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Resilience of Associations in Asia Pacific: Leading and Managing in 2021

Alyx BernardoEvent Marketing

Alyx Bernardo,

Event Marketing

Apr 06, 2021

The whole world was at a standstill when the pandemic hit early last year. At the end of 2020, companies shifted to working remotely and embraced the fast-paced developments in technology. To this day, they are still experiencing challenges when they took the leap in managing their teams using a different structure and utilizing technology.

Glue Up’s recent thought leadership event ‘Association Leaders: Leading and Managing in 2021’ gathered great speakers across the Asia-Pacific region. During the session, top leaders answered meaningful questions about handling remote teams and finding solutions to challenges most organizations face. Moreover, they also offered helpful strategies to effectively lead during a pandemic.

Some of the key takeaways are successful virtual leadership strategies for remote staff and hybrid teams, transitioning a virtual office into a hybrid office plan, keeping connected with teams, and how to guide associations through the change management process.

Glue Up hosts events and webinars and invites top-level association leaders and industry leaders to speak about industry challenges and opportunities. Learn more about our upcoming events.


Leadership Strategies: Managing Remote and Hybrid Teams


"My top priority is to let members know the most important thing, which is why we are here. Also, I want to let them know that I'm trusted in the organization. We have to make sure that we're working at the same pace as our members."

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"There was widespread panic, but we delivered messages with calm and confidence while working in tandem with the government and health agencies to address COVID-19. Collaborating with the government allowed us to shore up some financial assistance to support small businesses during the pandemic."

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"We came to realize that associations cannot live by subscription membership alone. Meaning, we cannot only rely on membership dues that members pay every year. The idea is to look at diversification of revenue, as associations need revenue to fulfill their purpose and mission. This kind of diversification had led us to provide not only training and career development."

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"We would love to take ideas from them at this point rather than imposing our strategies to open two-way discussions. Some of them were experts or employees who are already working remotely. We chose them as mentors and trainers to train and assist those who were new to remote work."

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Adapting to Digital Transformation

"While we were all cautious about the impact of COVID-19, we tried to introduce different activities they can engage in when the general managers were offline. One example is the coffee roulette. Individuals can have a cup of coffee with somebody without a clue on who the person is. Active participation helped rebuild connectivity across all our membership."

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"Digital transformation is now the front and center among association business leaders' top priorities. Adopting digital technologies shows that associations are very resilient. However, you need to make sure that you have been prudent with your financial position. The pandemic gave valuable lessons like taking small steps to go digital. It's the best route to the future, as you need to engage with your members and find out how you can help, which is your purpose. Lastly, you also have to look after your financial situation to make your organization's mission thrive and better serve your members and partners."

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"There's a difference between winning and awareness. By promoting awareness, you tell members the importance of training. For association preparedness to take place, we've made investments for the future and have seen phenomenal results."

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Lessons Learned and Moving Forward

"As a leader, I've learned that it's important to stay positive. As you engage at the front, you have to show enthusiasm all the time and maintain a positive outlook. We should always come up with solutions and build recommendations to problems and issues. After this, we ask the board to let members sign on which ones to remove or pick."

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"For us in Australia, we were lucky that both state and federal governments tend to make their own decisions separate from each other regarding the different tiers of government. However, the pandemic forced them into working together, and it created a new culture of collaboration. It signaled to us that they are open to new ideas. We believe that we’re not only surviving COVID-19, but we’re thriving at the same time."

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"We learned that we need to have this organizational culture in terms of its corporate profits. In the end, it's all about purpose. As long as the team knows the purpose and we align our energies and services to it, there will be teamwork and family orientation. Also, you have to look at leading by example and, of course, good governance. Fairness, accountability, and transparency matter when running an association."

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"We learned that a growth story starts when you are in touch with stakeholders, clients, and subject matter experts in challenging times. If you want to be different, begin with the people you are serving, which is a great learning opportunity."

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Be One Step Ahead! The Future Is Now.

At the onslaught of the pandemic, facing and surviving the most uncertain of times has led to a fast-paced transition into the digital age. The Asia-Pacific region did just that, by embracing the ‘new normal’ and thriving by utilizing and adapting to new technologies like Glue Up’s Association Management Suite

2020 posed daunting challenges not only to associations but to businesses as well. This year, let us all take the initiative to move a step forward and be one step ahead. At Glue Up, we are one with all the associations as they continue to stay relevant to support and help pave the way to a new digital world.

Book a demo with us on our association management suite. With it, you will discover how Glue Up can help simplify your backend association management and keep your members satisfied, especially during these challenging times.

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Marcel Ewals, Director, Community Development, MCI Group
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