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Meet Mr. Abit

2021 Abit Massey Lecturer: Dr. Penny Elkins

Across an almost 30-year career, Penny Elkins has served and led teams and organizations across many aspects of both P-12 and higher education. A noted keynote speaker, Dr. Elkins is a recognized expert on the topic of equipping leaders and developing effective teams to achieve success. Learn More

GSAE Member - $39 ($49 after Sept. 17)
Guests - $49 ($59 after Sept. 17)

10:30 am - Member Orientation
11:30 am - Networking Reception
12:00 - Luncheon and Lecture
TBD - Supplier Council Check In

Register today or by September 17

Thank You to Our Host: Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center
Thank You to Our Sponsor & 2020 Annual Meeting Host: Visit Savannah
Thank You to Our AV Partner: OAV

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the below events are subject to change. We appreciate your flexibility as we all navigate this new environment.

  • Luncheons in February, April, July, September, and November are $39 for all GSAE members. If any are moved to a virtual Zoom program, it will be $25 for GSAE members.
  • Workshops will be priced at $35-$49 per CAE credit hour.
  • The 2022 GSAE Annual Meeting is at the Jekyll Island Convention Center on Jekyll Island, June 1-3.
    • First association executive attendee - $399.
    • Corporate supplier exhibitor and sponsor packages range from $679 to $2,909.
    • Additional attendees from the same organization - $359 each.
    • Room rates  from $189 to $259 run of house (before taxes).
Huntsville/Madison County CVB
Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center
Member News

Stinson Announces Retirement

Longtime Southern Economic Development Council (SEDC) President Gene A. Stinson, CAE, PCED, CEcD, HLM announces his retirement effective December 31, 2021, after leading the association for 23 years. To ensure a smooth transition, the SEDC board has created a search committee and will begin a nationwide search for Stinson’s replacement

Prior to joining SEDC, Stinson led three chambers of commerce and economic development organizations in Tennessee and Georgia starting in 1986. In 2018, Gene was honored to serve as the Board Chair of the Georgia Society of Association Executives. Mentioning achievements at SEDC, Stinson is most proud of the vast expansion of member services and programming, along with more than tripling the budget through the expansion of non-dues revenue. He is also a graduate and proud supporter of the University of Tennessee, where he graduated from the Martin campus in 1978. Go Vols!

Governor Appoints 20 to the Georgia Tourism Foundation

Congratulations to the following community members who will serve on the Georgia Tourism Foundation.

  • Paul Cramer is president & CEO of The Classic Center, a 350,000 square-foot meeting and convention facility, with a 2,000+-seat performing arts theatre, 2,000-seat arena, and 22,000 square foot outdoor covered pavilion, with a removable ice rink located in Athens, Georgia. 
  • Jay Markwalter, TMP serves as Executive Director of the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus (GACVB), the unified voice, education, and leadership development resource for our state's destination marketing organizations. 
  • William Pate serves as president of Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB), where he oversees maintaining tourism as one of the city's top economic drivers. 

See the full press release.


The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau and The Augusta Sports Council Unveiled New Branding

The Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) and the Augusta Sports Council (ASC) unveiled new corporate branding during National Travel and Tourism Week in May. Through the new branding, both organizations have kept their own individual identities while developing a unified visual identity. The ACVB and ASC worked with local creative agency, Wier/Stewart, on the visual identities for this rebranding effort. Congrats to GSAE member Iman Johnson and Destination Augusta!

GSAE Thanks Unicoi State Park & Lodge and Coral Hospitality

GSAE’s Board of Directors sends a big thank you to GSAE member, Paula Fronimo, and her Coral Hospitality team for hosting the GSAE Leadership Retreat August 28-29 at Unicoi State Park & Lodge. We will share all our plans this fall. It’s going to be unicorn-epic.

Meet Me in Athens!

Athens, GA was named the upcoming host city of the 2022 Georgia Governor's Tourism Conference. Visit the city's Visitor's Site to see why Athens was chosen as the desitnation for this important event. Congratulations to Nick Arnold, Jay Boling and the Athens CVB team.


Jennifer Baker is Membership Engagement Manager at Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA).


Ray Ezelle is Executive Director at Discover Dunwoody.


Rosetta Boatwright is Senior Hospitality Operations Manager for Goodwill Industries of Middle GA. Rosetta will be in charge of the Anderson Conference Center in Macon, assisting with hospitality management instruction at Helms College and the philanthropic efforts of Goodwill.

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa
The Lodge at Gulf States Park
GSAE News & Events

The GSAE Nominating Committee is soliciting names of members interested in serving on the GSAE Board of Directors. The Nominating Committee will include five or more at-large GSAE association executive members in good standing (invited to serve: Niel Dawson, Kevin Shea, Heather Blanchard, CAE, Kelsey List, and Royalle Wright) in addition to GSAE Chair Mary J. Wheatley, IOM, CAE, Past Chair Joel Peacock, and Chair-Elect Ashley Goodin, CAE.
Four seats for individual association member directors and one seat for a corporate supplier (hospitality) director will be available for two-year terms, beginning January 1, 2022. If you or someone you know would like to be considered, please complete a self nomination form or nominate another GSAE member here. All candidates must be members in good standing. Deadline for nominations is September 30, 2021.
The slate of nominees will be offered to the membership for review no later than November 8, 2021. Board members and officers will be accepted and installed at the GSAE Annual Business Meeting on December 8.
Relevant Bylaws:
At least ninety (90) days prior to the annual business meeting, the Board of Directors shall appoint a Nominating Committee of at least five (5) persons, each of whom shall have been an Individual member of the Society for at least two (2) years. The chairman shall be the Immediate Past Chair. Others on the committee shall be the Chair, Chair Elect and two or more other members not currently serving on the GSAE Board of Directors. Names of nominating committee members and an invitation for recommendations for candidates for nomination shall be announced to the membership at least sixty (60) days prior to the annual business meeting. The nominating committee shall submit at least one (1) name for each available elective office of the Society and said slate shall be presented, in writing, to the membership at least thirty (30) days prior to the annual business meeting and again, orally, at the annual business meeting.


GSAE recognizes excellence by presenting a variety of awards to members. To nominate a member for an award, simply email The deadline for nominations is September 30, 2020. Learn more about the awards program here


Applications will be accepted through September 30, 2021.

  • Updated curriculum featuring GSAE leaders and industry experts
  • Experiential learning opportunities and tours of local associations
  • Capstone project based on learning outcomes
  • Eight day-long classes and an overnight kick-off retreat
  • Facilitated by current and past GSAE leaders, past graduates, and subject specialists
  • Open to any GSAE member CEO or staff
  • Limited to no more than 20 professionals
  • $1,700 covers registration, tours, meals, and all course materials
  • Convenient payment plans are available as long as the balance is met by December 31, 2022
  • Up to 56 credit hours to qualify to sit for the CAE exam or to recertify
ASA Compensation logo

The Real-Time Compensation Benchmarking tool is a 24/7/365 online compensation benchmarking platform designed exclusively for executives of professional, trade and service-centric associations/nonprofits.

  • NEW - Free to GSAE members through March 2022
  • Entering data will always be free
  • Compare key operational metrics, estimate valuable KPI's, and generate customized reports
  • Answers to frequently asked questions
  • Get started now!

Live webinars are worth 1 CAE hour. Did you know? More than 94 CAE-qualifying recorded webinars are available 24/7 on our GSAE website.


Huge thanks to our 2022 Annual Meeting host, Jekyll Island Authority, and their marketing department for creating such a welcoming logo. Maria Trammell and Kevin Udell cannot wait to welcome y’all June 1-3, 2022. The Pay the Pig recipient will be the Georgia Sea Turtle Center, of course. Room blocks are being set up at not 1, 2, or 3 properties, but nearly all available hotels. We’ll open those up in late September so watch your email.


As a reminder:

  1. GSAE annual dues are sent via beginning in November. Always check that "from" line if you have any doubts.
  2. GSAE does not contract with third-party companies to sell our mailing list or member data. Please disregard any such fraudulent company solicitations. If you would like to rent GSAE's mailing list legitimately, you may access the contract on our forms page. We do not release your email address as part of the mailing list rental agreement - ever, per Board policy.
  3. GSAE staff or leaders will never ask you to transfer funds to a staffer, volunteer leader, or another member for any reason. If one of our leaders is actually traveling and runs into a spot of bother, they will contact a family member - not us, and not you.
  4. While we may ask you to log in to your profile to register for an event or update your contact information, we will not ask you to send your social security number, bank account information, or credit card information directly to us. Electronic and paper invoices will direct you to our secure PCI-compliant payment page or to our fax number.
  5. If you have any questions about the validity of a message from GSAE - from staff, our officers, our website or our enewsletter provider - please don't hesitate to contact us directly.
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
News Briefs

Live Review, a free learning platform demonstration event helps organizations looking to put a new (and sometimes first) online learning platform in place in order to serve their own members better. Live Review offers a chance to get an up-close, convenient, and free look at 14 different platforms that are attuned to the needs of market-facing providers continuing education and professional development (whose needs tend to be quite different from the corporate training departments most platforms are designed to serve). You can get more information and see which platforms are participating on the event website. Again, registration is free.

Alabama Gulf Coast CVB
GSAE Membership Directory & Buyers' Guide

The 2022 GSAE Membership Directory & Buyers' Guide will go to print soon and we want to make sure everything is exactly how you want it! Did you get a new job? Is your name spelled correctly? Do you have new contact information? Please update your profile by October 4.


Advertising space in the annual GSAE Membership Directory & Buyers' Guide is now available! Make sure your company has a lasting presence in front of GSAE members all year long. Ad sales close September 30. To be included, contact Debbi McClanahan, Media Director, at (352) 333-3490 or at

  • Our COVID-19 resource page and Pajama Brigade resource page are available to our community. Resources include a GSAE meetings tool kit and sample questions list to work through with a facility. We encourage our hotels, facilities, and CVBs to access these resources, too. We are all partners in keeping our attendees and visitors safe and using data-based decision-making practices. 
  • Recordings of our recent virtual meetings are available on our GSAE1917 YouTube Channel through GSAEtv.
  • GSAE's Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) are complimentary, self-directed groups of GSAE members that focus on a particular area of interest. Learn more about Shared Interest Group (SIG) opportunities and join through your member profile or send an email to GSAE.
We take our work seriously. We're well aware that what we do impacts members of multiple association partners globally. This is work that matters. We take family seriously. When it's time to go...
Hungry to grow yourself? Sharpen your skills? Learn more about associations? Impact members of a non-profit? This more entry-level position is a great place to grow at NCG. We take our work...
We take our work seriously. We're well aware that what we do impacts members of multiple association partners globally. This is work that matters.We take family seriously. When it's time to go...



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