A conversation with Anne Kleffner, Ginger Phillips, and Frank Tomasello, about what lies ahead in 2021.

What led the ARIA Board to make the decision to move forward with a change in the ARIA Executive Office and to pursue a new strategic relationship with The Institutes?

Anne: The Institutes has served as the Executive Office for ARIA since 1999. Because the most recent 5-year contract term was ending on December 31, 2020, ARIA issued a Request for Proposals for organizations interested in serving as our Executive Office. An ARIA Search Committee, chaired by Martin Grace, was charged with identifying respondents that were strong players and two emerged: The Institutes and Arden Solutions Association Management. Through the search process we became aware that ARIA would benefit from having an Executive Office that had expertise in association management support, in particular membership management and engagement. To benefit from both the expertise of Arden as well at the connections of The Institutes, Frank Tomasello proposed that ARIA become a strategic partner with TI to leverage its relationships and expertise while engaging Arden for the Executive Office role. The board unanimously agree that this new arrangement will serve ARIA into the future as we work towards our strategic goals.

What are you most looking forward to in your new role as Executive Director? Where will your primary areas of focus lie?

Ginger: I am very excited to be working with the ARIA leadership team, journal editors, committees, and members.  I also would like to extend my gratitude to The Institutes for their generous assistance during this time of transition and very much look forward to helping foster the strategic relationship between ARIA and The Institutes. As Executive Director, our management team and I will be working diligently on membership, strategic planning, bylaws updating, conference planning, operations, policy guidance and much more. In the days ahead, I look forward to working closely with leadership on the upcoming conference in early August and look forward to e-meeting members there.

What areas will ARIA see the most benefit from Arden’s association management experience and expertise?

Ginger: In addition to working on the operational aspects of ARIA and engaging with established committees, I look forward to helping ARIA grow its membership, one of our strategic initiatives. We have already started building a new association management system to enable members to renew more easily, access a member-to-member directory, build a prospective member list, foster communications, support committee work and provide data to support the efforts of the membership committee. Watch for the debut of this new system at the annual conference in August. Our staff have expertise in membership growth, meetings management, communications, among other areas and bring this collective experience to the table. Of special interest is our work with association strategic planning where it is my role as Executive Director to ask questions that will help Board leadership refine their already articulated ideas into goals and then into operational efforts with timelines that allow implementation and tracking of goal progress. ARIA members should be pleased at the committed efforts of their Board, truly a working Board of Directors. I am most pleased to be working with them on your behalf and on behalf of the ARIA mission.

Can you provide us with some background on our new Executive Office team serving ARIA?

Ginger: I am Arden Solutions principal and founded it almost 10 years ago, moving from a one-person effort, to a staff of 7.5 FTE. My expertise in association management, educational program planning, adult learning, and continuing professional education help Arden Solutions’ clients achieve their mission in service to their members. Ginger serves as ARIA’s new Executive Director.

Holly Roseski is an Account Executive with more than a decade in association and non-profit management experience. Her focus has been in leading teams in training development, 17024 certification programs, communication and marketing. She’s adept at building and maintaining memberships among volunteer teams and gaining collaboration and acceptance even from hard to reach groups. Holly will work with communications and marketing for ARIA, among other things.

Sherry Colodny has recently joined Arden Solutions and is Member’s go-to person for all member inquiries, Listserv submissions, and first responder to ARIA email at info@ARIA.org. Sherry has over 25 years’ experience working with associations, university, and corporate programs and she has been either a direct report or contractor to Ginger Phillips in the past. She will also be working on the ARIA conference.

Kindra Bess is our Executive Meeting Planner and will be responsible for working with the Conference Chair on the annual conference. Kindra has more than 26 years of experience meeting planning, planning conferences of over 1,600 people and training programs of several hundred. An excellent negotiator, she is also adept at attracting sponsorships. Kindra can maximize resources and deliver high-quality conferences she enjoys working with organizations that provide education for their members.

Barbara LaGreca is Arden Solutions’ full-time bookkeeper who also serves human resources functions. She brings over 20 years’ experience in non-profit bookkeeping She will maintain ARIA’s financial records.

Two others complete the Arden Solutions staff and while not working directly with ARIA both Judith Tilton, Account Executive, and Patty Hummel, Administrative Assistant, may occasionally help with ARIA programs or answer the phone for ARIA.

 How will the relationship between ARIA and The Institutes evolve in the year ahead?

Frank: The Institutes values its longstanding relationship with ARIA and welcomes an opportunity to collaborate on a more strategic level. A key component in the evolution of our relationship is an appreciation for and commitment to the missions of the respective organizations. This will inform and inspire our re-imagined and more strategic relationship.

What will your role be in advancing this strategic collaboration with ARIA?

Frank: Moving forward, I will serve as Project Director, responsible for leading exploration and dialogue with our friends at ARIA as, together, we consider what this collaboration will look like. From an Institutes perspective, we want to understand and appreciate ARIA’s strategic goals. Through the lens of those goals, we want to identify synergies between the organizations. We believe that collaborative opportunities may exist in the areas of research, content and events. We are excited about working through next steps and about the evolution of our longstanding relationship.  This is an opportunity to chart some new territory together for the benefit of our organizations and those that we serve.