ASA President’s Letter-December 2013

Dear ASA Member:

It’s always such a pleasure to get everybody together in person during ASA’s annual convention. While it is an important time for us to focus on improving ourselves and our businesses through the planned professional education offerings, the annual convention is a fantastic time for us to get to know each other better, and build new friendships, through the various networking opportunities.

We are making a special effort to include spouses in the upcoming annual convention, SUBExcel 2014, March 6-8, in New Orleans. My wife, Nancy, and I will be there, and we encourage you to register your spouse for this event, too. Your spouse’s full registration fee includes two outings especially for spouses — a city tour on March 6 and a cooking class on March 7 — in addition to admittance to social functions, educational sessions and other meetings.

In the city tour, spouses will tour the historic and eclectic French Quarter and learn about history and architecture. The tour includes St. Charles Avenue and the Garden District, where all of the beautiful antebellum homes are located, as well as a 20-minute guided tour of St. Louis Cemetery #3. In the cooking class at the New Orleans School of Cooking, spouses will learn basic Cajun Creole cooking from experts who will teach New Orleans specialties such as Gumbo, Jambalaya and Pralines. If you choose to forgo spouse registration, tickets may be purchased separately for the spouses’ city tour and cooking class for $40 and $24, respectively.

And, we encourage you to arrive early in New Orleans to experience Mardi Gras 2014 on Tuesday, March 4, the last day of the carnival season. SUBExcel 2014 has been conveniently scheduled to kick off the next day with the President’s Welcome Reception at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5. The site hotel, the New Orleans Marriott, will honor the special ASA rate of $177 per night (single/double) if you would like to arrive a few days early to enjoy the festivities — and that’s a steal! Many Mardi Gras visitors are planning to arrive by Saturday, March 1.

The education program will begin the morning of Thursday, March 6 with the opening general session, followed by workshops and association management classes especially for chapter executive directors. I’m excited to note that six education modules presented by FMI will anchor the education program. FMI normally offers these education sessions for thousands of dollars! The evening will conclude with a networking reception. There are more workshops and association management classes for executive directors on Friday, March 7, and we’ve built in free time beginning at 4:30 p.m. to give you and your spouse the evening to explore New Orleans on your own.

Another general session, a workshop, and the annual meeting will take place on Saturday, March 8, followed by a Banquet Reception & Dinner beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Arnaud’s Restaurant.

With all of the special activities planned for spouses and chapter executive directors, the education programming featuring FMI, and the festive receptions and networking events, not to mention a few added surprises, this coming annual convention feels special. I hope you agree.

Register soon! Early-bird discounts end Feb. 11, 2014!

Nancy and I are looking forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

Happy Holidays!

Jack Austhof
2013-14 ASA President

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