contract or a drawn contract may suit differing needs. A standard client service agreement might include the service relationship, compensation, and termination. Contract documents may range from simple letters of agreement to those describing every detail of the relationship between the organizations. Letters of agreement, which generally contain the standard elements—offer, acceptance, and consideration—have the legal force of a contract and normally cover broad areas of agreement in general terms. A detailed contract may cover such specifics as number of meetings, number of newsletters published, etc. Most contracts between AMCs and association clients cover these basic issues:
Preserving the client’s rights
Determining the management fee or method of compensation
Listing services to be provided
Defining the duration of the agreement
Setting out the method for terminating the agreement
Stating the client’s obligations to the management firm
Bank accounts shall be solely in the name of the client, not joint with the AMC.
The client is responsible for expenses incurred by the AMC on the client’s behalf.
Annual audit (or review) will be conducted at the association’s expense.
The AMC has authority (or not) to negotiate and enter into agreements on behalf of the client (such as hotel agreements).
The AMC will receive fees or compensation for its services. Specify how the fees will be paid by the client (e.g., direct transfer of funds), when this will happen (e.g., first of each month), and what the fees cover and do not cover (e.g., a simple statement that telephone expense is not a fee and is a reimbursable expense).
When the contract is terminated, all materials should be returned to the association client in usable form.
Most AMC contracts define the management fee, retainer fee, or other fees. They may wish to charge a management fee covering certain basic services and bill other services as used. The management fee covers staff time, rent, office use, and equipment. All other charges are on an as-used basis. Arrangements for special services may be addressed through separate letters of agreement independent of the management contract. The contract may specify the number of hours or percentage of time to be devoted to the client by key staff members.
Most contracts attempt to define the services the AMC will provide. While some contracts go into great detail on this subject, some firms prefer to keep the contract language loose. That way, both the AMC and the client depend on the mutual agreement they have reached. Defining services too narrowly may inadvertently lead to an adversarial relationship between the two parties.
Contracts are often drawn up for one year, either with automatic renewal, or with intent to renew. Short-term contracts require both parties to review the contract to ensure it continues to reflect current needs and expectations. Doing this annually tends to focus both sets of needs more effectively. In other cases, an association and its AMC may have a long-term contract. A long-term contract helps ensure the AMC will invest its time and energy for the long haul.
The period of notice required to terminate a contract may run from 30 days to 90 or 120 days. The termination clause for a large association may specify a period of six months or more. Longer notice offers protection for both the association and the AMC to provide both organizations with the necessary time to transition.
An annual review is essential and failure to provide some form of review can lead to misunderstanding. Even if the contract has remained unchanged and unchallenged for some time, it is wise to recognize that associations change.
Each new slate of elected leaders needs to clearly understand the relationship between the AMC and the association.
Developed with files from CSAE, ASAE and other sources.
February 4, 2016, Toronto, Ontario – Essentient Association Management & Events, a leader and innovator in the association management space, is proud to announce that Association Manager Courtney Thack was recently announced as one of 22 up and coming Millennials to watch by Meetings and Conventions magazine. Courtney has the distinction of being the only Canadian on this list of select meeting planners from around the world.
Courtney began her association management career at the Ontario Community Newspaper Association as a Membership Services Coordinator. Courtney joined Essentient in 2011, initially as a Membership and Events Coordinator but was promoted into an account manager role. Courtney is currently the Association Manager for CoreNet Global Canadian Chapter, a professional association for corporate real estate executives. Courtney also provides oversight and expertise to the 85 events that Essentient manage annually.
Courtney is a graduate of Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario and has volunteered worldwide including South Africa and Australia.
Essentient Owner/CEO Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE, stated, “Despite being only 26, Courtney Thack displays a maturity and work ethic that belies her youth. I have seen her grow as a professional in the 4 years that she has worked for Essentient and am not surprised that she was recognized for her accomplishments.”
For further Information Contact: Constance Wrigley-Thomas, CAE, Essentient Association Management & Events, Tel: 905-331-9668 or (cell) 289-259-9623, email@example.com
As as Association Management Company we are often faced with professional dilemmas where there are no simple answers or solutions.
As association executives, we are committed to always doing the right thing, even when “doing the right thing” might sometimes seem counter-intuitive to running a for-profit business – i.e. turning down freebies from a supplier. But that’s just the way we roll. High ethical principles are one of the pillars on which our company has been built.
One of our roles is to help our client associations understand what to do if a conflict of interest situation arises or make recommendations for a policy that will enable them to stick handle a difficult situation in the future. We see ourselves of stewards of the organization’s reputation and we want to make sure that clients avoid perceived or real conflicts.
According to the Institute for Global Ethics there are five values that are accepted by people around the world. They are:
We face challenges every day in our work through interactions with members, volunteers, suppliers and competitors. By viewing every dilemma through the lens of “doing the right thing” we can feel good about our company, our people and the great service we offer to our clients.
Essentient Association Management subscribes to professional codes of conduct promoted by the professional associations to which we belong including:
And we think that doing the right thing is a good thing.
Over the past several years we have created tens of thousands of name tags for our meetings and events. And if there is one thing we have taken to heart, it is, if you don’t think that a name tag is important, just wait until your delegate/guest discovers that their name tag contains a spelling error or it is missing.
So what do we do that makes our name tags stand out?
First of all, we make sure that name tags can be read from several paces away. There is nothing worse than having to squint to read the person’s name. And keeping in mind that not everyone has 20/20 vision, we follow a very simple formula:
FIRST NAME – Sans serif, 54 pt.
First Lastname – Sans serif – 24 pt
Company – Sans serif 18 pt
The second thing we do is purchase a supply of name tags that a) have a simple elastic lanyard; but b) not the kind of lanyard that can twist. All of our name tags lay flat on the centre portion of the wearer’s chest. We also don’t use the pin on type of name tags as they can damage clothing.
Once the name tags have been printed, the staff responsible for the event check and double check to make sure that names and companies are accurate and that we can match every name to the registration list. We make it a priority to get it right the first time, ultimately avoiding awkward moments later at the registration desk.
Finally, while we may recycle the plastic badge holders, we never reuse the printed name tags for future events as names and companies change frequently. Every time we print a name tag it is based on current information in our database.
Still unsure about proper name tag etiquette? Here is a website that we found that provides lots of practical info.