The association environment is in constant flux. Professions evolve through the creation of new practices and the development of new education and certification initiatives, and associations are there to guide the way.

Annual conferences and other events—longtime staples of associations—grow and expand based on changes in the industries and professionals they target.

The priorities of professional sectors shift, and associations help their members track and pursue them diligently. Longstanding traditions for how and where people work get upended by technology and the infusion of new talent, and associations help professions adapt. And people are all different, and always will be—so it is part of the role of associations to embrace those differences and help everyone feel included and accepted.

Here, we tell stories of evolution across all those areas—in events, in workplaces, in advocacy, and in the acceptance of diversity. On the following pages, the people living and breathing change, and adapting to it—the people of SmithBucklin, our client organizations, and our industry partners—share their views on how we are evolving. Collectively, their voices tell the story not of where the world of associations has been, but of where it is going.

Welcome to the future.







Matt Sanderson
President & CEO


This year’s issue of Circuit (our 17th) is about change. About evolution. We’ve focused on four areas we see evolving rapidly that touch associations and the industries and professions they serve: live events, cultural inclusivity, the physical work environment, and policy awareness and influence

This issue of Circuit is also about people. People are central to each of the four evolving areas we’ve chosen to explore. And so we’ve featured the different voices of people who are at the heart of these changes—some colleagues, some industry leaders—sharing their perspectives, experiences, and beliefs. People who are testing ways to make events more engaging, who are fostering more welcoming professional cultures, who are innovating workplace environments to inspire and enable great work, and who are finding new ways to harness the power of collective industry voices to have the largest impact

The breadth and diversity of our client organizations and our people puts SmithBucklin in a unique position to share observations like these. Our people and the associations we serve are constantly driving and reacting to change. And our company is committed to evolving as well, in order to increase the impact we can have on associations as they evolve

On behalf of our entire team, I want to thank SmithBucklin’s many partners and colleagues for their ongoing support, loyalty, and friendship.