Brandon Robinson, CAE is executive director with the Virginia Society of Association Executives (VSAE) in Richmond, Virginia. The group recently held its 2018 Annual Conference in Norfolk.

Why did VSAE select Norfolk, Va., for its 2018 Annual Conference? 

VSAE’s Annual Conference is the premier educational conference for association professionals in Virginia. Typically attracting around 200 attendees, including association CEOs, their staff and representatives from companies that supply goods and services to associations, the three-day conference incorporates receptions, opening and closing keynotes, and eight breakouts organized into four content tracks.

We typically rotate the conference between Western Virginia and Coastal Virginia.

Norfolk, with its newly renovated hotels, restaurants and riverfront area, seemed like an ideal destination.

Which Norfolk venues and experiences does VSAE have lined up for the conference?

The conference starts with an opening reception hosted by the newly renovated Sheraton Norfolk Waterside. After the reception, attendees are on their own to explore the brand new Waterside District or any of the great local restaurants and bars. The program moves to the newly opened Hilton Norfolk The Main for Monday through the end of the conference.

The goal of the conference is to provide top-notch education combined with great networking opportunities in a fun environment via pre- and post-conference activities.

These are a great way for the host city to show off all it has to offer, which for our Norfolk program include Norfolk Tides Minor League Baseball at Harbor Park, the Nauticus museum, and tours of two local breweries, O’Connor Brewing Co. and Smartmouth Brewing Co.

Following the theme of the conference, what "Ideas That Work" is VSAE is focusing on?

The biggest idea we are excited about at VSAE is the Association Leadership Virginia program, which launches at this year’s Annual Conference. This program is a year-long cohort-style leadership development program for association professionals.

It is the only program of its kind in Virginia. Participants will go through six intensive day-long sessions on different content pillars including leadership, membership, HR, finance, program and volunteer management, and advocacy and communications.

Years in the making, this program is directly tied into our vision to help our members be the best they can be at serving their association and its members.