ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership has acquired the Convene Green Alliance from IMN Solutions, an Arlington, Va.–based association and meeting management company.
“It looked like an opportunity that would be aligned very nicely with who we are, what we do, and what our members want,” said John Graham, CAE, president and chief executive officer at ASAE. “A lot of our members are interested in how to execute against a green-meeting strategy and we also have a social responsibility initiative of which is a part,” added Graham.
CGA, a limited liability corporation, was established in 2008 by leaders of 16 major associations to educate members about green meetings and environmental issues. It has more than 1,000 members, the vast majority of whom are from associations. Jack Sammis, president and CEO of IMN, approached Graham this past summer about the possibility of acquiring CGA to “take it to the next level,” recalls Graham. On November 29, the deal was completed. Terms were not disclosed.
“Members and sponsors are excited and fully support the CGA move to ASAE,” said Sammis. “John Graham is not only increasing ASAE'S environmental effort, but also expanding its reach globally—both excellent opportunities to grow CGA.”
The IMN staff that ran CGA will not move to ASAE. Instead, ASAE has appointed Chris Wood, former director of special projects at ASAE, to run CGA. Additional staff will be added as needed over time.
Graham said 99 percent of the CGA members are from associations and many of them are already ASAE members. Non-ASAE members wouldn’t have to become ASAE members to join CGA as it will continue to operate as a for-profit entity, said Graham. “Going forward, we will certainly keep the CGA brand for the foreseeable future,” he said. Some time down the road, after taking a deep dive into the business model, ASAE will look at whether or not to bring it in house under ASAE or keep it as an LLC. “That’s unclear right now.” While ASAE has a stake in several other for-profit ventures, this is the first time ASAE has acquired a for-profit, to the best of Graham’s knowledge.
To take CGA to the next level, ASAE leaders plan to expand its programming and reach. CGA currently holds four or five forums per year, all in the Washington, D.C., area. ASAE will continue to offer those meetings, but will also look to add programs around the country and perhaps add CGA tracks to existing meetings, like Springtime Expo or the annual meeting. ASAE will keep the focus on training and educating meeting professionals about green meetings, Graham added.