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Small Staff Association SuperHero Series: Workshop 1 Speakers

At Events by Design, we collaborate with seasoned professionals across various industries  to offer  clients a full spectrum of services to meet their needs.  For the Small Staff Association Superheroes Workshop, we have partnered with experts in areas including but not limited to HR, Marketing, Technology and Event Management.

Shira Harrington, Purposeful Hire, Inc.
Connect with Shira

Since 1994, Shira Harrington has helped foster highly engaged workforces in Washington, DC area associations. Her company, Purposeful Hire, Inc. focuses on executive recruiting, interview training, career consulting  and generational diversity training. She is passionate about bridging the perceived gaps between the generations and preparing executives for the coming labor shortage. Having been an active volunteer leader in ASAE, the HR Leadership Forum and the DC chapter of SHRM, she currently facilitates a bi-monthly roundtable for small staff executives entitled SAFE (Small Association Forum for Executives) sponsored by ASAE.

David Kushner, CAE, Kushner Companies
Connect with David

David Kushner, CAE, is the founder of The Kushner Companies, LLC, where he serves as a strategic consultant and advisor for nonprofit organizations specializing in governance and operational matters, staffing capacity analysis, strategic planning, re-structuring, and board and committee orientation programs.

He has served as the CEO or executive staff of nonprofit organizations for more than thirty years and as a consultant for thirteen years. David is a trained speaker, facilitator and seminar presenter.

Elizabeth Engel, CAE, Spark Consulting, LLC
Connect with Elizabeth

Elizabeth Weaver Engel has 15 years’ experience in association management. Although her primary focus has been in membership, marketing, and communications, her experience has been wide-ranging, including corporate sponsorship and fundraising, technology planning and implementation, social media and Internet strategy, budgeting, volunteer management, publications, and governance. Prior to launching Spark, Elizabeth consulted in online campaigns and marketing and Internet and social media strategy for Beaconfire Consulting, and in a wide range of subject areas in association management in the not-for-profit consulting practice at RSM McGladrey, Inc. She also served associations directly in a variety of positions, including Director of Member Services and IT, Vice President of Marketing, and Acting CEO.

Spark is a boutique consulting firm that provides strategic membership and marketing consulting for associations that have the willingness and capacity at both the staff and board levels to ask themselves tough questions and take some risks in service of reaching for big goals. Forget settling for incremental growth by making minor changes to what you’re doing – we’re going to uncover and solve the root problems that are holding your association back!

Vinnu Kudva, Events by Design
Connect with Vinnu

Vinodhini (Vinnu) Kudva is a senior level executive who has planned and marketed a multitude of cultural and corporate events. Vinnu has developed marketing programs that create brand awareness and drive traffic and sales.  Her programs have ranged from brand advertising to sampling programs to public awareness programs.  Her previous employers include British Standards Institute, Washington, DC’s historic Union Station, The Mills Corporation, Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries and Ruder Finn.

Events by Design (EBD) is a full-service event management and marketing company dedicated to meeting your needs. At Events by Design, we handle all your event details including strategy, marketing, exhibitor/sponsorship sales, registration, and event design.  We have the experience, skills, and vendor relationships to deliver quality events that will impress you as well as your clients and attendees. Our portfolio includes tradeshows, conferences, meetings, promotional marketing events, and large non-profit and private galas.

Laura Skoff, CAE, Team Dynamics, LLC
Connect with Laura

Laura Skoff, CAE is president of Team Dynamics, LLC, and a Chief Operating Officer by training.  She was COO for Coulter Companies, an association management company in the Washington, DC area, as well as for stand-alone non-profit organizations.  Skoff has served as Executive Director for several associations, been a speaker on virtual operations and is aggressively exploring how “managed services” models can help associations.

Team Dynamics, LLC is a professional services firm that specializes in providing consulting and management services to virtual nonprofits and to those transitioning from brick and mortar to a virtual platform.  TD is committed to enhancing functionality by leveraging technology and optimizing personnel.  As a virtual organization from its inception, Team Dynamics, LLC is committed to helping associations reduce their carbon footprint.

Eric Davis, Marketing & Technology Consultant
Connect with Eric

With over seven years of experience working with associations, Eric has been privy to helping them grow in a variety of ways, from development of membership campaigns and rebranding major associations to association website design and development and database implementation. His experience allows him to speak to the needs of association staff and eliminate the confusion of how technology works.

Eileen Johnson, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, LLP
Connect with Eileen

Eileen Johnson’s law practice is focused on the needs of nonprofit organizations.  With nearly 20 years of in-house experience at a national nonprofit organization and 6 years advising a variety of nonprofit and association clients, she understands the perspectives of association staff and boards.  Eileen is the Past Chair of ASAE’s Legal Section Council and a co-chair of her firm’s nonprofit practice group.

With over 160 attorneys, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is one of the region’s largest law firms, serving clients throughout the nation as well as national companies and law firms seeking representation in the mid-Atlantic area.  WTP’s Nonprofit Organizations & Associations practice group has 10 attorneys dedicated to serving the legal needs of nonprofit organizations and professional and trade associations.

Rich Sheehe, The Sheehe Group
Connect with Rich

Richard has spent more than two decades in communications, achieving national honors for journalism (AP, RTNDA, NAB) and for public affairs (CASE and Mercury Awards). A former national correspondent and news anchor for the NBC and CBS radio networks and contributing writer for The New York Times and Associated Press, he has worked in public affairs since 1998, including ten years at George Washington University as a spokesman, professor and assistant vice president. He specializes in the technology, non-profit/association and healthcare sectors.

The Sheehe Group was founded in 2009 to help clients with both internal and external communications, including high quality writing, strategic planning, and staff training in communications and writing skills.  Clients range from government agencies and major associations to startups and small businesses.


Small Staff Association Superhero Series: Workshop 1 Speaker Presentations

Speaker presentations are now available for the Small Staff Association Superheroes Workshop. Please click the presentation title for access.

Bridging Generational Gaps in the Workplace
Shira Harrington, Purposeful Hire, Inc

Build Your Personal Leadership Power To Do Great Things – currently unavailable
David Kushner, CAE, Kushner Companies, LLC

Membership Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Elizabeth Engel, CAE, Spark Consulting, LLC

Power Up Your Event with New Revenue Streams
Vinnu Kudva, Events by Design

Virtualize Your Operations and Gain the Power to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint and Power-up Your Productivity
Laura Skoff, CAE, Team Dynamics, LLC

Develop the Knowledge to Know a Good AMS from an Evil AMS
Eric Davis, Marketing & Technology Consultant

Truth, Justice and Internal Communications
Rich Sheehe, The Sheehe Group

Control Minds Through Contract Negotiation
Eileen Johnson, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP

Small Staff Association Superhero Series: Workshop 1 General Information

Do you do it all?  Membership Management, HR, Marketing, Conference Planning and Association Management? Need to pick up a few pointers to save the office from mayhem?
Join us for a FREE workshop that will energize your superpowers!
  • Build your personal leadership power to do great things
  • Generate super marketing strength with only a shoe string
  • Virtualize your operations and gain the power to shrink your carbon footprint and power-up your productivity
  • Develop the knowledge to know a good AMS from an evil AMS
  • Make major leaps and bridge generation gaps
  • Control minds through contract negotiation

Event Details

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
8:30 AM to 2:00 PM
Lunch will be provided.

Registration is free.  This event is open to association staff members  only.

Intelligent Office – Alexandria (A few blocks from the Eisenhower Avenue Metro)
2331 Mill Road
Alexandria, VA 22314

Official Event Hashtatgs: #AssocHeroes and #EBDSuperPowers

Click here for information on our speakers.

Click here to view the Tentative Schedule.

Email: Cost-Efficient Marketing

With rising costs in postage and print, email is a very cost-efficient marketing vehicle.  As much as email messages are easy to blast, it is also easy to miss.

See what the FTC has to say..

Virginia Gold Cup

Virginia Gold Cup has attracted the who’s who in the DC area since 1922.  More than 50,000 attendees will gather at the Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia on May 5, 2012 to celebrate race day which features six hurdle and timber horses races, Jack Russell Terrier races, hospitality tents, tailgating, hat contests and vendor booths.

Gold Cup is one of the largest events in the Washington, DC area.  A sponsor has a plethora of opportunities for lead generation and brand awareness.  As one of “the must-not-miss” social events to attend, Gold Cup is a great venue to host a hospitality tent to impress clients or to show your appreciation to employees.

Email us today to find out how attractive the demographics are for this event (  Here’s a sneak peak – 30% of attendees have incomes more than $200,000.

Sponsorship Opportunities


For a sponsor that wants the company’s brand introduced or reestablished within the inner-circles of National Steeplechase Racing and with the VGCA VIPs. Sponsors will have a captured audience of horse owners, government officials, celebrities and business executives for the afternoon of racing. This sponsorship includes the opportunity to entertain, in a turnkey fashion, 20 of the sponsor’s VIP clients in the Chairman’s Box and O/T/R Tent – giving a close behind the scenes look.


Join in the race day festivities by presenting the “Best Turned Out Horse” Award for each of the five races.  This award shows the grooms how much we appreciate the hard work and dedication it takes to get the horses looking their best on race day!


As the exclusive sponsor of the race-day Jumbotrons, the sponsor will reach the largest number of spectators numerous times during the day’s events. Your banners will be prominently displayed on both the North and South Jumbotrons to make a lasting impression on the 50,000 viewers.


Making the Most Out of Your Sponsorship

Organizations can garner greater ROI if they invest in their sponsorship beyond simply writing a check.  Go beyond getting the traditional logo recognition at the event.  Logo recognition gets you the brand awareness at the event which is valuable – but why stop there?  There are many ways to use your sponsorship to benefit your organization.

First determine what your business objective is.  Will you use your sponsorship for prospective customers, employee relations, or customer appreciation/retention?

Invite prospects to attend your hospitality tent.  Sometimes the best sales are closed outside of the board room.  Show your prospects that they mean more to you than the potential business they bring to your organization.  Build your relationship in a fun, low-pressure environment.

Use your sponsorship in a sales promotion. For a B2C company that wants to drive sales, a retailer could promote “Buy now, get an exclusive invitation to our VIP tent.”

Reward your loyal customers.  Do you have a loyalty program?  Customers get promotional fatigue with the routine discounts.  Offer something different such as access to your VIP tent.  It’s different and sets you apart from your competitor.  The money that you invest in discounts can be rerouted to creating a memorable experience your customers will appreciate.

Show how much you appreciate your employees. Looking for an alternative to the usual company picnic and holiday party.  Host your annual employee event with Gold Cup.  Make the experience fun and host interactive activities such as encouraging your employees to have a hat competition of their own.

After you build your strategy, determine what and how you will measure the success of your sponsorship.  What is it that you hope to accomplish with your sponsorship?  This will help you determine if the sponsorship is right for you and whether you will renew your sponsorship for the next event.  Metrics could include:  number of employees attended, new business acquired, or number of customers retained. Don’t forget the softer side of sponsorship where numbers could not be applied.  It’s difficult to place a dollar amount on customer and employee happiness.  Consider what you might loose if employees/customers are not happy.

There is a mathematical science to sponsorships.  IEG (the sponsorship people) developed internationally-recongized values for different sponsorship assets. You can place a value on everything from logo recognition in a program to website impressions. Events by Design exclusively uses IEG’s valuation methodology.  We can help you develop your strategy, implement your sponsorship, and evaluate its effectiveness.

For more ideas or strategies on how to make the most out of you sponsorship or hospitality tent, Email or call 703.579.1496.

Find Out More

Contact us today to learn more about sponsorship and tent hospitality opportunities at the 87th Annual Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase.  Email or call 703.579.1496.