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2018 Fall Newsletter

FALL 2018


AzSAE 2018 Executive Leadership Forum

The AzSAE 2018 Executive Leadership Forum was held Friday, September 14 at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park. This year the Forum included a trade show in addition to the array of excellent speakers. Our premier year trade show participants included:

Casino Del Sol Resort
Civana Carefree
Cliff Castle Casino Hotel
Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock
Konica Minolta
Pink Jeep Tours
Residence Inn by Marriott Prescott
Royal Palms Resort and Spa
SpringHill Suites by Marriott Prescott
Tubac Golf Resort and Spa

The trade show exhibitors were set up inside the meeting room to assure exhibitors were truly part of the program. The Forum schedule included ample time for interaction, and this new addition not only provided value to both attendees and exhibitors, but provided additional revenue to AzSAE. 

The expert speakers at the forum received high marks from attendees:
Jan Halpin and Julie Iacobelli, Co-Founds of c3 Strategies, who opened with a great primer entitled Board Governance – Leading the Way.
Cheri Conquest Hull, with Conquest Consulting, LLC, provided a program on Leadership from a Member’s Perspective—Why Join? Why Stay? And Why Not?
Wendy McClellan, Structure for Success, had many attendees taking copies notes as she spoke about Capturing, Retaining and Motivating Effective Volunteers
And Tim Eigo, Editor, Arizona Attorney Magazine, State Bar of Arizona, brought the day’s presentations together with humor and his presentation Communicate Like it Matters: Getting Real About Engagement.

This program was a well-organized success due to the dedication of the Leadership Forum committee chair and AzSAE Board member Jeff Witt. Thank you Jeff for another successful Leadership Forum!

Debbie Webber, CAE

Read More

Slate of Nominees for Board of Directors
Dear AzSAE members,

The AzSAE Nominating Committee, chaired by Past President Jeremy Arp, is pleased to announce that the following AzSAE Members have graciously accepted a nomination to serve as a Director on the AzSAE Board of Directors beginning January 2019 through December 2020:

Wendy Anderton, Global Ties of Arizona (R)
Robin Duncan, Arizona Small Business Association (R)
David Drennon, Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association (R) 
Michelle Huebner, CMP, WeKoPa Resort & Conference Center (A)

If elected, the above candidates will join the following Directors currently serving through 2019:
Debbie Hann, Arizona Small Business Association (R) 
Suzanne Jones, Association of Energy Services Professionals (R) 
Debbie Webber, CAE, (R)
Jeff Witt, Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort (A)
(R)  Regular Member / (A) Associate Member

The final slate of AzSAE Board of Directors will be presented to the membership at the AzSAE Annual Meeting on November 1, 2018 for approximation. 

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the AzSAE office at (480) 946-0119.




Thursday, November 1
11:30am - 1:30pm


Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort
1 N San Marcos Place | Chandler, AZ 85225


Members $40 / Non-Members $60

Presentation: Fabulous Flops in Leadership
Growth as a leader includes learning from your mistakes. Join a lively conversation to openly discuss mis-steps, mistakes and headaches that all association executives face. Identify ways to conduct self-assessments of decision making and blind spots while also addressing the self-care needed to move beyond the problem. Create positive ways to take risks, accept failure and remove blame in your work culture.

About our Presenter:

Tracy Petrillo, EdD, CAE serves as Executive Director for the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Chief Learning Officer for the Construction Specifications Institute. Dr. Petrillo is a nonprofit executive and thought leader in the areas of adult learning, digital credentialing, educational technologies, and leadership development. She was the former Chief Learning Officer for EDUCAUSE serving the global higher education community. Dr. Petrillo is a certified association executive (CAE) who was awarded the highest national honor, the 2016 Professional Performance Award, by the American Society of Association Executives and was named a Changemaker by MeetingsNet magazine. Tracy’s articles have appeared in CalSAE’s, The Executive, the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, ICE Digest and on LinkedIn. She speaks nationally to nonprofit, medical, corporate and higher education audiences and advises educational strategies that achieve agile, impactful workforces and create member value. A lifelong learner and active volunteer, Tracy recently completed her doctorate in educational leadership with a specialization in human resource development and servesd as the 2018 Chair of the ASAE CAE Commission.



54th Annual Awards Gala and Celebration

AzSAE is proud to showcase successes of 2018 by recognizing exceptional association executives and outstanding programs and projects implemented by associations in Arizona. Their commitment, involvement and service to the Valley’s growing nonprofit sector continues to not only further the mission of AzSAE, but to help strengthen the economic vitality of our entire region.


We are welcoming Terri Ouelette, ABC 15 as our Emcee!


Wednesday, December 5

Reception and Silent Auction: 6:00 pm
Dinner and Awards: 7:00 pm


Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix South Mountain

10831 S 51st St | Phoenix, Arizona  85044


Member - $70 

Non-member - $80



Sponsorships are available - click here for a form.


Awards of Excellence Nominations are due October 31st ~ Click below to download a form!


Awards of Excellence

Executive of the Year


Member of the Year





I sat down and added up the total number of “contact” hours we spent together this weekend and came up with 24 hours. 

In those 24 hours we:

How to help our coworkers, members and members’ companies to pursue wellness (for free!)
How to overcome our ADD and appreciate people we meet by simply remembering their names
How to work toward balance by “getting over it” and paying attention to what your body is 
telling you.

We explored the town of Sedona and the beautiful nature in the surrounding mountains on Pink Jeep Tours.

We explored the Verde Valley together for four hours on the Verde Valley Railway, with nothing to distract us from the conversations we had with each other.

We experienced fantastic hospitality and site tours from:
The Hotel at Cliff Castle
Poco Diablo Resort
Marriott Courtyard
Hilton at Bell Rock

We played a little golf and we played a little Frisbee.

We recorded at least a few Mindful Minutes that will help us take the best of what we have learned this weekend with us.
We have renewed acquaintances, caught up with old friends and made new friends. 

I call that 24 hours well spent.


Debbie Webber, CAE
President, AzSAE




Meet Karen Tonkinson, Senior Sales Manager at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock.

Known as Sedona’s adventure headquarters, Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock celebrates its renowned location through inventive fitness and exploration partnerships and active programing. It is an extension of that mission and a reflection of the resort’s continued commitment to providing authentic experiences inspired by Sedona’s colorful landscapes. By creating a comfortable, social environment where guests can kick-start, recharge, or retreat after a fun day of exploring, guests can indulge in the true luxury of Sedona discovery and recovery.  

The Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock is the perfect destination where business meets adventure and discovery. Their unique complex combines 221 guest rooms, 25,000 square feet of meeting event space, Sedona Athletic Club and eforea Spa. The Collective Sedona featuring Art Galleries, Restaurants, Shops and Sedona Golf Resort all within walking distance, there are limitless activities in Sedona.

Karen personally started in the hospitality industry in high school. She worked as a PBX operator and a pool attendant at the Gene Autry Hotel in Palm Springs, CA. She eventually moved into the reservations and sales roles at various properties and has never looked back. She enjoys every day – meeting with clients and helping make their programs a success. Karen became a member of AzSAE because it was an opportunity to share the mystic and energy of Sedona and the Hilton Sedona with other members.

Karen has 2 children, both of whom are students at Grand Canyon University. Consequently, she just became an empty nester.  
She is a chocoholic who loves to see movies, live musical theatre or cheer on her favorite sports teams (Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals or ASU Sun Devils).  
Karen loves to travel and learn about local cultures.  
She has two rescue dogs – a tea cup Chihuahua and a Greagle (Italian greyhound/ beagle mix).
She is trying to venture out more and try new foods so that she can become a true foodie.
Contact Karen at 480-307-6469 or 



Meet Robin Schaeffer, MSN, RN, CAE
Executive Director of the Arizona Nurses Association in Tempe

Robin moved from New York to Arizona in 2006. She has been a nurse since 1978 and all of her jobs had been on the east coast. Needless to say, it was a big change for her to move out west. She lost her entire networking base and didn’t know any nurses in Arizona. So, the first thing she did was join the Arizona Nurses Association (AzNA) so that she could connect with other nurses.  She was so impressed with AzNA’s mission, work and commitment to professional nursing and the health of Arizonans that she wanted to get more involved. She sat on the AzNA Board of Directors for two years. When the executive director resigned, she applied for the position and was hired in 2010.
Being a nurse is something that Robin is comfortable with. Running a not-for-profit business was definitely out of her comfort zone. She joined ASAE and AzSAE early in her ED career so that she could network with others in similar positions and learn from her colleagues. She earned her certification as an association executive (CAE) in 2013, which was one of the best decisions she has ever made. It definitely raised her knowledge and competency levels, which allows her to be the best in her role. She still has formal and informal mentors because she believes we never stop learning. 

Robin recently attended the AzSAE Executive Getaway in Sedona and had a fantastic time. The networking and learning opportunities were wonderful and our sponsor partners were gracious and accommodating. She also attended the Executive Leadership Forum on September 14th.  The speakers and networking opportunities were fantastic. She will continue to attend AzSAE events because she definitely sees the value. She has also started taking her staff to AzSAE events.  

Robin is a recovering workaholic. 
After attending AzNA’s annual Nurses Renewal Retreat in 2016, it was confirmed that nurses are great at taking care of others and horrible at taking care of themselves. Through meditation, essential oils and exercise, she is slowing her life down and really enjoying it.  
Robin and her husband golf and bowl together and sometimes just enjoy the “sounds of silence” and cuddling with their dog, Emma. 
Contact Robin: 480-831-0404,


November Luncheon and Annual Meeting

Wednesday, November 1st 

LIVE WEBINAR: Conversations That Count - Creating a Culture of Coaching in Your Organization
Thursday, November 8th


LIVE WEBINAR: Effective Processes Impact Member Experiences
Thursday, November 29th


54th Annual Awards Gala and Celebration
Wednesday, December 5th 

Read More
Sponsorship Marketing: The Critical Association Roles for Success
By James M. Personius
Personius & Company /

Second of a three-part series, based on the book, “Secrets and Techniques of Sponsorship Marketing: What every association, conference, convention, and seminar needs to know to effectively sell and grow their sponsorships.”

In the first edition of this series, we noted that a huge percentage of association staff cannot explain the value of sponsorships and too many think the point is to get “free stuff” for the attendee bags. Quite simply, this is a symptom of not understanding what a sponsorship really is, what the association is really selling, what its value is, and why it is important to the association, sponsors, and members/attendees. If this is the symptom, the virus is epidemic among associations. We have found this to be true across both professionally-managed and member-managed associations. In this edition, we seek to bring some simple clarity to the complex dynamics of association sponsorships.

First, in sponsorship marketing, associations are selling only one thing: access. Anything else is a distraction. Why? Because access is what sponsors want to buy. What do we mean by “access?” The right sponsors want access to association members and attendees to get their products/solutions, messages, and brands in front of captive association audiences; the right sponsors think that their products/solutions are ideal for your audience. Thus, the right sponsors are willing to pay for that access. Associations should focus on access (thus the importance of understanding the membership demographics) as the primary point of sponsorship marketing.

There are many forms of access. In fact, approximately half of our book content is allocated to providing access that sponsors want to buy and how to increase access value for both the association and the sponsor. Let us take a few examples of items common to most conferences—lanyards/badge holders and attendee bags. Most associations are pleased to just cover the cost of these necessary conference items. But to the right sponsors, this is an opportunity to flood the event with their logo, thus establishing themselves as a major player. Combined with intelligent product imprint design, literature in the bag, or other similar techniques, it is impossible for event attendees to miss the sponsor’s message and the implied endorsement of the association. This is huge for sponsors and almost impossible for the sponsor to replicate affordably in other ways. For smart businesses, sponsorships are a very affordable and very effective method of marketing.

Read Full Article Here

Next: Sponsorship Marketing: Evaluating the Platinum-Gold-Silver-Bronze Structure

About the author: James M. Personius is the owner of Personius & Company and, a boutique management consultancy and promotional products distributorship. His firm specializes in helping associations with their sponsored logo products for their conferences, conventions, and other major events. His book, “Secrets and Techniques of Sponsorship Marketing: What every association, conference, convention, and seminar needs to know to effectively sell and grow their sponsorships” is available on He can be reached at 954-529-7117.


July- October, 2018

Corinne Cook, Marx Productions Inc.
Elizabeth Fantetti,
Professional Beauty Association
Susan Howard
Jeff Kaufman,
Tucson Association of Realtors
Mark Kuyper
Edward Leach,
NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development)
Denise Lewallen, Dynamic Communications Management Partners (DCMP)
Cathy Wagner, Group Management, Inc



Mark Minter, Arizona Builders' Alliance - 20 years
Kathleen Griffin, Care Management Innovations - 19 years
Michelle Huebner, WeKoPa Resort and Conference Center - 14 years
Christa Lombardo,
Association of Energy Services Professionals - 12 years
Angie Whitaker, CAE,
National Assoc of State Contractors Licensing Agencies - 10 years

Five Years
Kristen Merrifield,
Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits
Barbara Bruce,
Poco Diablo Resort, Conference Center & Spa
Lisa Deane,
State Bar of Arizona
Lisa Lewis,
Associated Luxury Hotels International
Samantha Coffman,
Arizona Parks & Recreation Association
Lisa Neff,
Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa
James Tevault,
Tempe Tourism Office

Four Years
Debbie Webber, CAE
Debra Margraf, Arizona Chapter NECA

Three Years
Debbie Hann,
Arizona Small Business Association
Julie Solliday,
DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix-Gilbert
Erica Lange,
Arizona Builders Alliance

Two Years
David Drennon,
Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association
Michelle LaFlam,
Southwest Association Management Incorporated
Kim Burtraw,
Julie Fletcher,
Enterprise Bank & Trust
Pam Koester,
Arizona LeadingAge

One Year
Melissa Hall,
DoubleTree by Hilton Phoenix North
Kimberly Dixon-Williams,
Marc Connerly,
NGCOA Arizona 


Thank You to Our Key Partners



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10/28/2020 » 10/29/2020
2020 Executive Leadership Forum

November Annual Meeting and Luncheon