As a cable industry insider, you know plenty about acronyms, including those that designate proficiencies. But, one you may not be familiar with is CAE, which SCTE President and CEO John Clark may now call himself. After taking 75 credit hours and passing a four-hour test, Clark earned Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). On a personal level, Clark calls the certification process an "epiphany" about his profession. "I’ve been in cable for 26 years, and for 26 years, when people (have said) ‘What do you do for a living?’ I have said, ‘I am a cable guy.’ I think if someone asked me today, I would say ‘I am an association management professional," he explained. "This was an exhilarating experience—to share ideas and results and approaches with senior level fellow association executives." For the SCTE, Clark’s achievement means a leader at the helm, knowledgeable not only about the cable industry, but also about association best practices. For example, the SCTE recently announced the initiation of a members-only benefits program. SCTE members can now receive discounts on certain consumer electronics products, Motorola consumer products and shipping services through DHL Express. "This is an example of learning what other (associations) are doing and applying it to our own members," Clark said. Research showed that others have found discounts in certain purchasing areas to be an important benefit to members. In addition to learning where improvements might be made, Clark said his experience with the ASAE also showed him the areas where the SCTE thrives, including at the chapter level, where the energy and activity level is "unique." "Chapters are a critical part of SCTE’s fabric," Clark said. The Chapter Leadership Conference (in April this year) is a good demonstration. The first one that was held drew 30 people; now it is the third biggest SCTE event of the year. Unlike training, which involves topics that are evergreen, like building a headend, and is primarily classroom based, professional development moves beyond traditional coursework, tackles hot topics, and is accelerated by advances in technology, Clark said. One example is the SCTE’s Live Learning series of Web-based seminars. (The February session dealt with OpenCable Application Platform, or OCAP.) "The (series) has been an excellent addition to our professional development menu," Clark said. The association also recently introduced three new on-site technical seminars, including Troubleshooting VoIP, Troubleshooting MPEG over Video in the Headend, and Wireless Plant extensions. Clark said these can be delivered at a company or converted for use at a chapter event. "Multiple use of these programs is an important priority." – Monta Monaco Hernon

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