Congratulations to the TRENDS 2017 Association Partner of the Year, Loretta Monterastelli DeLuca, FASAE, Founder and CEO of DelCor Technology Solutions.
“It will be hard to find anyone in the association community who would disagree on Loretta receiving this honor,” TRENDS president Joel Poznansky said. “She and the company she founded have made a name in the association space that everyone knows, respects and appreciates, and with whom many, many associations partner.”
DeLuca will be feted at the TRENDS 2017 Salute to Association Excellence, Feb. 23 at the Capital Hilton in Washington. This is the premier event that honors associations executives from across the country. Other honorees to be presented at the Salute are the Association Executive of the Year, the Leading Association Lobbyists and the Young & Aspiring Association Professionals (see p. 4). Also to be honored will be the winners of the TRENDS All-Media Contest, the highest-regarded independent communications contest for associations and nonprofits in the country.
In 1984, Loretta Monterastelli DeLuca, FASAE, founded the company that would become known as DelCor. Since then, she has worked with associations and nonprofit organizations to help them effectively select, use and support the business systems that advance their unique missions.
A long-time member of ASAE, DeLuca serves on and previously chaired ASAE’s Key Consultants Committee. She has served on the ASAE board, Technology Council (charter member and past chair), Industry Partner Alliance, Professional Development Council, and Executive Council, and the Association Forum of Chicagoland’s Association Technology Advisory Task Force.
DeLuca is a frequent speaker in the association space, including for the Forum and ASAE, such as leading AMS Demo Days. She has written for several magazines and co-authored a chapter on “Records Management and Database Issues” in ASAE’s Membership Operations book. She founded the Association Data Standards Consortium.
In 2003, she established DelCor’s famous .org Community Food Drive for the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, her hometown. To date, the annual drive has provided more than 388,000 meals to people in need. She serves on the Board of Visitors of Children’s National Medical Center and previously served on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic.
She was named an ASAE Fellow in 2007 and received the ASAE 2015 Academy of Leaders Award, granted to industry partners who have demonstrated exemplary contributions to the association community.
Following is an interview with the 2017 Association Partner of the Year, Loretta M. DeLuca.
As a longtime partner of associations, what first attracted you to, and what keeps you interested in the association community?
It wasn’t planned that I entered into the association community, but long story short, I think I was meant to be in this space. I stay here because, for me, there’s a warm feeling associated with this community that I don’t believe exists in other markets. I stay here for the sense of camaraderie with people I met through my work and now consider my good friends. I have witnessed a remarkable penchant for giving and caring throughout this community that satisfies different aspects of my life. From a career perspective, I love what I do and who I’ve worked with.
What has changed since you started working with associations, and what changes would you like to see?
I’m starting to see associations act like businesses. They now have a forward and strategic perspective that I’m happy to see, and I’m hoping that will continue to grow. They also focus on their core mission as opposed to trying to be everything to everyone. I would like to see associations make use of an incredible asset – their data – to help them make strategic decisions, and for them to continue looking at things from a strategic and mission-driven viewpoint.
What is the Number 1 mistake you’ve seen that associations repeat? How do we fix it?
I think that there is a lack of willingness to change business practices, to take advantages of systems that are available to them. Associations can get mired in “this is how we have always done it.” Some are not taking advantages of new tools, not broadening their perspective. Those that are discovering advantages by using their data and acting strategically are really driving innovation, something we strive for in our IT Maturity Model. Organizations need to be more open-minded to new ways. Our perspective is that you need to first determine what you’re trying to accomplish before you worry about the exact steps you need to get there – this analytical exercise can really open your eyes to new opportunities and approaches.
What need in the association space do you think DelCor has best filled?
We are empowering organizations to focus on their mission, vision and business objectives and helping them use technology to get them there. We’re helping organizations to move toward being innovative in their technology management, to help them achieve the goals of the organization.
What TRENDS can you identify that are progressing associations?
One of the focuses DelCor has is to help associations determine which AMS and critical applications are best for them. For years associations didn’t make use of the data in these systems. The more organizations are involved in data analytics, the more they can make business and strategic decisions based on all the data they already possess.
I’m also seeing more organizations focus on the mission of the organization and services directly related to that mission, as opposed to having departmental staffs, like accounting, technology, etc., that aren’t key to the mission — associations should seriously consider outsourcing functions that are noncritical to the core mission.
DelCor and yourself are very community-minded. Why is that?
This is the only full-time job I’ve had in my life. I feel like I have grown up in the association and nonprofit space. A lot of great work has been done in these organizations to help those in need, and I’ve become more aware of that need and the impact we as leaders and organizations can have on our communities. I have been very fortunate, I feel like I’ve done well from a personal and professional perspective, working “for” associations. I have a desire to give something back, a sense of wanting to help those not as fortunate. And we all feel the same way at DelCor – that’s our culture.