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Association Forum’s 2nd Annual Forum Forward Event Paves Road to Innovation

By Melissa Walling posted 07-02-2016 19:53


More than 400 Association Management Professionals Attend Conference in Nation’s 2nd Largest Association Market

CHICAGO (July 16, 2015) – More than 400 association management professionals joined the journey to association innovation and success during the Association Forum’s second annual Forum Forward™, June 16-18 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

The event once again featured a completely different annual meeting experience to demonstrate what the association of the future could look like. It offered provocative and engaging keynote speakers, an impressive lineup of non-association industry presenters, a futuristic learning format and an exhibit space that pushed the boundaries.

Cutting-Edge Content 

Content was centered on six content pillars: the association model of the future, leadership horizons, marketing, technological innovation, expanding relevancy and revenue and women’s vista. Among this year’s keynote presenters and headliners who offered forward-thinking ideas and action-oriented solutions: The Greatness Group Co-Founder Gina Mollicone-Long, Velvet Chainsaw’s Jeff Hurt, and Indiegogo’s Kate Drane. 

Opening speaker Gina Mollicone-Long, co-founder of The Greatness Group, provided a message of authenticity—drawing from her experience of traveling the world one year with her family—about how to make dreams a reality and stay true to your values: "The first step to getting anywhere is deciding you're no longer willing to stay where you are. Until you are no longer willing to be where you are, change is impossible." She says she taught herself to embrace change through "repetition." 

Indiegogo’s Kate Drane explained how through crowdfunding it’s possible to obtain big revenue goals when working with small budgets. “Crowdfunding can do wonders for your business—helping it raise money, gain visibility, gauge demand, mitigate risk and connect with your audience.” 

In addition, the following dynamic leaders addressed some the association industry’s top leaders at Forum Forward’s exclusive CEOnly® Summit: GLOBALSTRAT Founder Terrance Barkan, CAE, United Airlines’ Greg Jones, GE Healthcare’s Robert Schwartz and The MASIE Center Founder Elliott Masie.

Futuristic Exhibit Hall 

Forum Forward's unconventional response to the traditional tradeshow—the Innovation Hub—enabled attendees to meet with more than 20 exhibitors in a "genius bar" format to explore the latest tools and technologies that can transform how they manage their organizations and member experiences. In that space, attendees heard concurrent "theater-style" presentations within the two Think Tank Theaters. 

“We were excited this year to introduce an education track focused on women’s issues, provide more innovative education session delivery and room design, and facilitate more opportunities for people to naturally connect and collaborate,” said Association Forum President and CEO Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE. “ 

Attendees also got a chance to give back in partnership with Tourism Vancouver by assembling 1,500-plus hygiene kits—500 more than last year—from Clean the World's One Project that will be distributed to ChildServ, a local organization assisting Chicagoland's at-risk families build and sustain better lives.

View attendees’ Forum Forward experiences and top takeaways on Twitter at #FFWD15 

Forum Forward 2015 Tuesday Highlights

Forum Forward 2015 Highlights

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Partners Make it Possible

Association Forum recognizes this event would not be possible without the support from its partners. View the complete list of the generous industry partners who supported Forum Forward.

About the Association Forum
The mission of the Association Forum is to “advance the professional practice of association management.” Founded in 1916, the Association Forum serves 47,000 association professionals whose efforts serve more than 37 million members and generate $22 billion in global annual expenditures. Visit


Jemilah Senter (312) 924-7030