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A Last Look at Leadership in 2021

Lessons from the pandemic are becoming a part of association culture

In some ways, for associations, the end of 2021 doesn’t look a lot different than the end of 2020. The pandemic is still a major factor in any serious decision-making process. Politics and economics are still disrupted and uncertain, making forecasting more difficult.

But 2021 was also the year when associations began to apply some of the lessons they learned in 2020. And there’s evidence that they came out stronger for it. Leaders have had to think more about social justice, hybrid meetings and offices and governance, all of which are good things. Challenges remain, of course, but having new problems to work on means associations aren’t getting too comfortable.

Here are a few of the most prominent themes that emerged in my conversations with association leaders over the past year.

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