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A study mission: fostering international partnerships.

A Study Mission: Fostering International Partnerships

As a participant in ASAE's study mission to Australia and New Zealand, Joanna Zumalt, assistant regional director, American Hospital Association (AHA), Sacramento, California, hoped to achieve one goal: to increase her international contacts in the health care field. ASAE's first study mission--sponsored by the association's International Section, General Travel New Zealand, and General Travel Australia--didn't disappoint Zumalt, whose association has 82 members from 22 countries.

"We [Zumalt and association management counterparts in Australia and New Zealand] talked about association management--namely, how we are dealing with the issues in our respective industries." Zumalt says some of her new overseas contacts have even expressed an interest in attending a future AHA convention.

The 18 other association executives who traveled with Zumalt to Auckland, New Zealand, and Sydney, Australia, May 10-19, report like experiences: a meeting of accomplished personal objectives and a better understanding of association management in both countries.

"The [International] section determined that study missions were one way to fulfill its mission: fostering partnerships between U.S. association executives and other association executives in other parts of the world," explains Anne DeCicco, CAE, chair of the section's Study Mission Committee and corporate vice president for the Center for Health Affairs, Inc., New Jersey Hospital Association, Princeton, New Jersey.

According to DeCicco--who recently received the European Certification in Association Management (ECAM)--study mission participants * met with New Zealand and Australian trade, industry, and association representatives to better understand their business and industries, discuss common issues, and improve trade relationships; * established relationships with representatives from the government, business, industry, and profession with whom they can plan future meetings; * familiarized themselves with the cultural differences of the two countries and explored the feasibility of launching a New Zealand Society of Association Executives; and * analyzed the suitability of major meeting facilities and the professionalism of conference organizers.

William Farrell, president and CEO, American Hardware Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, Illinois, says, "We [AHMA] have an increasing awareness of the globalization of our industry: hardware building products. For the last five years, we've been intensifying our efforts to make our members more globally aware of becoming players in the international marketplace.

"As part of the ASAE study mission, I had the opportunity to meet with our counterparts in New Zealand. A group of 15 hardware-related companies hosted a reception for me to inquire whether AHMA would be willing to exhibit American products that wouldn't be competitive with their products at trade shows in New Zealand. It was a great opportunity to meet these people and establish relationships with them for possible business down the road," Farrell says.

He adds that although he didn't attend the study mission to Australia, he did correspond by mail with counterparts in that country and was extended a similar invitation to exhibit American products in that country.

Farrell says that aside from networking with international association executives abroad, the study mission enabled him to develop relationships with the U.S. association executives he was traveling with. "I didn't meet any of my colleagues until our night of departure. We spent a lot of time together and as a byproduct, we exchanged a lot of ideas," Farrell says.

Adds DeCicco, "There were people on the trip who have large, well-established international organizations, which enabled me to learn how one brings international dimensions to the forefront of their organization, how to build working relationships with members based overseas, and so forth. It was truly a wonderful educational experience."

ASAE is tentatively planning a study mission to South America in early December. For information, call Nancy Green at (202) 626-2754.

PHOTO : Steven Ahlberg (left), vice president of international programs, Produce Marketing Association, Newark, Delaware, and Michael Gaffaney, executive director, New Zealand Fruitgrowers Federation, Wellington, exchanged thoughts about issues shared by their like organizations at a gathering during ASAE's recent study mission to New Zealand.
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Title Annotation:Joanna Zumalt's study mission to Australia and New Zealand
Publication:Association Management
Date:Aug 1, 1991
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