What's next for professional associations?

Roundtable: The CEOs of the largest professional bodies discuss how to capitalise on the need for expertise, and what a new generation wants from membership.

by Robert Jeffery

How has the pandemic altered your relationship with your members?

Linda Hausmanis, CEO, Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management It certainly changed it. We became very proactive in supporting them because some were worried about the future and job security, while others were very much on the front line; we needed to get a coronavirus hub up and running as quickly as possible so they had valid and up to date information on how to support their workplace and organisation.

Vanessa Harwood-Whitcher, director of professional services, Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Many of our members were suddenly in the spotlight for the first time in their lives, and businesses were suddenly really valuing what they were saying. At IOSH, we had to get our own house in order internally to work online – and we did so rapidly and effectively thanks to investments we’d already made – but we also have 1,700 volunteers across the world we had to protect and mobilise.

Jennifer Sproul, chief executive, Institute of Internal Communication Our members were so exposed in their role during the pandemic. They had never felt they had the impact, awareness or value inside their organisations they should – even though the pandemic was tough, it was an opportunity for them to step up. 

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