Association Leadership Academy (ALA)

Establishing the Next Generation of Wisconsin Association Professionals

The WSAE Association Leadership Academy is a new program aimed at early association professionals who have an interest in further developing their careers in Association Management. This program is a one year (Fall 2024-Fall 2025), cohort-based program developed to assist participants in building a professional community of association peers and to enhance individual leadership skills. Approximately 20 professionals will be invited to participate per cohort, with the aim of including a wide representation of the association community in each cohort. Please see the full program outline below.

If you are new to the wonderful world of associations, this program has been built exclusively with you in mind!

CEOs and Executives - Elevate your association by supporting your staff. This program is a great tool for executives to encourage their staff members to apply and participate!

ALA Testimonials

"ALA has been a wonderful opportunity to develop new skills, expand my network, and gain a better understanding of association management as a whole. WSAE’s network has created great opportunities for mentorship and connection. I appreciate being able to participate in this impactful program, and I look forward to applying the skills I have learned in my career."

Zachary Blevins
2023-2024 ALA Participant

“Participating in the Association Leadership Academy has broadened my perspective and enhanced my understanding of association management. The Academy provided a valuable opportunity to sharpen my leadership aptitude, expand my professional network with mentors and peers, and deepen my involvement with WSAE. I’ve already been able to apply this knowledge in my daily work and feel more equipped to tackle new challenges as they arise.”

Jackie Lindquist
2023-2024 ALA Participant

Submit your application today!

Attachments to be included with your application:

  • Letter of recommendation
  • Resume

Applications due Thursday, August 1, 2024

Submit your application

Program Objective

Engage early career association professionals of all ages who have an interest in developing their career in
Association Management with the following:

  • Build a professional community/network of association peers and mentors
  • Enhance leadership skills for career growth
  • Learn the expertise needed for a career in Association Management
  • Earn CAE credits
  • Experience the education and resources that WSAE has to offer our community


WSAE Members Non-Members
$900 $1,200



Program Registration includes the following:

  • 10 Webinars (60 minutes each)
    • Leadership and Communications Skills
    • Deep Dive into Association Management
  • Registration to the 2024 Annual Summit
  • Registration to the 2025 Live@
  • Registration to the 2025 Annual Summit

Program Outline
Program content is subject to change*

NOVEMBER 19-20, 2024
ALA Kickoff at the WSAE Annual Summit, The Edgewater Hotel - Madison, WI

Goals and Objectives:

  • Introduce and build connections within the cohort and cohort leads
  • Set the stage for the coming year


  • Introductions and 'get to know you' team building exercises
  • Review goals of NextGen program and mentorships
  • Personal goal setting for participation in the program
  • Evening reception for participants and those that will serve as mentors throughout the program

SEMESTER 1 (December 2024 - May 2025)
Online Workshops - Leadership and Communications Skills

Goals and Objectives:

  • Enhance leadership and communication skills
  • Strengthen association management knowledge
  • Facilitate opportunities to apply learned skills in day-to-day responsibilities


  • Building Trust & Relationships
  • Critical Thinking and Decision Making
  • Story Telling/Presentations
  • Conflict Management and Negotiations
  • Supervising and Delegation

Mid-year In-person Leadership Workshop at WSAE's Live @
Location and Dates TBD

Goals and Objectives:

  • Develop your own personal leadership style
  • Applying knowledge from Semester 1


  • Explore various types of leadership styles
  • Identify strengths and weaknesses of leadership styles
  • Discuss how to implement your leadership skills based on your unique qualities
  • Importance of 'professionalism' in the workplace

SEMESTER 2 (June 2025 - November 2025)
Online Workshops - Deep Dive into Association Management 

Goals and Objectives:

  • Enhance leadership and communication skills
  • Strengthen association management knowledge
  • Facilitate opportunities to apply learned skills in day-to-day responsibilities


  • Strategic Governance
  • Financial Management
  • Membership and Marketing
  • Meetings and Events
  • Role of the CEO-Board and Leader Management

FALL 2025
Summit Capstone at the WSAE Annual Summit
Location and Dates TBD

Goals and Objectives:

  • Reflect on program and summarize lessons learned over the year
  • Identify opportunities to get involved in WSAE and continue to build a professional network in Wisconsin
  • Discuss areas of growth and how to continue to implement knowledge gained


  • Discuss CAE credentials
  • Discuss opportunities at WSAE and how to utilize the Society to support your career
  • Share key takeaways from the program


  • Ongoing Mentorship Opportunities
  • Site Visits (previous visits include The Baird Center, Milwaukee and Monona Terrace, Madison)

Thank you to our Program Sponsor!