The start of a new year often prompts us for personal or professional reflection. And in 2024, resources focused on growth and self-improvement have never been more widely accessible. From podcasts to masterclasses and educational trainings, we can easily tap into processes and insights for growth. But let's not overlook another valuable resource - the insights and perspectives from our own colleagues. In this month's Executive Take, we asked four association professionals:

What is the best professional advice you have received?

"I once had a manager who told me that she would never hire anyone she couldn't see herself eventually working for. This has stayed with me for a long time, and I think it puts a different light on how we should see colleagues and team members. Approach them with humility as we can all learn from others and their skills, experiences, and insights no matter where they are on an organizational chart. Entrust team members with responsibilities and trust their abilities without having to prescribe every step."

Jay daughtry

Jay Daughtry, M.Ed.

CQbd| Chief Communications Officer/Owner

"Years ago, someone told me you need to be 10 times better or different, and it's easier to be different than 10 times better. Find a way to be different. Find a way to create a different offering, different marketing strategy, different pricing strategy, a different approach to delivering value and you’ll stand out.


Sheri Jacobs, FASAE, CAE

Avenue M Group | President & CEO


"While in sales, if you present an offer, stop talking. Say the price and then just stay quiet – wait for them to talk."


Elizabeth Johnson

Big Red M | Executive Vice President

At some point early in my career, I listened to a speaker from a publicly owned company discuss their process for innovation. They were a goal driven group down to the individual level and everyone, from the top of the organization to the bottom, had an annual "innovation goal." The message was that all employees were being paid to sit back at some point and think about how to make things better and they would be celebrated and rewarded for all ideas big and small. I adopted this idea early on as a manager and it significantly influenced our culture, how people came to view their contributions to our success and ultimately our outcomes."

chris strong

Chris Strong

Experienced Senior Executive and Association Management Specialist