We asked respondents in our salary survey to offer comments regarding career issues that might be useful to other readers. Comments in blue are from men and brown are from the women.

“Associations used to offer a more relaxed atmosphere for planners than corporations, and that somewhat compensated for the lower salaries. That's not the case anymore. I stay awake at nights trying to figure out how to make budget. … My salary is relatively low because I plan meetings instead of lobby at the Capitol.”

“I am not sure it has benefited me salarywise, but coming from the industry I lead has made the job easier and more fun.”

“When I started in executive management I had a much lower salary than my predecessor, even though he had left the organization in financial disarray and I had managed to straighten things out in a very short time. By using compensation survey reports and persisting for several years, I was able to bring my salary ‘in line.’”

“Be a leader when it comes to change. Don't be concerned about breaking the rules if your actions are legal and ethical.”

“To advance you must move to other employers where you can broaden expertise, develop skills, be exposed to different situations. Good presentation skills are essential, especially for women.”

“I think my young age is a factor in receiving promotions and new jobs.”

“Men may get higher salaries and incentives because they expect and therefore demand it. Women are not as likely to expect or to demand higher compensation.”

“I certainly encourage executive contracts and clear board and staff relationship policies.”

“More men at senior levels seem to get employment contracts than women do. It would be interesting to see how many organizations have male presidents/CEOs who are the figurehead, while the COO, EVP, SVP is a female who actually runs the business.”

“Difficult times for meeting planners. Hard to entice delegates to travel. Hotel attrition penalties cause worry.”

“Few women were around when I started in association management. Now there are lots. But women are still likely to be compensated less, be thought of as less-effective leaders, lose out to less-qualified males, and be more “nice” than men are expected to be — because we continue to raise boys and girls with traditional roles and values in spite of the facts of life in the workplace.

“Most of the women I work with these days are young, attractive, and totally unaware of the bigger picture — thriving on compliments and the fun, fast-paced environment, and working for a male manager. Reality won't hit them until they're in their 40s and their salaries become more important than the excitement.”

“Share as much credit with your volunteers and staff as you can. Take all the blame.”