Connections - Summer 2017 - 12

>

living legend

Beyond Branding: Forging an Identity for GSAE

"It's finding what the
organization is really about,
and sometimes what it
should be about, to make
sure that it's in line with
what members need."

12

> Summer 2017

LORI K. SPEAR, CAE, has the
unique position of being the
first president of GSAE (2009)
who also was a former staff
member of the organization.
"I've only ever worked in two
associations," says Spear, "and
that's GSAE, where I was director
of marketing and events, and
SAIS, which serves and accredits
independent schools, which is
where I am now and where I was
when I was GSAE's president."
For the membership, staff
and elected leadership of GSAE,
Spear was an easy choice for
president. The organization was
entering into a period where
it was gaining more and more
traction and influence, and as a
result, had to be able to adjust its
internal capacities to adjust to
the realities of growth. Someone
such as Spear, who was intimately
familiar with not only the inner
workings of GSAE, but also with
its membership, has a unique
advantage of "double vision"-in
the best possible sense. "I was
able to look at both the macro and
the micro details," Spear says, "so
that was certainly an advantage."
Spear does say that it was
a little awkward at first to be
the chief elected leader of an
organization where she was
once a full-time staff member,
but she says "the other elected
leaders, as well as the staff,
made me comfortable and they
also made it clear that I was
president, which made me
comfortable inhabiting that role."
Spear's main strategic objective
was in line with her professional

experience: branding. With
her deep knowledge of GSAE's
audience, she proved an invaluable
force of nature during the effort
to rebrand the organization.
"I had been involved with GSAE
for 20 years, so being able to put
all of that history, knowledge and
passion for GSAE to use in helping
to build GSAE's identity and tell
its story is one of the highlights of
my career," she says.
During Spear's tenure, GSAE
really dug deep into what makes
GSAE GSAE. The organization
held numerous focus groups,
did market research, looked at
various logo and identity schemes
to refresh its visual image, and
continually "listened, listened,
and then listened some more"
to find out what really makes
GSAE valuable to members.
"This to me is the most
important aspect of a branding
venture or a rebranding venture,"
says Spear. "Not finding the
perfect color scheme or the right
logo or the best website-although
of course that is all very
important. It's finding what the
organization is really about, and
sometimes what it should be
about, to make sure that it's in line
with what members need."
Beyond the reward of serving as
elected leader of an organization
she has loved for years, Spear says
that the relationships she's built
that extend beyond the workplace
are the most valuable rewards of
her involvement with GSAE. "This
place is part of my life; its people
are part of my life. GSAE has
added a lot to my life."



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Connections - Summer 2017

GSAE News & Events
New Members
Living Legends: Lori K. Spear, CAE, Ragan Cohn, CAE, Karl Kirsch, CAE
A Win/Win Week for Restaurants and Their Customers
Meetings Thought Leadership
6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Media Coverage
Standing Out Among the Clutter
GSAE Rock Stars Gather in Macon for the 2017 Annual Meeting
Summer Luncheon
Destination spotlight: Savannah, Jekyll Island & St. Simons Island
Choices: A Taste for Online Groceries?
Advertiser.com
Index of Advertisers
Index of Advertisers/ Advertiser.com
Connections - Summer 2017 - Intro
Connections - Summer 2017 - bellyband1
Connections - Summer 2017 - bellyband2
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover1
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover2
Connections - Summer 2017 - 3
Connections - Summer 2017 - 4
Connections - Summer 2017 - 5
Connections - Summer 2017 - GSAE News & Events
Connections - Summer 2017 - 7
Connections - Summer 2017 - 8
Connections - Summer 2017 - 9
Connections - Summer 2017 - 10
Connections - Summer 2017 - New Members
Connections - Summer 2017 - Living Legends: Lori K. Spear, CAE, Ragan Cohn, CAE, Karl Kirsch, CAE
Connections - Summer 2017 - 13
Connections - Summer 2017 - 14
Connections - Summer 2017 - 15
Connections - Summer 2017 - A Win/Win Week for Restaurants and Their Customers
Connections - Summer 2017 - 17
Connections - Summer 2017 - 18
Connections - Summer 2017 - Meetings Thought Leadership
Connections - Summer 2017 - 6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Media Coverage
Connections - Summer 2017 - 21
Connections - Summer 2017 - Standing Out Among the Clutter
Connections - Summer 2017 - 23
Connections - Summer 2017 - GSAE Rock Stars Gather in Macon for the 2017 Annual Meeting
Connections - Summer 2017 - 25
Connections - Summer 2017 - 26
Connections - Summer 2017 - Summer Luncheon
Connections - Summer 2017 - Destination spotlight: Savannah, Jekyll Island & St. Simons Island
Connections - Summer 2017 - Choices: A Taste for Online Groceries?
Connections - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers/ Advertiser.com
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover3
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover4
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