When Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew, Chief Operating Officer of Global SOF Foundation, was looking for an AMS that would serve the complex needs of the worldwide Special Operations Forces community, her priority was surprisingly simple: “We needed something that worked!”
Keeler-Pettigrew says the five-year-old GSOF was working with a system that was unreliable and clunky and a source of constant frustration. “We really wanted something that was clean and easy to use—but above all just work on a daily basis.”
Her search led her to Impexium, which has helped the team at the GSOF manage an operation that isn’t quite as small and nimble as a startup, but at the same time doesn’t have the history and resources of a large organization. “One of the things we love is the ease of accessing and analyzing data,” Keeler-Pettigrew says. “Now each head of our business units—our marketing person, our membership person, our corporate partner person, our CEO—can use Impexium’s analytics suite of dashboards to visualize the numbers to help us easily see trends and make decisions.” Seeing data in real-time as opposed to their former system of “pulling queries and putting it in Excel sheets and on and on,” Keeler-Pettigrew laughs, “has been a massive time and resource saver.”
Reducing time spent on time-consuming, repetitive tasks, she advises, is the key to growth for an association. That time and energy can now be devoted to the association’s primary mission: “To bring the global special operations community—active duty and retired military, industry professionals and academia experts—together on a regular basis for relationship-building and networking.”
Recently, Keeler-Pettigrew says the organization was able to utilize their new communication and pricing tools to quickly put together a “Membership May” drive with promo codes to great success. “We were able to gain 88 new members through that initiative,” she says. “That was a big number for us.”
Although not a huge organization at the moment, the scope and importance of what GSOF does could not be bigger. “I’m particularly proud of bringing together the international aspects of this community—we’ve had as many as 30 countries represented at our events.”
While working at the United States Special Operations Command, Keeler-Pettigrew learned a motto from Admiral William McRaven: “You can’t surge trust.” Keeler-Pettigrew explains, “The idea is that you can't instantly form relationships—it takes time and communication. So part of why we started this organization is to have a venue for special ops people to build relationships today so they will be prepared to jointly face crises tomorrow.”
In keeping with that culture of communication, Keeler-Pettigrew made sure to alert members when the association changed its AMS over to Impexium. “We thought it was important to be transparent and say, ‘Hey, this is why we're changing, this is what you're going to get.’” Members who come from military backgrounds might be a tad more regimented and resistant to change than other folks, but Keeler-Pettigrew says the first event they used the new system for registration was a great success. Tons of people registered and unlike when they were using the old system, not one of them complained. “That's a win in my book!”
Keeler-Pettigrew takes great pride in lending support to the SOF community dedicated to making the world safer. “There’s an analogy that is often made: a special operator breaking down a door in hostile territory is like an astronaut stepping foot on the moon. There is this elite person who is on target, and behind them are hundreds, if not thousands of people who made that success possible.”
Change may be the only constant in business — but that doesn’t make organizational transformation any easier. Association leaders are balancing competing priorities and increasing demands, enough to make even the most driven executive fall victim to the inertia of the status-quo.
But not every association stays still while the world seems to change around them. For her willingness to upset the association technology status-quo, Impexium is proud to recognize Meaghan Keeler-Pettigrew as one of 2019’s Association Technology Disruptors!
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