How to recruit, create and retain a High Performing Association Secretariat.

The session content will be based on the findings of a new survey and the expert input of selected association leaders who will comment on the results of the research and share their valuable experience with case studies.

Why attend?

Association management and interest representation is all about people and how they can make a difference. We included a” high performing secretariat” in our Key Success Factors for EU Associations because such a team is a pre-requisite for optimal association leadership.   The definition, however, was elusive and understanding of what makes for motivated and supportive staff unclear.

The first part of the session will address the new survey and shed light on the criteria for composing a winning team and provide information on means of retaining key staff.

The research will be commented on by a panel of association leaders and experts on complex organisations.

In the second part of the session, participants will hear a case study from CLEPA – the European Association of Automotive Suppliers. Sigrid de Vries and Marijke van den Bossche will speak of their approach to reorganising the secretariat of the automotive supply sector.

They will deal with:

–    structure, role, reporting lines, job descriptions and titles

–    empowerment of the team, assessments and feedback, and

–    the link to the evaluation flow.

Paul Voss of Euroheat and Power will also join the panel and speak of his experience leading the team that won the “Association Leadership Award – 2018”.    He will share with the panel how he approached developing and nurturing a sense of attachment to the common cause of the organisation and how each member is committed to achieving “together as a team”.

The audience will be asked to input and comment on the research and case studies in an interactive discussion.

Dr Rachel Barlow, Senior Adviser Ellwood Atfield will introduce the topic, moderate the session and provide a commentary on the topics addressed.

Mark Dober, Senior Director Ellwood Atfield will present the survey results and analysis.

This session has passed. Please see the Association Leadership Acadamy page for new events.

Speaker biographies

Paul Voss is deeply uncomfortable writing about himself in the third person, so he tends to keep these bios for conferences as brief as possible. He has been active in the EU energy policy debate for 12 years and has been the Managing Director of Euroheat & Power since late 2013. Before this, he was Head of Public Affairs at Danfoss District Energy, a global leader in the field of efficient technology for heating and cooling networks. Together with his team of extremely talented and award-winning colleagues at Euroheat, Paul spends his working days telling stories, drinking coffee and arguing; (1) that there can be no real energy transition without a fundamental change in the way we heat our buildings, and (2) that district heating and cooling, when it’s done properly, has a massive role to play in achieving this, particularly in cities.

Outside of work, Paul’s a keen long-distance runner, an enthusiastic drinker of irritatingly trendy micro-brewery beers and (he hopes) an adequate husband, Dad and dog owner. He’s originally from the UK but grew up mostly in Canada and settled in Belgium after stints in France, Guatemala and South Korea.

Sigrid de Vries is Secretary General of CLEPA, the European association of automotive suppliers, since 2017. Previously she headed CECE, the European construction equipment manufacturers association, led the communications and institutional relations at Iveco and CNH Industrial (EMEA region), and was director of communications at ACEA, the European automobile industry association. Sigrid started her professional life as a journalist at the Amsterdam Stock Exchange and with the Dutch financial daily newspaper, with postings as EU correspondent in Brussels and Germany correspondent in Berlin. She is married with two sons.

Marijke Van de Bossche is a freelance HR consultant who facilitates with passion organisational and personal development. She has 30 years of experience in different roles: HR manager, business manager, project manager, consultant and trainer. After university Marijke followed a lot of additional training, e.g. an executive master class in human resource management at the Vlerick Business School.

Dr Rachel Barlow manages the Association Leadership Academy – – and is Professor of Lobbying at Vesalius College, Brussels. She undertakes ad-hoc consultancy which ranges from devising and implementing governance optimisation, creating and leading tailored workshops for associations, to coaching new association executives.  Rachel is a self-confessed governance geek and relishes re-structuring complex organisations so that they can better serve their members and fulfil their respective missions.  Her PhD awarded in December 2014 focused on the accountability of EU associations.

As Senior Adviser and part-time headhunter for association and NGO postings at Ellwood Atfield, Rachel carries out research for association specific reports on such topics as the Key Success Factors for European Associations, How Members Value their Associations, Public Affairs and Board Best Practice for Associations, and EU Association Governance.

Mark Dober is a Senior Director in the Brussels office of Ellwood Atfield.  He has recruited many Brussels association leaders. He was previously APCO’s first employee in Europe and set up their office in 1995, acting as Managing Director in various roles until 2010. Mark has consulted on key communications and public affairs issues with over 50 European NGO/association leaders, right up to the President of BUSINESSEUROPE.  He has also co-authored numerous reports and studies on associations and public affairs including ‘Key Success Factors for European Associations’.

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