Meetings, Membership & Marketing Institute

REGISTER | Schedule | Speakers | Sponsors | Fees | Important Details 

The Meetings, Membership and Marketing Institute (The Triple M) is geared to bring new innovations, insights, experiences, opinions, and success stories. Come prepared to learn, as well as enjoy networking and fraternity with fellow executives and supplier partners.

Friday, April 13, 2018
Hilton Garden Inn, Troy
235 Hoosick Street | Troy, NY 12180

Seeking Sponsors! Check out the available partnership options!
Brand a breakout room and introduce a speaker! Don't let them get hangry - sponsor a healthy breakfast and/or coffee break! Get in front of the audience by sponsoring this year's opening keynote speaker!

Thank you to our current sponsors: 

Event Host & Partner: Hilton Garden Inn, Troy
Lunch: Niagara Falls USA
Keynote: Visit Buffalo Niagara
Breakfast: Turning Stone Resort
Breakout Sessions (4 remain!): Albany Capital Center, Visit Rochester
Coffee Break: The Desmond Hotel
A/V - CMI Communications

Registration includes access to (4) four hours of interactive and engaging professional development (CAE/CMP), parking, continental breakfast, coffee breaks, and networking lunch.


8:00 to 8:45 AM - Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:45 to 10:00 AM - Opening General Session
10:15 to 11:15 AM - Concurrent Sessions (3)
11:30 to 12:30 PM - Concurrent Sessions (3)
12:30 to 1:00 PM - Networking Lunch
1:00 to 2:30 PM - Round Table Session


8:00 to 8:45 AM – Breakfast and Registration


Conferences Re-Imagined: Move from Ordinary to Extraordinary
Megan Denhardt, CAE, President, The Denhardt Group
It’s been said, ‘if you don’t like change, you’ll like irrelevancy even less.” This sentiment couldn’t be truer than in the association conferences world where the same formula is used year in and year out with very little updating. The challenge with the tired status quo is that learners demand more, members expect more, and the competition for their time and attention is ever‐increasing. The truth is, now more than ever humans crave real interaction, purposeful connection and memorable experiences. Sure, there are a multitude of finger‐tip learning options out there – but none offer a real hands‐on experience the way an in‐person conference or event can. With the right mix of engagement tactics and compelling content, association execs can revitalize their programs and bring them into the 21st century. It is indeed possible to make a lasting impression if design is taking into consideration from the onset. Taking lessons from innovative companies, successful association events, and risk‐taking entrepreneurs, attendees will:

Learning Objectives

  • Experience design strategies to position their event as enticing and essential
  • Real‐world examples of what’s driving success for today’s most successful conferences
  • Personalized learning methods that give conference attendees control of their own professional development
  • Tactics for a multi‐sensory event that delivers an exceptional experience


Session A: Building a Campaign for Success: Techniques to Achieve Advocacy Goals and Stakeholder Engagement
Joshua Poupore, APR, Senior Vice President
Corning Place Communications
An increasing number of associations and organizations are launching advocacy campaigns to strategically position their issue among policymakers at the Capitol. If associations use these campaigns effectively, they can improve awareness and change sentiment about their most important policy positions. Corning Place Communications will teach you how to create a strategic plan to promote your issues, implement campaign goals and manage your overall campaign successfully.

Session B: Finishing Strong at Your Next Trade Show
Jim Thompson, IOM, CAE, VP, Association Management and Strategic Development
Capitol Hill Management (North Carolina)
Companies spend thousands of dollars each year on exhibiting at association and industry trade shows. However, many of those dollars go wasted because of not effectively planning before the show, executing during the show and following-up after the show. Let this session help you get the biggest bang for your trade show bucks.

Session C: It’s Amazon’s World and We Live in It: Customizing the Member Experience
Elizabeth Derrico, Principal Consultant
Elizabeth Derrico & Associates
The membership landscape is changing as our expectations about interactions and member experience grow. We have moved from being “relevant” to being problem-solvers. This session will emphasize the qualitative needs of members and re-frame the discussion beyond the mere numbers of members to focus on retention and stickiness of the experience. Examples of alternative membership models will be integrated. Participants will learn to think differently about structure, strategy and delivery of member value.


Session D: Walls Not Required: Alternative Learning Formats to Engage and Inspire Attendees
Megan Denhardt, CAE, President
The Denhardt Group
We demand a lot from our conference attendees. We ask them to take time off work, rearrange personal schedules, fork over funds, and manage travel (and the ups and downs associated with that). As conference planners if we are not delivering an exceptional quality product – the price outweighs the value and we risk losing attendees – and possibly even members. As a conference and event planner, don’t let this not‐so‐uncommon experience happen at your event! In this fast‐paced session you will:

  • Explore alternative learning formats that shake up the status quo
  • Examine the education and conference trends
  • Dissect the experience economy and what that means for your adult learners

Session E: 5 Steps to Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy at Your Association
Callie WalkerMemberClicks
Over the past few years, marketing has changed a LOT. It used to be that tactics such as advertising and direct mail were, for the most part, fairly effective. But now, that’s simply not the case. People tend to tune information out, particularly if it’s not directly related to them.

Enter inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is all about creating valuable content to attract people and convert them into members. And association professionals are particularly well-positioned to practice these types of tactics because they already have the expertise needed to create valuable content. The best part though? Inbound marketing is actually pretty cheap!

In this session, learn all about how to get started with the inbound marketing methodology. Learn how to attract qualified traffic to your organization's website, how to convert those visitors into leads, how to transform those leads into members, and more importantly, how to get those members to stay.

  • Learn how to leverage your organization’s expertise to attract new members and engage your existing ones.
  • Learn how to implement an effective inbound marketing strategy - without breaking the bank!
  • Learn how to track key marketing metrics and measure your success.
  • Learn how to take your inbound marketing strategy up a notch - once you have the basics down.

Session F: Membership SUSTAINability  
Jim Thompson, IOM, CAE, VP, Association Management and Strategic Development
Capitol Hill Management (North Carolina)
The primary component to membership growth is membership recruitment and membership retention. In this session, you will gain a better understanding for what is causing the membership growth challenges and learn what needs to happen to get your association on the path to creating a more sustainable membership.



To stay competitive and relevant in the association and meetings industries, it is important to learn from others and share best practices. The round table discussion session will allow attendees to share experiences, best practices, insights and knowledge in small groups and learn from industry peers. Everyone brings unique experience and expertise to sharing sessions!

Group topics will include areas discussed during the breakout sessions and each table will have a moderator to help keep the conversation going. Table conversations will be limited to 4 rounds of 20 minutes each. No assigned seating! Feel free to select and move to tables relevant to YOU each time the bell rings. 

About Our Speakers

Megan Denhardt, CAE, President
The Denhardt Group
Designer of Exceptional Events
[email protected]

Megan Denhardt, CAE loves organizing, designing and delivering conference and events of all different shapes and sizes. In her 15+ years of experience, Megan has learned the secret to successful events is to delight and surprise the audience with new formats, delivery methods, engagement tactics, and energy bursts. No longer can organizations lather, rinse & repeat the same static event year after year.

Adopting a nimble mindset and understanding trends in the industry guide her client organizations to design quality programs that deliver relevant and actionable content using a variety of formats, engage attendees and fostering relationship building, and create lasting memories to make that first-time attendee become a life‐long one. Megan’s enormous energy and enthusiasm for creating and delivering quality event experiences in unique and meaningful ways keep her passion for this work alive and kicking. When not planning her next event, you can find enjoying the Bay Area with her husband and two adorably sweet children who always keep her on toes. Megan is an avid runner, always looking to drop that extra minute off her next race. Her motto is “you can keep going long after you can’t.”

Callie Walker, Senior Inbound Marketing Specialist

Callie Walker is the Senior Inbound Marketing Specialist at MemberClicks, an Atlanta-based association management software company. She manages the company’s blog, content pieces, and various social media sites. Callie attended the University of Georgia, graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, and went on to pursue a career in PR and digital marketing. In her time at MemberClicks, she’s increased blog views by 286% and blog subscribers by 374%. She loves writing and exploring how associations can tap into the power of inbound marketing.


Jim Thompson, IOM, CAE, VP, Association Management and Strategic Development
Capitol Hill Management (North Carolina)

Mr. Thompson serves as Vice President of Association Management for CHMS's Southern Region where he directly oversees the day-to-day activities of the association management team in our Raleigh, North Carolina offices. Mr. Thompson is a Certified Association Executive with more than 14 years of experience in the field. He most recently served for nine years as the Executive Director of the Association Executives of North Carolina where he successfully increased AENC's membership from 400 members to nearly 750 members during his tenure. Mr. Thompson previously served for five years as the Director of Business Development for the North Carolina Association of Realtors.

Elizabeth Derrico, Principal Consultant
Elizabeth Derrico & Associates

With more than 33 years of experience in professional membership organizations, I bring a practical, creative, and strategic eye to my work with organizations large and small. While all consultants will contend that they listen and understand your unique needs, I won’t rely on such clichés. Rather I commit to working with you and asking a lot of questions –many, many questions– about your organization. Together we’ll create the right path.

Having the right people in the room, asking the right questions can be transformative for both the individual and the organization.

I’ve facilitated more than 100 strategic conversations or planning sessions for organization large and small. I have designed training and leadership programs for boards and staff capacity building programs. I have led teams in organizational and management audits of associations.

Where did I gain all of this experience? I spent more than 13 years in two separate stints with the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) where I started my career. I began as the local bar services representative fostering relationships, served as the associate director of communication before moving to the American Bar Association. My 20 years with the ABA was spent in organizational and leadership development. I crisscrossed the country helping organizations and their leaders. And for three years I returned to scene of the start of my career as associate executive director of NYSBA.

As a volunteer I have worked with arts organizations on board development and good governance practices.

Joshua Poupore, APR brings over 12 years of professional communications experience to Corning Place Communications. Prior to joining Corning Place, Josh worked for the New York State Dental Association as their Assistant Executive Director. In that role he oversaw communications and marketing efforts for the 13,000 member professional association. Prior to that he spent eight years coordinating media relations and public affairs campaigns for Harvard University.

Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Elmira College and Master of Liberal Arts in extension studies degree in Journalism from Harvard University. He is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Empire State Society of Association Executives (ESSAE), and the Albany Barn.

Josh has an extensive background working in non-profits, higher education and associations. At Corning Place Josh works with clients to elevate their profile and gain attention for key issues.  He also brings experience leading strategic planning efforts, crisis communications and economic development.

Registration & Fees

Full Day Registration includes access to (4) four hours of interactive and engaging professional development (CAE/CMP), parking, healthy continental breakfast, coffee breaks between sessions, networking hot buffet lunch, and round table discussions with session speakers for a peer to peer idea exchange!

Full Day (All Sessions & Lunch Program)
Members: $105 | Non-Members: $155

Sessions Only 
Members: $75 | Non-Members: $115

Lunch & Round Table Session Only
Members: $45 | Non-Members: $60

ESSAE Members must sign into their profiles to access the Member Rate. If you have any issues with logging into your profile, please contact Rebecca Sheehan.

NOTE: Registering for "Sessions Only" does not include access to the afternoon lunch round table discussion session. Attendees must register for a Full Day Pass or Lunch Only Pass to gain access to the Lunch and Round Table Discussion session.

Credits: This event will offer up to (4) four credit hours towards the CAE/CMP designations. ESSAE is a CAE approved provider, formally registered with the CAE program and committed to providing education that meets the CAE Commission's standards for helping individuals earn or maintain the Certified Association Executive credential. CAE Approved Providers have received guidance on such standards and pledged to properly represent course eligibility for CAE credit. Details on how to track your points/clock hours, visit:

Important Details! 

Accommodations: Overnight rooms are available at the Hilton Garden Inn, Troy for $99/night (April 12 & 13). To make a reservation online click here or call the hotel at 888-224-9761 and provide the Group Code: ESTMC 

Parking: Complimentary Parking available at the venue. 

Social Media: Connect with us! @EmpireStateSAE - Event Hashtag: #ESSAETripleM

Credits: This event will offer up to (4) four credit hours towards the CAE/CMP designations. ESSAE is a CAE approved provider, formally registered with the CAE program and committed to providing education that meets the CAE Commission's standards for helping individuals earn or maintain the Certified Association Executive credential. CAE Approved Providers have received guidance on such standards and pledged to properly represent course eligibility for CAE credit. Details on how to track your points/clock hours, visit:

Cancellation Policy: Registrations must be made and paid for by March 31, 2018. Registration cancellations received prior to the deadline may be eligible to receive a refund less $25 service fee. Cancellations received after the stated deadline will not be eligible for a refund. Refunds will not be available for registrants who choose not to attend an event (no-shows). Cancellations will be accepted in writing only and must be received by the stated cancellation deadline. All refund requests must be made by the attendee or credit card holder. Refunds will be credited back to the original credit card used for payment. If you are unable to attend, you may send an alternate to the event without additional charge.

Questions? Contact ESSAE: 518-463-1755 or [email protected]