Dallas Fort Worth Association Executives
The Season of In Between PDF Print Email
Sunday, October 03, 2021 05:26 PM

The Season of In Between

By Cathey Wise, CAE

I was the executive director of a thriving 19,000 member association.

Until I wasn’t. I served a noble mission for 7+ years.

Until I didn’t.

Association staff know we can be in a vulnerable position serving the will of ever-changing Boards. But when the Board wants to go in another direction and you are now looking for your next mission to serve, it’s a kick in the gut.

I’ve defined this career gap as the “season of in between.” It’s a time for reflection, introspection, and catching up.

It feels great and sucks a lot -- all at the same time.

Here are a few things that might be helpful if you face a similar season:


As professionals, we tend to align ourselves with our work and its noble mission. We find power in our work and it can define our personal identity. Is this a healthy perspective? Probably not. For me, it’s true nonetheless.

When I meet someone new, they ask, “What do you do?” I used to stumble and feel inadequate. Now I say, “I’m in the season of in between looking for a noble mission to serve.” Do I get puzzled looks? Yep! And, I use this as an opportunity to connect and network.

What’s Next?

Realizing what I WANT to do, as well as what I do NOT want to do has tremendous value. Make a list of what you do not want to do. It’s an anxiety-reducing exercise and can get you one step closer to what you want to do.

Feel It and Let it Go

When this happened to me, I allowed myself two days to lick my wounds. Why? If I did not set a limit, I may not have gotten out of bed. While I’m still obsessing over what ifs, I’m striving to look forward. This is a work in progress.


Strengthening my faith has been my foundation of this season. Slowing down, looking forward and looking up have kept me grounded and reduced my anxiety. I encourage you to connect with your higher power to provide peace and clarity.

Approach This Season Like A Job

Each day, I look for opportunities and connections. Set the alarm, get dressed and tackle the day!

Connect or Reconnect

Have you been planning to visit loved ones, but could not align a trip with your schedule? Plan almost-free trips. For us, we packed a car and headed to friends eager to host us in their homes. While we don’t have the financial confidence to hop on a plane, we are making the most of a few tanks of gas and free places to stay.

Dig deeper with your professional tribe to connect and grow. For me, DFWAE is where I’m making deeper connections. Maybe DFWAE could be for you too?

Projects and To-Do's

I finally cleaned the attic and decluttered our home resulting in a huge yard sale and many donated items. This felt GREAT and made me feel like I accomplished something.

Connect Your Interest with Learning

DEI is an area of interest where I want to grow. I’m exploring courses and certifications to align interests with professional learning. Be a student!

This Season Can Be More than Work

This “season of in between” transcends more than work. It can be transitions in personal relationships, young children, empty nesting, or caring for parents. Or loss brought on by COVID. This season can be unexpected or planned. While it can look different for each of us, it can pack a similar punch. Identify and name this season and what it means for you. It can help you move forward.

Self Care and Self Compassion are Not Just Buzzwords

I used to be an avid reader. I am now reading a book FOR LEISURE! I'm reading for joy and loving it! Be kind to yourself and make sure your self-talk is positive and productive. I’m mindful of my “self talk” to ensure a healthier mental space. Take care of yourself during this season, and let others take care of you too.


I’m still figuring it out. Some days I move forward and other days I stall. With that said, I am confident that my next opportunity will be fulfilling and my contributions will be valued. I want to maximize this season to better myself, to connect with my beloveds and to remind myself what’s really important.

I don’t wish any of you a season of in between. But if you find yourself in one, you will be OK and might even be stronger because of it. And I’m here as a new friend and someone you can talk to as we figure it out together.

Wanna talk? Hit me up on DFWAEngage!
2021-2022 DFWAE Board of Directors Approved PDF Print Email
Thursday, June 10, 2021 09:55 PM

The 2021-2022 DFWAE Officer and Director Positions have been elected by acclamation and are listed below.

The DFWAE Board of Directors comprises five officers, seven Regular members, two Associate members, and one CVB/Hospitality member, for a total of 15 members.


Shawna Strickland, PhD, CAE – American Epilepsy Society

Valerie Bakies-Lile, CAE - American College of Osteopathic OBGYNs

Alyssa Meek, CMP - Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography

Shasta Foy, CAE

Mollie Pillman, MS-HSM, MBA, CAE - American Osteopathic Association

Amanda Feil, CAE - American Association for Respiratory Care

Melissa Ball, CAE - National Athletic Trainers' Association

Eme Augustini - National Association of Dental Plans

Beth Roach - American College of Osteopathic OBGYNs

Kim Hopkins - CREW Dallas

Cathey Wise, CAE

Greta Zeimetz, PhD, CAE, - American Association of Professional Landmen

Leslie Shannon - Salmon Sims Thomas

David Ferrer - Alchemer, iDonate

Amanda Wells - Arlington Convention and Visitors Bureau


On behalf of the Nominating Committee, we wish to express our deepest appreciation to all nominees and nominators for their interest in serving in a DFWAE leadership role.

DFWAE Nominating Committee Members

Jonathan Kraatz - USGBC Texas Chapter(Immediate Past President / Chair)
Debi Kensell - Restaurant Facility Management Association (Regular Member)
Greg Vaughn - Texas Association of Workforce Boards (Regular Member)
Kris Williams - International News Media Association (Regular Member)
Melanie Hoover - Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB Member)
Leona Scott - JEP Marketing Communications (Associate Member) 

DFWAE DEI Task Force organizes into workgroups, seeks new volunteers PDF Print Email
Thursday, June 10, 2021 09:39 PM

By Eme Augustini, DEI Task Force Member 

The DFWAE Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force continues its work to analyze DFWAE governance and activities in light of the Association’s statement and commitment to DEI: 

People feel a sense of belonging when differences are embraced and valued. DFWAE is dedicated to nurturing equality by creating spaces for the voices least heard, providing educational opportunities to grow leaders, instilling a greater understanding of diverse and equitable environments, and expanding opportunities to collaborate with one another to ensure DFWAE is reflective of the larger, richer community of association voices. We commit to raising awareness and cultivating an atmosphere and culture that is inclusive for all.

The Task Force meets monthly and organizes its efforts into several workgroups: 

  • Data collection: To assess DFWAE’s currently available demographic information, design information collection processes, and consider benchmarks related to DEI.

  • Bylaws/policy review: To review the DFWAE Bylaws & Policies and whether they cultivate and support a culture of DEI.

  • Website/marketing review: Review the DFWAE website and marketing to determine if they support inclusion and reflect the DEI Statement.

  • Education/resource development: To recommend DEI education and resources that should be developed for members and the organizations they support.

Two additional workgroups related to Nominating Process Review and the DEI Statement have concluded their work. 

The Task Force and four Workgroups listed above are open to new members. Contact Janet Kane if you are interested in volunteering. 

Please stay tuned—the Task Force will keep DFWAE members apprised of its activities and share DEI-related resources in future newsletters.

Eme Augustini is the executive director of the National Association of Dental Plans.  

What I Wish I Had Known About the CAE PDF Print Email
Thursday, April 29, 2021 06:24 PM

What I wish I had known about pursuing the CAE designation 

By Kimberly Hopkins, DFWAE Board Member and 2021 CAE candidate

I recently started my 14th year in the association industry.  About 8 years in, I discovered that there was a designation for the industry and started contemplating whether it was something I wanted to pursue, and its value in my career.  In hindsight, I realize I spent much of my early career in association management entrenched in the industry in which the association I work for represents. When I decided to join DFWAE in 2014, it provided an outlet to build my professional contacts and gain access to relevant education for career growth that I had not had before.



As I attended DFWAE events, I would frequently come across DFWAE members who had earned their designation and it was a constant reminder and inspiration to me.  I continued to question whether I had the time and focus needed to earn my designation and thought about it as being a far-off goal.  

Then, I attended DFWAE A Day in 2018.  I was introduced to Darrin Scheid while browsing the expo booth and there is no way he could have known how encouraging his words were.  He briefly shared his CAE journey and how the designation has positively impacted his career.  It was likely a 6 minute conversation from what I remember, but it inspired me and gave me the first realization that there are study resources available to CAE candidates.  After A Day that year I decided that this far-off goal was something I did desire and for the first time, it wasn’t as overwhelming to think about it.    

In 2019, I wrote down on a sticky note that my career and personal goal was to take the CAE exam in 2020.  The timing for this felt slow and steady and manageable.  I had accumulated about 1/3 of the required continuing education hours in 2017 and knew that the hours were good for up to 5 years so also had a sense of urgency and found the focus that I needed to launch me on the designation path.

2020, you were not the year any of us imagined!  I ultimately decided I was not capable of adding to my responsibilities in my personal life so let my CAE exam goal slide into 2021.

2021 - a new year offers renewed focus and energy!  I registered for the DFWAE CAE Study group, joined ASAE, purchased the recommended reading and for the first time clicked “Start CAE Application” on the website.  Once again, it felt overwhelming as I realized I was not as organized as I wish I had been with tracking my continuing education hours, and literally went on a hunt to gather my hours which were captured in various emails, pdf certificates and account log ins.  I could have easily decided to forego pursuing the exam, I thought “technically we are still in the middle of a pandemic and life is still a bit crazy”.  As I wavered again I attended the first CAE study group meeting and again felt inspired.  The small group conversation and guidance I could envision receiving throughout the spring put a stop to my procrastination.  Before the application deadline, I submitted all of the required items, and four days later I received notification that my application was accepted to take the exam in May or December.  

To other individuals who have thought about pursuing their CAE, here are a few things I wish I had known the first time I dreamingly thought about my desire to work towards my CAE:

  1. You are not alone in the CAE pursuit.  Through DFWAE and other professional groups, there are individuals who are happy to share their experiences and they just might provide the inspiration you didn’t know you needed.  
  2. As a member of DFWAE you have access to one of the most valuable membership resources; CAE’s.  DFWAE members who are CAE’s openly share their wisdom and guide you - whether organically through your interactions on a committee, during networking or more formally such as the study group meetings.   
  3. It is never too early to start tracking your continuing education hours.  Start a spreadsheet and have columns for the date, total hours, title of the education, brief marketing blurb, instructor name(s) and who the continuing education was through (i.e. DFWAE, ASAE etc.).
  4. Take a brief inventory of where you feel you are lacking in knowledge based on the CAE Exam Content Outline and look for continuing education that addresses your gap areas.  
  5. When you register/attend a DFWAE event, your CAE hours are tracked in your member profile, making it easy for you to import into your application.  

Joining DFWAE to be inspired was not something that crossed my mind in 2014 but the opportunities are plentiful!

Congratulations to the 43 current DFWAE members who are Certificate Association Executives!  And, a final thought to anyone who has contemplated their own CAE journey, get a sticky pad and write down “CAE exam ______” and fill in your year and get started.


DFWAE Adopts Formal DEI Statement PDF Print Email
Wednesday, April 07, 2021 09:11 AM

DFWAE Adopts Formal DEI Statement

After months of work, DFWAE's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and the Board of Directors have adopted a formal DEI statement on behalf of the organization. This philosophy will become part of DFWAE's core values, and be woven into the future work of the association through strategic planning, policy setting, nominations, and all other critical areas.

The statement reads:

People feel a sense of belonging when differences are embraced and valued. DFWAE is dedicated to nurturing equality by creating spaces for the voices least heard, providing educational opportunities to grow leaders, instilling a greater understanding of diverse and equitable environments; and expanding opportunities to collaborate with one another to ensure DFWAE is reflective of the larger, richer community of association voices. We recognize there is still work to be done and commit to cultivating an atmosphere and culture that is inclusive for all.

The 2020-2021 DEI Task Force members include:

Janet Kane, MetroTex Association of REALTORS (Chair)
Shasta Foy, Society of Petroleum Engineers (Board Liaison)
Doug Laher, American Association for Respiratory Care
Laura Venhaus, American Association of Professional Landmen
Mark Jones, enSYNC Corporation
Eme Augustini, National Association of Dental Plans
Julie Kwane, Promotional Products Association International
Katie Gimenez, Plano Chamber of Commerce
Heather Zrubek, National Association of Episcopal Schools
Riane Gay, American College of Emergency Physicians
Sheena Beaver, Dallas Builders Association
Leona Scott, JEP Marketing Communications
Maurice Norris, Promotional Products Association International

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