Last Thursday saw the launch of this year’s Professional Body Sector Review, our annual publication assessing and defining the sector in its own right. This year, the Review examines future developments and anticipated challenges, including automation, social media & apprenticeships.
Regularly featured in the Review is a chapter on leadership, which this year features the recently appointed CEOs of AAT, CIM, CIOL and BIFM. Read on for an exclusive extended version of PARN CEO Andy Friedman’s introduction to the chapter.
In this issue of the Professional Body Sector Review we follow our custom from previous issues and feature views of CEOs of professional bodies on leadership in the sector. This year we feature four recently appointed CEOs. We asked our leaders to focus on the future for their professional body and for the sector as a whole.
Mark Farrar joined the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) as CEO in 2014. He has had a wide range of experience including the Royal Navy, Financial Services sector, the public sector as well as the third sector as Chief Executive of the UK Construction Industry Training Board.
Mark discusses what many would regard as a nice issue, the challenge of dealing with substantial growth in members and staff at AAT. Clearly some, hopefully many, professional bodies in future will have to deal with this issue.
Like the snake that must shed its old skin as it grows; new ways of working need to be taken on even though the organisation must continue to exhibit the characteristics that have led to the growth itself. Large organisations are different from small ones. More formal systems and procedures are needed. But for professional bodies, maintaining commitment to organisation values, collaborative culture and keeping members aware of the commitment of the professional body to supporting their professionalism is critical as Mark notes.
Our other three leaders deal with varying versions of what may be regarded as the elephant in the room for professional bodies, the fundamental challenge of our digital age, and especially for those without statutory requirements for practitioners to be members. Why would anyone pay to join an organisation to receive information and to network with others when one can do this for free through the Internet and online social media communities such as Linkedin, Facebook and whatever new and more useful platforms the future holds.
Anne Godfrey was appointed Chief Executive the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in August 2012. Anne has held leadership roles in a diverse range of membership organisations, including director positions at the Law Society and the CBI. Her background includes sales, marketing and product development roles in academic and professional publishing.
Anne discusses the need to change in the face of the challenge of digital disrupters, by becoming a collaborator with members to develop best practice rather than merely their voice. That is, engagement needs to involve more than putting on events for members to enjoy but also to develop with members what good practice looks like. In addition to involve more collaborators than members; non-member practitioners, business leaders, one’s own employees.
Ann Carlisle joined the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) in 2013 and was appointed as Chief Executive in 2014. She has extensive senior leadership experience in government, education and the public sector including working with the Metropolitan Police Service and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Ann discusses a problem at the other end of the scale from that of Mark Farrar, the reduction in the pool of potential members for the CIOL. She notes the decline in young people coming forth to learn languages. In addition there is the challenge of outsourcing by those who would otherwise directly hire linguists, in order to drive down costs and leading to unqualified practitioners being used.
James Sutton joined the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) in 2013 as COO and became CEO in 2015. Prior to this he spent ten years at the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), most recently as acting chief executive and director of strategic development.
James focuses on what professional bodies need to do in order to meet the challenges to their key offering of communities and networking by working harder to evidence value and build pride of association with their professional body. In addition he emphasises the importance of convincing top management of employers of the importance of professional standards. He also emphasises to importance of never losing perspective on long term benefits of professionalism, rather than becoming distracted by immediate desires of members; to become a critical friend to the profession.
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