Connections - Summer 2017 - 13

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living legend

Steady Hands for a New Direction

"I love strategic planning-
thinking critically about
the challenges of today and
the opportunities of the
future, casting a compelling
vision, developing a plan to
move forward that bridges
aspiration with an informed
understanding of the
organization's capacity."

REBRANDING IS BOTH daunting
and exciting. Stakeholder
communication-and lots of
it-is critical, not just during
the creation and launch of the
brand, but especially during its
earliest days. Ragan Cohn, CAE,
chair of GSAE in 2010, was at
the helm for its rebranding.
Says Cohn: "2010 was a pivotal
year for GSAE-one in which a
three-year effort would culminate
in the launch of an updated and
redefined GSAE brand. We were
also scheduled to develop a new
three-year strategic plan that year.
As chair, I wanted to ensure the
fantastic work that had been done on
the GSAE brand was embodied and
carried forward effectively in the
organization's next strategic plan."
Her background in
communication and her broad
experience in association
management made her well
equipped to handle the intricacies
of rolling out a new identity.
"In 2010, I was vice president
of the NCCPA Foundation, an
organization I served as managing
director when it was founded in
2006 by the National Commission
on Certification of Physician
Assistants (NCCPA). I have served
NCCPA in a variety of roles since
1999, including my stint with its
foundation," says Cohn. "Throughout
my tenure here I've led NCCPA's
communications program in
combination with a variety of other
departments-all but finance and
IT. Today I am the vice president of
governance and communications, a
role in which I get to work closely
with our board of directors,
while also overseeing significant
outreach efforts to a multitude of
stakeholder groups," she adds.
Cohn also says she was
happy to serve GSAE during a

time when strategic planning
was on the agenda.
"I love strategic
planning-thinking critically
about the challenges of today and
the opportunities of the future,
casting a compelling vision,
developing a plan to move forward
that bridges aspiration with an
informed understanding of the
organization's capacity," she says.
She notes that when a session
with a professional facilitator did
not deliver the results that she and
the rest of the board hoped for, it
was through working with those
who knew GSAE best-its staff
and members-that true progress
came. "At the retreat-as is GSAE's
custom-the board was joined by a
host of other GSAE volunteers and
a professional facilitator who we
had prepared to lead us through a
series of discussions from which
that compelling, aspirational yet
actionable plan would emerge.
However, the facilitation fell flat,
and we left that retreat having
brainstormed a host of new
ideas but without anything that
resembled a plan," she says.
"To get us where we needed to
be, I worked closely with Wendy
[Kavanagh, GSAE's president] to
use the considerable information
already available from the
just-completed work on the GSAE
brand as well as the member
survey to draft a vision statement,
goals and measurable objectives
and then incorporate the best of
the strategies brainstormed at
the retreat. The smart, dedicated,
fun GSAE staff is the heart
and soul of this organization.
Long before and long after any
individual elected leader comes
and goes, it's the staff that brings
GSAE to life for members day
to day and year to year."
connections >

13



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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