CFAR recently convened a diverse group of 19 leading CEOs from a wide range of associations to come together and discuss both the current challenges and opportunities in this disruptive time, as well as the variety of shifts impacting their members and fields. The discussion proved to be a rich one, both about the present and the future. Associations have been hit hard by COVID, as national and regional gatherings have gone virtual, membership numbers are in decline, and challenges to traditional value propositions have arisen. Associations play a vital role in the industries they serve and in the larger economy, particularly in healthcare, where they are leading voices in influencing policy, supporting research, and advocating for their professions.

Our discussion focused on three critical, interconnected areas in the business of associations—rethinking association business models given recent disruptions, creating the culture and conditions to be truly diverse and inclusive organizations, and engaging boards for greatest impact.