I am in my third month as Chair of IAMC. As part of my role, I have made every effort to join as many committee calls as possible, and the membership is not shy about telling us what they think and what they want from the organization. What has become clear to me is (1) we have a lot of very passionate members (which I already knew but frankly did not comprehend the extent of), and (2) we as a board need to do a better job of communicating. To that end, I thought I would use this month’s letter as an opportunity to answer some of those reoccurring questions and hopefully dispel some misconceptions.
Q: Why is IAMC expending so much effort on international meetings when most of its members are U.S. based?
A: The decision to enhance the member network outside of the North American borders was a board decision precipitated by membership feedback. Perhaps one of the biggest misperceptions of IAMC is it can fully serve its members while ignoring the International real estate network. Over three-quarters of Active member companies have international operations; over half of the Active members themselves have responsibilities outside North America. The large service provider member companies serve the Actives’ companies worldwide. And 40 percent of the state-level economic developers have overseas recruitment offices. To that end, in order to support our members we have taken the organization international. With that said, what “International” looks like for IAMC in the future is evolving. Currently, the events are structured much like the IAMC Local events we provide in the U.S. In addition, the International efforts are expected to be cost neutral to the organization and provide additional revenue to the organization by 2015.
Q: Can the IAMC Board’s Executive Committee make decisions on behalf of the full board? If so, are there any controls on the Committee’s power?
A: Yes, but IAMC’s bylaws place strict limits on this authority and require the Executive Committee to report its decisions to the full board.
Q: IAMC is getting too big. Has the board considered capping the size at a level still conducive to good networking?
A: First, IAMC is the organization and Professional Forums are its largest member benefit and service. The two are not identical. But I can report to you that the board in July enacted a cap of 500 attendees for the Forums (currently, we reach Forum attendance in the 400-420 range). In addition, to maintain the balance of Actives and Associates at the Forums we also have made the decision to manage the ratios based on the number of new Active companies rather than the number of new Active members.
Q: I’d like to get involved on a committee? How do I do that?
A: The best way to get this started is to contact our Interim Executive Director Randy Cardoza (770-325-3424).
Q: I’ve noticed some committee chairs have been in the same positions for years. Is this deliberate? Does IAMC have a process for rotating new people into leadership every so often?
A: Yes, at intervals we do rotate in new committee chairs. And, yes, occasionally some chairs stay in place for longer than we (and they, truth be told) would prefer. If any member would like to take on a leadership role in one of the committees, I would welcome that individual to make it known to Randy Cardoza and/or the Committee Chairs.
Q: I’m a new Associate member, and I’ve noticed the Active members definitely have a favored position in the organization. Why does IAMC discriminate against Associate members?
A: From its inception, IAMC was organized as an Active member-focused association. This is part of IAMC’s foundation. However, the key is balance. Without all three membership types (Corporate End Users, Economic Developers, and Service Providers) we don’t have an organization. Everyone’s contribution is of value to the organization.
Q: My company does not like to pay for my continuing education in resort locations. Why doesn’t IAMC hold Professional Forums in less exotic, less expensive places?
A: The Professional Forum planners often (but not always) alternate between a more urban fall venue, and a more southerly spring location that sometimes is a resort, like Pinehurst Resort. Such venues can be small and intimate, and the planners choose them for these characteristics because they support IAMC’s culture of one-on-one and small-group networking.
Q: I’m an Active member whose company will not pay for my attendance at Professional Forums. Why doesn’t IAMC put more resources into IAMC Local so people like me can benefit from the organization near our homes?
A: IAMC Local is looking increasingly like a winning program for the organization. In 2013, there were 10 meetings in cities across the U.S. The program evaluations have been strong. Attendance is rising. You can expect IAMC to devote more resources to IAMC Local over the next two to three years.
Q: IAMC has a lot of cash. Is the goal of the organization to continue to build up these reserves?
A: Several years ago, the board made the decision to place in reserve one year’s worth of operating expenses. With that goal achieved, going forward our objective is to reinvest back into the organization. In addition, recently the reserve requirement was reduced to 90 percent because we also have significant balances in our operating account at any given time. If we forecast correctly, we should have nominal, small additions to the reserves in the future.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these examples of questions and issues that I and your board of directors deal with every week and month. We value your input. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you have a burning question (firstname.lastname@example.org). IAMC is a great organization, and serving as your chair gives me many opportunities to work with the membership to continue to tweak the organization as we grow, our industry evolves and we mature as an organization.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone in Pinehurst!Roger Nesti
IAMC Director of Marketing and Conference Programs Rya Hazelwood says the Program Delivery Committee has completed the April 26-30 Pinehurst Professional Forum’s education session outline and schedule. The schedule is available on IAMC’s Web site (www.iamc.org). And she reports that the opening general session speaker on Monday, April 28, will be futurist and technology expert Mike Walsh.
Pinehurst attendees may notice a different feel to the daily events timetable. Director of Meeting & Event Planning Paula Korowin explains, “We relaxed the schedule so attendees can occasionally see to work responsibilities without missing education sessions.”
“Member Central” is another improvement you’ll see in Pinehurst that stems from the old Internet Connection. Open Sunday through Wednesday, Member Central will be more of a hospitality-style room with seating, light refreshments and work areas.
Here are some important reminders:
If you haven’t already, register now for the Pinehurst Forum. Make plans to meet your IAMC friends there. Don’t miss the education, networking and the chance to golf at the world famous Pinehurst Resort. — Joel Parker
t year-end and in January it’s traditional to take stock and look ahead to the New Year. Sometimes this is an exercise in catharsis as we try to shake off the previous year’s struggles. But the International Advisory Committee (IAC) has many successes to celebrate. A few rough spots have not impeded our strategic progress. And I see positive prospects for 2014.
We have good news about 2013 on several fronts. IAMC’s board has continued to support the International Advisory Committee’s plans and operations, with approvals at the July and September board meetings. And the IAC is coming into its own as a mature advisory group. Its best meeting yet happened at the Salt Lake City Professional Forum, where we had an outstanding discussion of how IAMC International should move ahead.
In 2013, the IAC put on nine education and networking events outside the U.S. in six cities. Of these, three — London/Birmingham, UK; Singapore; and São Paulo — have a strong group of corporate real estate executives and service providers willing to lead additional local event production responsibilities. Two need time for further development.
“The event was excellent, and I mean excellent! Where else can someone have dinner with other real estate managers at UPS, Honeywell, BAE, Johnson Controls and Black & Decker (at my table)? Great opportunity to share ideas, etc.”— IAMC Birmingham (UK) event attendee
IAMC international sponsorship sales exceeded expectations and budget for the year. We credit Anne Hardy, Conway Data’s director of international operations, for our success in this.
The IAC is working hard to communicate IAMC International’s value proposition and news of its activities to current and potential members. We know members can’t support or participate in programs they’re not aware of. So, we’re working hard to publicize IAC events in IAMC’s newsletters, Site Selection magazine and on the organization’s Web site.
For 2014, the Committee plans at least two meetings each for Birmingham, UK; Munich, Germany; São Paulo, Brazil; Shanghai, China; and Singapore. We’re in the early planning stages for one 2014 event in Mexico. For the cities that already have strong local organizations, we plan to shift program planning responsibilities to them, while IAMC staff and the IAC continue to fully support their efforts.
One thing we now know — the IAMC value proposition has no borders and transcends many cultures.
I’m proud of the IAC team and their progress over the last two years. We’ve faced and overcome a number of challenges. The Committee and staff have acquired valuable experience that will help us move ahead. If you have questions or would like to get involved, contact me (email@example.com).