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Ruth Abrahamson

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ruth has spent over 30 years in the association management, non-profit, charitable and consulting fields. She has lived and worked in Canada, the UK and France and speaks English, French and German. She is CEO of Base Consulting, located in Toronto, Canada.

Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, business and partnership development, marketing, programming, association administration and operational oversight, organizational financial planning, board development and governance, international convention management and senior not-for-profit and charitable sector recruitment. 

Ruth participates in several industry associations including the Canadian Society of Association Executives, American Society of Association Executives, Association Management Companies Institute (where she serves on the Board of the AMCI Canadian Chapter), Meeting Professionals International and Tourism Toronto, where she has held various volunteer leadership roles over the years. Ruth serves on Ryerson University’s “Magnet” Advisory Council (a digital resource project), and on committees of the Mackenzie Health Foundation. She is a Past Chair of the Board at social services agency JVS Toronto.

Given her vast range of experience in the industry, we asked Ruth for her perspective on the current state of the industry, the value of an AMCI membership, and what she sees coming down the pipe for Base Consulting.

What issues/challenges are you focusing on with your clients and how are you addressing them?

 Most of our clients are professional associations, largely representing individuals and organisations who are practicing in, consulting to or selling products and services to a specific sector. I don’t know that any of our ongoing challenges change much over the years, and there are so many.  But if we had to identify a couple of our current priorities, they would be:

1) To support various associations in keeping their roles as the key resource venue for their sector – through events, activities, information sessions, outreach, updating content in member areas and public areas of their websites and engaging with partners of varying descriptors. We do this through constant support, bringing new ideas to the table, planning and driving agendas and strategies, as well as supporting and managing their implementation.

2) We stay on top of best practices, technology, etc. in association management – on the technology side this usually translates into things like ensuring the association moves onto a good integrated AMS platform & website, or using a conference app. As for best practices, we bring along ideas and knowledge we have learned from keeping abreast in our industry and the general business world.

What do you think is the primary value of your membership in AMCI?

AMCI helps us keep abreast of what is going on in the industry, filling gaps for us and helping us learn about top and current association management best practices, from a multi-management perspective.

We find the international perspective and connections are always of interest, as we have international clients; and of course, coming from Europe, I have specific insights and points of contact. Also, we particularly appreciate the collegiality of fellow members, which seems to get better from year to year. Or is it that the more engaged we become, the more familiar we are with our colleagues and more comfortable in asking for information? You know, the lesson that we teach all of our clients and constantly remind ourselves is that you get more out when you put more in.

Are there any upcoming milestones for you/your organization?

As a matter of fact, yes. In 2018 we turn 30! That’s not really an exact number, as my father had been running the company a few years prior in a somewhat different capacity, but I joined it in 1988 and we started to strategise and focus on association management from then on. He retired in 1998 by the way, so it is also 20 years since I bought him out!

For more information Ruth and Base Consulting’s work, go to www.baseconsulting.ca.



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Michelle Tidwell

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Michelle is a Senior Project Manager at Parthenon Management Group where she oversees their work for the Schizophrenia International Research Society. She has a Masters Degree in Social Work from Azusa Pacific University where her education focused on non-profit management in addition to the clinical aspects of social work. Michelle is passionately committed to the non-profit sector and has participated in over a dozen international humanitarian projects focused on mental health education implementation in various cultures and populations.   

 We asked Michelle for her perspective on the issues facing the industry, the value of AMCI to her, and the milestones Parthenon Management Group sees coming down the pipe.

Q. What challenges are you focusing on with your clients and how are you addressing them?

I think the ongoing challenge is always communication.  We work in a technology-driven environment giving us an excuse not to look past an email or a document to see the person behind the work. I try and keep in mind that I work with people and that our profession is driven by the individuals behind the emails. This is empowering and helps me understand how important my day-to-day work tasks are. I try to stay in constant communication with my Board of Directors and committee chairs through emails, phone calls and by making it a point to say hello at meetings or in person. My hope is that by having a more personal communication approach, the client feels valued which keeps the organization relevant and growing. 

Q. What do you think is the primary value of your membership in AMCI?

Simply put, I value the connection with other members who are in the same industry. Being involved in AMCI provides the opportunity for members to have a community in their field that is incredibly beneficial for anyone who is fairly new to association management or who has been in the industry for decades. Through these networks, we are able to share best practices, tips and tricks, and connect in this growing field.

I look forward to having more opportunities to be involved in AMCI through various committees and events

Q. Are there any upcoming milestones for you or your organization that you’d like to share?

The organization I manage has typically held an international biennial meeting. However, they will now add a meeting in North America on their traditional off years. This is a huge milestone for the organization to grow from hosting one meeting to two. It is also a great demonstration of the growth of not only this organization’s field, but also the association management field as a whole.

I have seen our staff double in size, the number of associations expand and our current associations show notable growth.

For more information on Parthenon Management Group and Michelle, go to http://parthenonmanagementgroup.com.

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