Title: Vice President, Membership Services, SCTE
Background: Games comes to SCTE from the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI), where she was vice president of marketing and membership since August 1995.
How long have you been involved in association work?
In college, I became a volunteer for a federally funded Head Start program, which provided comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop early reading and math skills. I have volunteered for other community associations as well, eventually becoming a leader in the Junior League of Philadelphia. My first "paying job" in association management was with the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI, formerly NCCLS). CLSI is a nonprofit standards developing organization that is supported by members and volunteers.
How did you get your start in it?
I initially worked for a corporate healthcare system in Philadelphia as the director of market research, supporting the marketing, planning and sales strategies. After several years of working in Philadelphia, I decided to move to the suburbs. The opportunity at CLSI, which is located in the Philadelphia suburbs, came up concurrently. At the time, I had no experience with standards developing organizations and had never really considered association management as a career choice. My experience had been working with healthcare professionals to improve their understanding of the perceptions and motivations of the mass consumer in choosing physicians, health-related programs and medical facilities. However, after investigating the job opportunity at CLSI, I determined that my position responsibilities at CLSI were similar to my previous work experience. I didn’t face a traumatic transition because in many ways patients are like members (paying for a service and expecting programs tailored to their needs), and the healthcare providers are like volunteers (delivering expertise to improve the member’s outcome and experience, quality in their field, and management’s strategic decision-making).
What differences do you see between an association and "regular industry"?
There are really more similarities than differences between an association and regular industry. Both organizational types require customer satisfaction – internal and external. Both organizational types focus on the bottom line. The biggest difference has been the involvement of volunteers – the nonpaid individuals who go above and beyond their "day-time" jobs to give something back to the community, their profession and their colleagues. The volunteers are committed to improving their field of interest.
What attracted you to SCTE?
I liked working for a standards developing and membership-based organization, and there were a lot of similarities between my previous employer and SCTE. Working with a volunteer board of directors, and volunteers in general, has been very rewarding. I expect my experience with SCTE volunteers to be just as satisfying. In addition, SCTE is delivering the types of programs and services such as webinars and professional development opportunities that my previous employer was just beginning to explore.
What’s on your immediate "to do" list?
I need to develop a better understanding of the SCTE members – who they are, where they see value, their perceptions of the current benefit package, and ways to improve their membership experience. Membership retention and then recruitment will be the initial focus of staff efforts.
What are your impressions of the cable industry so far?
All the SCTE staff and those volunteers whom I have met have been tremendously encouraging and supportive of my arrival. My sense is that the cable telecommunications industry is rapidly growing and diversifying, and SCTE is moving at the same pace to provide the best programs and services to its members.