At this year’s meeting in April at the Hilton Anaheim, there were many examples of how the association brings it all together for attendees, starting with a detailed on-site program guide spelling out various opportunities throughout the year.

Education is the core mission of CLA, and attendees at the meeting could earn up to 18 continuing professional education credits, as CLA is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy as a sponsor of CPE.

Education sessions at the meeting are also the primary way for members to earn points toward their Credentialed Christian Nonprofit Leader (CCNL) designation. New in Anaheim this year, says Brown, was an effort to elevate the profile of those earning their CCNL certifications. The 22 individuals were honored at the final night dinner. “These are people who are very active
year-round with CLA, and giving them special recognition at the meeting resulted in building more awareness of the program and also more people signing up on site to be part of it.”

Another change at this year’s meeting saw Scott and CLA President and CEO Tami Heim acting as the event’s emcees; in the past, the association hired a professional emcee to introduce speakers and make core announcements at the general sessions. “It was another way to build connection with members,” Scott says, “and something that Tami very much wanted to do as part of her inaugural conference as CEO.” (Heim came on board with CLA in 2012.)

Heim was also instrumental in launching two new forums at the meeting in addition to the popular CEO Forum—one for women in leadership and another for next-generation leaders. “She’s had an impact across the entire association and really propelled us into the social media and blogging spheres in ways that we have never been before, to really take all the knowledge resources and get that to a wider Christian leadership audience,” Brown notes.

CLA heavily tapped social media during the conference, using LinkedIn, Twitter, blogging, Facebook, and Google+ to drive participation. “We’re finding a growing importance to our social media voice in promoting the annual conference as well as sharing daily best practices, ideas, and information,” Brown says. “Social media is not just a marketing vehicle.”