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February 16, 2023

Top Takeaways from the CESSE CEO Meeting


The Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) CEO Meeting provides an opportunity for CEOs and Executive Directors of STEM societies to present innovative approaches to problems, learn about trends in the industry and share experiences from their association. There was a record setting attendance at the CESSE CEO Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland this year and it was incredible to see the STEM community come together to learn from each other and collaborate with each other. 

There were a number of interesting themes that emerged throughout the conference including diversity, equity and inclusion, business models, scholarly publications and workforce. Below are some key insights we heard at the event. 

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI): A strong focus on DEI continues with scientific and engineering societies with some significant progress in terms of greater representation in governance, conference presentations and publications. Organizations whose fields lack diversity are encountering more challenges in terms of having impact.   

Business Models and Scholarly Publications: Scholarly publications have been a significant part of revenue for many scientific and engineering publications. Discussions highlighted the concern leaders have about the future profitability and brand awareness of publications. Association leaders shared that margins are coming down, consolidation is accelerating, and the brand value of individual titles may not last unless they are at the top. This is leading to many organizations exploring alternative business models and opportunities to ensure revenue exists to support mission focused activities. 

Workforce: There was a substantial focus on mental health for staff, volunteers and members at scientific and engineering societies. Conversations revolved around how to help staff set boundaries and how to create a work culture of trust and respect for each other. Leaders are also reviewing how they use their members’ time in volunteer activity and making sure it is sustainable, valuable and worthwhile for both the association and the volunteer. 

Association leaders were fired up and focused on mission and outcomes at the CESSE CEO Meeting. The conference gives industry leaders an opportunity to collaborate and drive impact on a large scale. We are grateful for our partnership with CESSE as well as our engineering and scientific society clients! 

Learn more about the conference in my video recap with Jay Younger, McKinley Advisors CEO.



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