Programs & Education

Academy of Association Management

The Academy of Association Management is the only statewide educational program specifically designed for association professionals who want to broaden their understanding of association management in an interactive and engaging manner. Throughout 2021, sessions will be held virtually, and incorporate multiple learning styles, tailoring to the needs of busy adult learners. Sessions cover core competencies critical to successful association management.

View recent graduates here.

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Academy Overview

Session Details

Below is the course outline for each session.

Finance and Budgeting

  • 11-9-2020 | 10 AM - 12:30 PM | Course recording available for make-up session

Financial results are a vital component to gauging an association’s success and accomplishing its mission. As a result, it’s important that even those outside of the finance department understand the benchmarks and metrics, as well as the policies and procedures necessary to maintain and safeguard an association’s assets.
This course provides the foundational skills necessary to interpret your financial information and make impactful decisions to maintain financial health and adapt for the challenges ahead.

Leadership, Diversity, and Inclusion

  • 11-23-20 | 10 AM - 12:30 PM | Course recording available for make-up session

When an association values differences and creates a welcoming environment – one that is comfortable, inclusive, and empowering – they open the door for innovation, increased participation, and an elevated sense of community and belonging for all. With evolving and highly diverse memberships and workforce, statements are not enough. Session participants should come ready to share and explore how associations can value differences and create welcoming environments to maximize member engagement and add value to your associations.

Meeting Planning

  • 12-14-20 | 10 AM - 12:30 PM | Course recording available for make-up session

This session will provide a basic overview of best practices in meeting planning for virtual and in-person meetings from the perspectives of both a veteran meetings planner and a supplier. Participants will gain an understanding of:
1. An event planning timeline from securing a venue through meeting promotions and communications
2. Meeting budget preparation including data collection for assumptions and pricing strategies
3. Speaker identification and contracts
4. Meeting logistics including setup, capacities, special needs as well as food and beverage

Professional Development

  • 1-11-21 | 10 AM - 12:30 PM  | Course recording available for make-up session

Industry-specific professional development is a core benefit provided by most associations. In this session, participants will discover how quality professional development can drive participation in conferences, workshops, seminars, and webinars. Collectively, the group will consider the changing influence of networking in our customer’s decision to participate and explore content delivery, learning styles, and evaluation of professional development programs.

Public Relations and Marketing

  • 2-15-21 | 10 AM - 12:30 PM | Course recording available for make-up session

Perception is reality. In this engaging session, two accomplished executives will bring focus and new perspective to the public relations and marketing activities that shape an association’s brand. Instructors will help participants think strategically about the audiences an association needs to influence, and lead the group though the process of developing a plan that integrates marketing, public relations, and branding. This Academy session will provide association professionals a basic understanding of the critical roles public relations, marketing and branding play for associations.

Knowledge Management

  • 3-15-21  |  9:30 AM - 12:00 PM  |  Course recording available for make-up session

How does your association identify, organize, and make available the collective knowledge and information that is contained within it? The overall objective of knowledge management is to create value and to leverage, improve, and refine an association's competencies and knowledge assets to meet organizational goals and member needs. In this Academy session attendees will learn to:
• Assess the state of knowledge management in their organizations
• Recognize the need for intentional development of knowledge management resources
• Begin to develop a content strategy for their departments within a larger knowledge management environment

Government Relations and Public Policy

  • 4-19-21  | 10 AM - 12:30 PM  |  Course recording available for make-up session

Now more than ever, members look to their associations to represent their interests at the local, state and federal levels. But COVID-19 and the 2020 election have dramatically changed the landscape of association government relations. Coalitions have new significance. New legislators are in office. The authority of the executive office, state departments, and local officials ebbs and flows. In this Academy session, participants will learn about the fundamentals of association government relations programs, why they are critical to so many associations and the laws and regulations that apply to association lobbying activities.


  • 5-24-21  | 10 AM - 12:30 PM   |  Course recording available for make-up session

In many ways, membership is the very essence of associations. This session will provide participants with an overview of the importance and role that membership plays in various types of non-profit organizations. With the expert guidance of two veteran association executives as instructors, participants will learn about what motivates the decision to join, commonly used membership models, core tenets of recruitment, retention and the member life cycle, as well as the value of data for strategy, benchmarking and member service.

Diversified Revenue and Fundraising

  • 6-21-21  | 10 AM - 12:30 PM

Revenue generation is essential to leading a successful association. Learn about generating association non-dues revenue including sponsorships, advertising, and affinity programs. Take the fear out of fundraising by learning what motivates people to give and how data can strategically promote your association and attract your supporters. Acquire skills and tools used by professional fundraisers to build your program.

Governance and Structure

  • 8-16-21  | 10 AM - 12:30 PM

One of the things that make associations unique is how we are governed. “Governance” is the process by which decisions are made at all organizational levels. The value added to associations by their boards of directors will be the major focus of Association Governance. Collectively, we will examine the Michigan Nonprofit Corporation Act requirements, board roles, structure, decision processes, and authority delegated to staff and consider their impacts on an association’s ability to survive or thrive in challenging times.

Strategic Planning

  • 9-20-21  | 10 AM - 12:30 PM

In this session on strategic planning, we will learn how to create an actionable and resilient strategic plan that enhances organizational effectiveness through:

  • Assessing your organization’s readiness for change · Developing a toolkit to understand stakeholder and member needs
  • Understanding how strategy is developed, who is involved, and how your plan will address the needs of your organization
  • Applying the interacting elements of strategy into an effective, sustainable process based on your organization’s culture.


Finance and Budgeting

Bradley DeVries, CPA, CAE
Yeo & Yeo P.C. CPA's & Business Consultants

Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion

Edward Woods III
Executive Director
Lansing Area Safety Council

Meeting Planning

Debbie Kopkau, MBA, CAE, CMP, GMS
Certification Director
Michigan School Business Officials

Rachelle Grockau, GMS
Sales Manager
Great Wolf Lodge and Conference Center

Professional Development

Aaron Wolowiec, CAE, CMP, CTA, CLEA, CTF, MT, CDP
Event Garde

Public Relations and Marketing

Chelsey M.B. Martinez
Director of Communications and Operations
Michigan Association of Superintendents & Administrators

John Tramontana, CAE

Executive Director
Michigan Veterinary Medicine Association

Knowledge Management

Sue Radwan, MEd, ARM, CAE, SMP
Leading Edge Mentoring

Government Relations and Public Policy

Dawn Crandall
Political Affairs Director
Home Builders Association of Michigan


Marcy Dwyer, MBA, CAE, CMP
Executive Director
Detroit District Dental Society

Lori Birman, CAE
Vice President of Membership and Development
Small Business Association of Michigan

Diversified Revenue and Fundraising

Gretchen Couraud, CAE, CFRE

Governance and Structure

Larry Merrill, CAE
Senior Consultant
Public Policy Associates

Strategic Planning

Michael Moss, CAE
Society for College and University Planning



All 2021 sessions are virtual. 

Register Now

 Register Online Full Course: $800 (member) $900 (non-member)
Single Session: $85 (member) $185 (non-member)

The Academy has open enrollment so you can start at any time in the cycle and MSAE will register you for any remaining sessions in the following cycle. All sessions for 2021 are virtual. 

Consent to Use Photographic Images

Registration and attendance at, or participation in, MSAE meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to the use and distribution of the registrant or attendees’ image or voice in photographs, videotapes, electronic reproductions, and audiotapes of such events and activities by MSAE.

Cancellation/Refund Policy

If received in writing at least seven business days before the first class of your full course, you will be refunded your registration fee minus a $50 administrative charge. Cancellations not received in writing by the date required will not be eligible for a refund. No-shows will not be refunded.

For single session participants, no refunds will be granted seven business days prior to the scheduled session. Substitutions may be made at any time. The difference between the member and nonmember price will apply if a nonmember replaces a member. All refund requests must be submitted in writing to


If a date doesn’t work in your schedule, you may view the session recording and take the short reflective practice questionnaire to earn credit or wait until the 2022 session. Contact for questions.