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Building a Bridge Between Strategy and Action

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.)

Sports / Leisure



Total Membership

Professional Society

Organization Type

Denver, CO


The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) committed to broadening its focus to become a stronger convener of the community and an essential resource for the profession. A series of critical and scaled initiatives helped PATH Intl. develop a focused plan and define specific steps to achieve it.


Representing one of the fastest-growing sectors of the equine industry, PATH Intl. promotes safety and optimal outcomes in equine-assisted activities and therapies for individuals with special needs. In 2016, PATH Intl. took the ambitious step to create a Credentialing Council, separate from its board of directors but still a part of PATH Intl., to oversee the credentialing and accreditation program. The program was highly successful and, as a result, spun off into a separate subsidiary. While the move helped PATH Intl. diversify its revenue streams and solidify its market leadership, it eliminated one of the primary value drivers for membership.


PATH Intl. committed to enhancing the member value proposition by focusing its near- and long-term priorities through strategic planning. Like many associations, PATH Intl. soon realized that the scope and timing it had envisioned would need to evolve as the project unfolded. McKinley supported PATH Intl. with three distinct project phases:

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Strategic Planning

The first project phase launched with a robust research effort, including interviews and a survey with PATH Intl.’s key stakeholders. McKinley also conducted an environmental scan to understand prevailing trends and changes in the equine, political, healthcare, credentialing and education landscapes. The results were shared with the PATH Intl. Strategic Planning Task Force (SPTF) and further synthesized to inform the spring 2019 Board of Trustees strategic planning retreat.
From the strategic planning retreat, PATH Intl. identified three areas of opportunity, which were further expanded into detailed objectives and success measures. In addition to PATH Intl.’s new areas of focus, staff and leaders felt it was critical that the plan acknowledge the organization’s critical “ongoing work.”

Mission and Vision Facilitation

Before PATH Intl. could confidently share the strategic plan with stakeholders, staff and leaders felt it was important to revisit the organization’s core mission and vision. McKinley facilitated a subsequent one-day session with the Board, and the 2020-2022 Strategic Plan was finalized shortly thereafter.

2020 Game Plan Facilitation

PATH Intl. quickly realized in early 2020 that environmental factors would likely have a significant impact on its strategic plan implementation. Staff asked McKinley to facilitate a highly focused and collaborative session to bring insights from the association community and help identify the best path forward for implementation. Given the change to PATH Intl.’s credential and accreditation program and the subsequent loss to the member value proposition, McKinley decided to focus the facilitation on the benefits portfolio. The session began with a summary of the most relevant data collected from the strategic planning process, included an overview of association best practices in program development, and culminated with a staff-driven portfolio assessment of PATH Intl.’s existing programs and identification of gaps related to priority member needs.


McKinley teamed with RAPS and Elemed, a boutique regulatory talent management company, on a workforce field measurement project, which resulted in the 2021 Report on The Global Regulatory Affairs Professionals Workforce. It employed a proprietary methodology that measured the global regulatory affairs field, which had never been done before.

The findings offer a glimpse into the perspective of the regulatory affairs community toward the myriad of changes that the profession has encountered over the past several years. It also provides a baseline of the size of the field, globally and by region, by which the industry can compare benchmarks in future years’ reports to assess growth and understand changes in trajectory. Important data points included issues facing the profession, such as the impact of the global health pandemic, concerns related to diversity and inclusion in the field, and top professional challenges for regulatory affairs professionals.

Looking ahead, this report, and future iterations, will help the Society lead the field. For members, it provides context including how challenges vary by region, and whether professionals in their area and discipline are facing the same kinds of barriers and opportunities. It also helps show whether their skill sets are in demand and how the field is growing—to understand where there will be more demand globally. For the Society, it provides a better understanding of present and potential future challenges, and how best to respond on behalf of its members and stakeholders.

The team at McKinley was so skilled at listening. It was critical for the PATH Intl. Board and staff to feel heard and to have what they were saying and thinking reflected throughout the project. We specifically challenged McKinley to bring in outside expertise so that we could benefit from the lessons learned and effective practices of the community. McKinley was able to do that subtly and professionally—without giving the board and staff the impression that they were being told what to do. With concrete data, skilled facilitators, and a whole team of experts that could support us from the first project meeting to our 2020 game plan facilitation, we had what we needed to make this a true investment in PATH Intl.’s future.

Kathy Alm


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