President Trump is implementing the campaign promises he has made, and this has shocked and angered many people, to the point where it seems like there is a never-ending stream of protests in our nation’s capital.
Telling protestors and nonsupporters of Trump to “get over it, he won, move on,” helps little, as does calling Trump’s presidency “illegitimate” or proclaiming “Not my president.” These are words of challenge and confrontation. No barriers are brought down by such verbiage; barriers are actually built by it.
Here is where associations can be of great influence. As organizations that must please, or at least placate, many factions all at once, we have the unique experience of being able to bring sides together under one umbrella. The great divide this nation is experiencing undoubtedly is reflected in our own memberships. But association leaders, both staff and volunteer, have the know-how to bring those many voices to the table, to reach consensus. And failing that, being able to marginalize the most stubborn factions until they become nonentities.
If we accomplish this in our space, it will translate to the broader society. Imagine what we, as industry and professional leaders, can do to bring together warring factions on Capitol Hill and across the plains. This is what our Constitution has embodied us - associations - to do: to freely come together, to let our voices be heard without retribution. We can use this extraordinary constitutional power to help bring this country back together, because if anyone knows how to create consensus, it’s an association leader.
Let the words of past Association Executives of the Year inspire you to know what place associations have in America, and what we’re called to do - here, here and here. Our leadership has never been called for more than now. Associations, America needs you!
Speaking of which, Dawn Sweeney, CEO of the National Restaurant Association, is the TRENDS 2017 Association Executive of the Year. She along with the other TRENDS honorees will be feted at the Salute to Association Excellence, Feb. 23 at the Capital Hilton in Washington. We are near capacity, so please don’t delay, buy your tickets NOW here!