Greetings to you all,


We here at ACTE headquarters hope all is well with each and every one of you. This is the winter edition of In the Lead, which comes to you three times a year and is designed to address some of the pressing issues at hand for state leaders. This month we will focus on three issues: volunteer recruitment, strategic planning, and using social media. In this issue you will find articles about volunteer leadership; business-nonprofit partnerships to bolster volunteering efforts; strategic planning; and using social media effectively in your organizational pursuits? (Note that the strategic planning story highlights: what is a strategic plan; how to develop one; and a sample plan from ACTE.) 

In this issue
Establishing Alternative, Viable Paths to Volunteer Leadership
Organizations and Companies Working Together Can= Success
Developing a Strategic Plan
Social Media: Do We Want to Go There?
Next Conference Call for State Leaders
ACTE Offering Consulting Services
Important Dates to Remember

Establishing Alternative, Viable Paths to Volunteer Leadership

By N. Susan Emeagwali   


There is a real need for organizations to offer their members several "equally effective and acceptable" paths to leadership within the organization, according to an article in the January 2011 edition of Associations Now. Individuals don't want to spend six, seven or eight years on the committee path and then try to get on the board. Today most people can expect to change careers three to five times before they retire, notes the article, which means their professional associations and affiliations change too; experts weighed in on why organizations need to take a hard look at their paths to leadership if they want to fill those seats.

      "The frustration is really up," said Cynthia D'Amour, president of People Power Unlimited, and the author of The Lazy Leader's Guide to Outrageous Results. "I don't think as a community we've started experimenting enough and going back to why do we ask people to do what we ask them to do. She asks, "Does it really take seven years to be a qualified board member? What is the purpose of seven years to become a leader? And if they do give seven years, what experience do you guarantee?"

      What is needed is transparency; the association should show members clearly how leadership positions are filled and how members can get on the path to the board, Vernetta L. Walker notes in the article. Walker, director of consulting for BoardSource, notes that a lot of organizations do get it right in terms of making it clear what they are looking for in terms of ascendency to leadership roles, but others do not.

Nominating Committee

       Nancy Somerville, the CEO at the American Society of Landscape Artists (ASLA), notes that every year there is a call to ASLA's membership of 16,000 to fill various seats on committees and to fill elected positions. The call usually gets a response of about 200 people and the association works to find a place for each of them.

       "It's rare that we don't find something. We have a professional practices committee that has a lot of subcommittees and does a lot of work," Somerville said. "They always need additional hands, so if we don't find a home for everyone, we suggest they try professional practices."
      She says the organization encourages its 48 chapter leaders who sit on the 60-member board to look for local people who may be good leaders now or later on. The key to putting the right people on the path to leadership, she notes, is the nominating committee. The committee is charged with making sure the candidate slates are balanced for elections (a novice isn't paired with a well-known member, for instance) since at ASLA all elections must be contested.

     "Leadership is not about being able to promote yourself," Somerville says. "The nominating committee, while not perfect, is really a good system and very helpful in sorting through and not getting blindsided by self-promotion. They take a hard look at the candidates and put a lot of time into looking into what the society needs."

Organizations and Companies Working Together Can= Success

By N. Susan Emeagwali


The economic downturn has greatly affected just how much nonprofits are able to accomplish given their dwindling resources. Perhaps one vastly untapped resource which can help them to accomplish their missions is the successful utilization of human capital. Nonprofit organizations across the nation are pairing up with businesses and community partners to achieve long-term social impact, and a new documentary film series, "Making A Difference...Differently, by Deloitte highlights just how these pairings can be accomplished and how much they can achieve.

     "We made these films primarily to help our own people recognize just how much they have to offer, and to encourage others in the business community to embrace skills-based volunteerism," said Evan Hochberg, national director of community involvement, Deloitte Services LP. "Deloitte is committed to helping advance the field of community involvement by focusing on volunteerism that achieves very tangible outcomes, and this film series is an opportunity for us to spark dialogue that makes people think about the value of their professional skills in a different way."

      Although money may be tight, leveraging the skills of highly qualified volunteers to accomplish tangible outcomes via skills-based volunteerism is a lucrative resource; many professionals and companies do and will volunteer their time for the right cause- and if you make the right pitch to them.

     The four issues addressed in the series are fellowship, skills, ready and empower. The series offers "a compelling story of volunteers affecting social change through the contribution of business skills and acumen, to help a nonprofit organization deal with tough business issues." Although the short films profile how Deloitte 's top professionals have volunteered their time to nonprofit organizations and the changes they were able to help effect, the films provide a template that can be used by any nonprofit to source the right people for the right volunteer positions.

Developing a Strategic Plan

The strategic plan is developed by the board of directors and represents an expression of the core purpose and values of the association and serves as a blueprint for the future direction of the organization. The plan serves as a map for the priority allocation of resources and determines the annual objectives and work plan for the volunteers and staff.


Tips for Developing Strategy

         The strategic direction and its intent becomes a living reality as it is implement by the organization on an annual basis.

         The strategic direction helps the organization clarify its position; it acts as a guide as the organization constantly reviews and updates its current portfolio of programs, products and services, including:

-   What new programs, products and services need to be developed and implemented in order for the organization to remain relevant.

-     What current programs, products and services need to be updated or eliminated in order for the portfolio to be the highest quality.

         There are effective and efficient processes to connect the elements of the strategic direction with the organization's annual operational plan.

         The strategic direction drives and directs the annual budget.

         The infrastructure of the organization is reviewed continuously to ensure that it is well linked to and effectively supports the ongoing implementation of the strategic direction.

          The organization has in place procedures and processes to formatively evaluate its strategic direction and ongoing implementation on an annual basis.


The status of the ACTE Strategic Plan is to be reviewed annually by the Board of Directors. The goals and objectives are to be reviewed every two to three years. Strategies and tactics for achieving the goals and objectives are identified and implemented by committees and staff.


Sample Strategic Priorities/Plans

  • By June 2011, career and technical education (CTE) and CTE educators will be positively recognized and valued by the general public.


Priority-By June 2011, career and technical education and CTE educators will be positively recognized and valued by the general public.



         The number of career and technical education programs available at the secondary level will increase by 10 percent.

         The number of students in CTE teacher education majors will increase by 10 percent.

         The number of positive CTE articles in the media will increase by 25 percent.


An example of ACTE's FY11 Strategic Priorities is available in the Appendix of ACTE's Association Management Handbook.

Social Media: Do We Want to Go There?

Plotting your organization's social media strategy with outcomes in mind

By: Pia Simeoni


Social media channels are relatively new to the marketing playing field, but most don't realize that people have been socializing online for decades in online communities of one type or another. There were the bulletin board systems (BBS) of the 70s and 80s, then the Web-based communities that grew along with the world wide web in the 90s. With the explosion of social media in the mid to late 00s, the concept of online community today has become central to a business' online and offline presence. People want to connect, engage, share, and learn, especially with people who have similar interests, or people they know and trust. Any type of organization, from colleges and universities, to non-profits, to large and small businesses, have the opportunity to create and foster online relationships that will support their overarching business and marketing goals, whether it's providing excellent customer service, championing a cause, gaining new customers, increasing enrollment, or increasing community or student engagement.

 in the lead 1


A Brief Explanation of Social Media Tools in the Educational Context

Most are familiar with the Facebook-Twitter-Youtube triumvirate. On Facebook, there are personal pages, groups, and company pages. Teachers may use Facebook Groups to discuss assignments and disseminate information to a class. Schools may create a Facebook Page to market their education programs or build class unity and team spirit and try to grow their following to expand the reach of their message. Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows posting of messages limited to 140 characters to a wider audience. Twitter users can follow other users who have the same interests, and gain followers by posting interesting content and engaging with other users. Twitter has been used to encourage student engagement in class discussions, or hold discussions among teachers. YouTube videos are used to deliver lectures, recordings of school events, or student projects. Social media can also be used to spread the word about offline events, such as conferences, seminars, or student events. All the great pictures taken at these events can be posted to Flickr, a popular photo sharing service, and then linked to on Facebook and Twitter. It's their nature to be interrelated, and there are scores of other social tools that can be used, depending your social media goals.


Define Your Goals for Social Media

So what is it that you want to accomplish? You can strive for increasing the number of your Facebook "likers" or Twitter followers, but what does that number actually do for you? Rather, think about social media goals in terms of your business and marketing goals - or your classroom goals. Do you want to hire new talent? Do you want to position yourself as an authority on a particular subject? Do you want to increase student engagement? Knowing your goals leads you directly to knowing exactly who your audience is, which will help you deliver the right message and encourage better quality of your interactions. Remember, depending on your goals, it's usually the quality of your engagement, not the quantity, that helps you reach them.


Evaluate the Social Ecosystem

Now that you know your goals and your audience, go find them! Conduct a discovery exercise of the relevant parts of the social "ecosystem" to find out where your audience  (or potential audience) is already working and playing, listen to what they are saying and watch what they're doing. If your audience is high school students, you may find through your research that most high school students are on Facebook and rarely read their email. Based on that knowledge, you may want to drive high school students to a Facebook group, but not use email to reach them. Higher education students and educators may use Twitter more than younger students.

Also, do some competitive "espionage." Visit web sites of schools similar to yours and see how they are using social media for their respective audiences. Find out how other teachers are using these tools. How are they using YouTube to disseminate information about their school or to conduct lectures online?


Plot your Course with an Online Presence Map

Create a visual "presence map" of the social media channels in which you want to focus engagement, factoring in your business, marketing, or classroom goals, and the opportunities in the social media ecosystem that you discovered in the previous step. This presence map will give you a nice visual of the interrelationships among all of your chosen channels. Include other communication vehicles, including print pieces, email, and web site. In this example, all social media communication flows to the hub, which is your web site.


Planning Your Social Engagement

Develop a content & activity matrix to help you plan out what channels you will use for particular activities. First, list out the various communication channels you use. Then list out the various activities over a period of time. Choose which will be the primary source of information, and then choose the supporting channels that will link to it.

Now that you understand the dynamics, strengths, and limitations of your chosen social media channels, this matrix will help you instantly determine:

  •  Where will we post messages? Facebook? Twitter? Email campaign? Blog post? All?
  • When will we engage? What is the frequency of activity? Before, during, and after?
  • What are our expected outcomes? More comments? More followers?

Getting Started

Above I introduced the Where, When, and What of social engagement. This step answers the "How." At this point you know your goals. You know your audience. You know which social channels to use. Now for the logistics. Now you have to set up accounts on these social channels. That means usernames and passwords and emails...oh my! Be sure to document and keep in a secure place all of the accounts that you have set up, including the username or "handle," the email associated with the account, and the password. Also, if you are supporting marketing efforts for an organization, make sure your usernames that are visible to the public are in line with your overall branding initiatives and consistent across all social channels in which you are participating.

There are several tools that allow you to manage multiple social media channels in one place, whether you want to post the same message to multiple networks, or just use one tool for all of your needs. TweetDeck offers desktop and web-based versions of their software that allows posting to not only multiple Twitter accounts, if you have them, but also to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Google Buzz, and more. Seesmic.com also offers similar desktop and web-based tools for multiple social media channels. HootSuite.com, which is strictly web-based, is another powerful tool that has similar features to TweetDeck and Seesmic. All three offer mobile versions of their software for various smartphones, including Android, BlackBerry, and IPhone.


Managing and Moderating

After the Where, When, What, and How, it's time to answer the question of Who - specifically, who is going to be in charge of posting messages and monitoring and responding to comments? Whether it's one person or many, outline some best practices for engagement. For example, specify how often to monitor and respond to comments, or how to respond to positive and negative comments.


Reporting and Measuring

Anyone using social media can measure their performance in some way, whether it's simply looking at how many followers you have on Twitter, or using a robust (and expensive) social media monitoring tool like Radian6 to measure "sentiment" and even ROI. However, if you took the time to set goals, you're going to want to know if you're meeting your goals. You can start by simply tracking hard numbers, such as weekly increase in Twitter followers, Facebook page fans, or YouTube video views, and then summarize the "sentiment" of comments and reactions (or lack thereof) in relation to specific events or activities simply by reading them. Tie your results back to your original overarching business, marketing, or classroom goals. Work with relevant teams, such as marketing or IT, to determine how social media is driving traffic to your web site, or the enrollment office, to see if there's been an increase in enrollment. Or evaluate the difference in student engagement before and after using social media. Larger initiatives require larger measures, so think ahead about all of the potential stakeholders you may want to engage to help propel your strategy as well as to help determine whether it's effective.


Enjoy It!

Regardless of the scale of your social media efforts, take the time to enjoy the opportunity that social media gives you to directly engage and interact with people! It is a truly unique opportunity to converse, lead, educate, learn, and play with others, online, and in real-time. Hopefully these online interactions will also encourage more meaningful face-to-face interactions with customers, students, co-workers, and friends.


Pia Simeoni is director of marketing for TreeTop Software Co., LLC, the creators of SweatMonkey.org, a unique social network dedicated to building partnerships between students, schools and nonprofit organizations. SweatMonkey.org provides hour tracking, crediting, and impact measurement of meaningful service learning, volunteer, and internship opportunities for students, schools, and organizations. This article first appeared in this month's issue of "K-12 Partnership Report" by Dehavilland Associates.

Next Conference Call for State Leaders will Address: Volunteering

Our February state leaders conference call will be held on Tuesday, February 22, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. We will discuss volunteer leadership. How do you recruit new leaders?  How do you retain them? Executive Director Jan Bray, Past President Ed Melott, President-Elect Jim Comer and some of your state leaders will lead us through this discussion. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend!


Here is the call in information:

Dial In: 866-503-4605

Code: 7036839315

ACTE Offering Consulting Services


ACTE announces a new service that offers a wide variety of customized options to support organizational development, and to drive school improvement. As a leader in CTE, ACTE is a trusted resource for schools, districts and state educational agencies. The ACTE Consulting Service has gathered a cadre of knowledgeable and experienced experts to provide a range of services, including strategic planning, leadership development, marketing, data collection and analysis, energy sustainability program development and facilities management. Our expert consultants have a long history of supporting CTE teachers and leaders throughout the United States and internationally. For more information about the consulting services, please contact Jan Bray at jbray@acteonline.org


Important Dates to Remember


Region I Conference

April 28-30

Latham, NY

Region II Conference

September 29- October 2

Asheville, NC

Region III Conference

June 13-15

Terre Haute, IN

Region IV Conference

April 14-16

Biloxi, MS

Region V Conference

April 6-9

Rapid City, SD


N. Susan Emeagwali, semeagwali@acteonline.org.
In The Lead is an e-mail newsletter produced by the ACTE Member Programs department for ACTE members and interested non-members.
Replies: Contact Susan Emeagwali
Technical Problems: Contact ACTE's Webmaster or visit ACTE's complete department e-mail listVisit ACTE on the Web.
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