Connections - Summer 2017 - 15

>

living legend

Answering the Call to Serve

"The life and work
experiences people were
willing to share was
amazing. The candor of
personal and professional
stories is something I miss
and will never forget."

"I DID NOT seek to become chair of
GSAE; I was asked to serve," says
Karl Kirsch, CAE, who was chair of
GSAE in 2011. "I have never reveled
in the spotlight nor particularly
enjoyed podium time. It is
something I did as a requirement
of being in association leadership."
While Kirsch was chair of
GSAE, he served as vice president
of the Association Management
Business Practice for Meeting
Expectations, an association
management company located in
Atlanta. "Prior to my position with
Meeting Expectations, I had held
manager, director and executive
director positions in many of
the core areas of association
management," says Kirsch. "I have
previously been responsible for
membership, component relations,
technical divisions and special
interest groups, governance, and
even started up a new conference
from scratch. I credit much of my
success to learning these core
competencies early in my career."
Although Kirsch has an
enviable resume, he admits that
he initially lamented how much
public speaking he would need to
do. "As chair, you are required to
address the GSAE membership
regularly. So that became my
challenge," he says. "Don't be a
bore in front of a large, influential
collection of your peers."
He quelled his uneasiness
with some help from another
GSAE member, Jeff Justice.
"Jeff runs Jeff Justice's Comedy
Workshoppe. This program helps
aspiring comedians perfect their
craft. It also helps regular guys
like me learn to use humor in
business presentations to more
effectively make your point and
think on your feet. Well, about
six weeks of coursework and
one on-stage performance at the

Punchline Comedy Club, and I
was ready to be chair of GSAE!"
During his time as chair, not
only did Kirsch sharpen his
public speaking chops, making
him infinitely more comfortable
speaking in public, but he also found
a good venue in which to test advice
he had been giving others for years.
"I have always advised new
presidents of associations to pick
two or three things they want to
accomplish during their term of
office," he says. "This is based on
seeing so many excited presidents
try to do too many things and end
up with none of them really done
well. I took my own advice to heart
as chair of GSAE and picked one
thing: take GSAE's good reputation
for quality programs to the next
level with even higher profile
speakers. With great support from
our board, staff, volunteers and
a significant increase in speaker
budgets, we managed to improve the
programming to a level that GSAE
has sustained ever since. While I
would like to take all the credit,
Wendy Kavanagh, CAE, as president
and Mary Beth Cornell, CAE,
as the professional development
chair were instrumental on
executing the vision."
Kirsch says he will never forget
his time as GSAE chair, noting
that above all other factors, open
honesty defined the quality of his
interactions and the lessons and
memories he carries with him.
"The life and work experiences
people were willing to share was
amazing," he concludes. "The
candor of personal and professional
stories is something I miss and
will never forget. While we all
experience this through active
participation in GSAE, as chair,
you have a lot more opportunities
to engage in these critical
conversations a lot more often."
connections >

15



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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