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Association profile: the story behind today's CMA.

The Communications Managers Association's early beginnings go back to 1948 with a coterie of telecomm manager types gathered around the table in one of Shell Oil's conference rooms.

Walter Young, who at the time was Shell's telecomm manager, got the idea to organize these sharing experiences and the knowledge of his peers. He helped establish the CMA.

You would probably be correct if you guess what was going on in the telecomm world of the late forties: These so called sharing experiences consisted of "war stories" about "Ma Bell" and New York Tel and who was going to host the next meeting, where it would be, and how the lunch could be expensed without being caught!

Since then, the leaders of CMA have grown the association to more than 225 member companies with more than 612 member representatives.

Since many of the member companies are headquartered in the greater New York City area, finance/banking represents more than 26.2% of the total membership. That is followed by manufacturing, 16.6%, and the service industry, 12.3%.

Excluding salaries, 48% of the telecomm budgets of the member companies are over $10 million, followed by 28% in the $1-5 million range and 19.5% in the $5-10 million range.

Almost 400 members come from New York, followed by 135 members is nearby New Jersey. (In fact, the association office is located at 40 Morristown Rd., Bernardsville, NJ 07924, 908-766-3824. Catherine Takacs as administrative director heads up the office.) Other members come from Connecticut (40), Pennsylvania (12), and 29 from other states as well as in the United Kingdom.

More than 38% of the job titles of the members are in telecomm management followed by 14.5% in network management.

The association publishes an excellent quarterly publication, "CMA Review." One of the unique innovations, as far as the association community is concerned, is paid advertising.

Of course, as with other associations, the annual conference and exposition is the main source of income and for the education of CMA's membership. The 14th annual Conference and Exposition will be held and the New York Hilton and Towers Oct. 15-17. You may call the CMA hotline, 800-CMA-3976, for registration information.

Perhaps CMA's latest innovation to the association community was the unanimous vote by the membership to accept the vendor/community as sustaining members in the association. This membership does not include voting privileges but as Ton Kopitowsky, CMA president at the time the vote was taken, commented, "Several years have elapsed since divestiture and even longer since the Carterfone decision. In rethinking our relationship with the vendor entities, we now realize that if we are to be successful as communications managers, we must 'partner' with these suppliers."

If other associations are interested and need more information on how CMA accomplished this, give Ron a call at 212-878-7295.

"Volunteerism" is the hallmark of a successful, influential, and growing association and the CMA is no exception.

Charles Murray, CMA's president and telecomm director at The Travelers, is making it one of his goals during his term of office to activate the membership by recognizing the tremendous contributions of the volunteers who are the lifeblood of any association.

The name Chet Bellairs comes to my mind when I think back on CMA many, many years. He is still an active volunteer, even though he is a so-called retired member of CMA. There are many others who spent a lot of volunteer time and risked their jobs with their companies to help CMA form and grow.

This is true of other associations as well, successfully using the vast--and free-resources of their retired membership, as well as the immediate leadership who have just completed a tour of duty as president or director. It is a wise leader who puts past leaders back to work: Don't love 'em and leave 'em ... we can't accuse CMA of doing that.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:On Associations; Communications Managers Assn.
Author:Underwood, Roger
Publication:Communications News
Article Type:Column
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Data networking is lean and mean at McDonald's.
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