Read about CAE® Graduates Experiences in the Program

Stephanie Pimentel, CAE, CRM
Director, Operations Ontario Library Association (OLA)

The CAE® Program was one of the most rewarding and critical thinking professional education experiences I have ever been involved with while still working a full-time job.

Over the last 2 years, this program challenged my thinking, enhanced my perspectives around leadership, and increased my knowledge around best practices while learning new processes for managing change within our Association. It gave me new and creative ways around problem solving that I use in my every day (both professionally and personally).  It amplifies these words spoken by Henry Ford “Don’t find fault, Find a remedy.” It built up my confidence in leading my team and allowed me to explore and have a better understanding of good governance and Association Management.

This CAE® Program not only provided me with definite results but also provided areas I could grow and improve.  One of the quotes I love while reading an article by Jeannice Watts Hall “be teachable. You’re not always right” I love this because you never stop learning and growing, especially in a Leadership position of an Association.

This program is worth the investment and I was incredibly blessed to have my work pay for this program. I am so appreciative and couldn’t wait to transfer all this new knowledge to my team.  I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in learning.  I also want to reward the passion and commitment of the CSAE staff that manage this CAE® Program. I had the pleasure of working with Eve Mechici, Manager, CAE Program and she was extremely helpful, quite knowledgeable and her support was truly appreciated. Thank you!

Kelly Banks, CAE
Ottawa Safety Council, School Zone Safety Coordinator

I found the CAE course to be relevant, challenging and worthwhile.  It was really useful to be able to pick our own topics for reports as they related to our current organizations.  I conducted valuable research and analysis and made recommendations through the assignments that have been used and implemented in my organization.  The course content really fleshed out my understanding of strategy, board governance, risk analysis, research skills and report writing.  I recommend it to anyone that wishes to build a career in the not for profit world. 

Dr Judi L Malone, Registered Psychologist (AB/AUS), CAE, CEO, Psychologists’ Association of Alberta

Change is adaptation but transformations need not be difficult. Indeed, embracing organizational change makes life in our constantly evolving climate a refreshing way to enjoy our careers.

How do we embrace such change? Organizational change expert Jim Hemerling targets imperatives centered around putting people first to make company reorganization an empowering, energizing task for all. For me, that was a process facilitated by my learning process in becoming a Certified Association Executive (CAE).

Change sounds terrifying to some; its human nature to fear what cannot predict. But, its also human nature to want control over the unknown. Embracing change allows us to feel “ahead of the curve”. As a registered psychologist, I understand the benefit of people feeling in control – and how good information and informed choices set the foundation for success in such processes.

Once fully embraced, “always on” transformation is actually a shift out of crisis mode by being ahead of the curve – less exhausting and more rewarding. We are always transforming. Doing so in a bold way means putting people first.

Before the CAE program I had high levels of training, a great range of experience, had managed many successful roles and projects, and had strong networks. Id also had my share of missteps. Missteps in hiring and managing staff, facilitating politics with boards or outside organizations, or trusting processes that I did not fully understand.

My CAE training was invaluable, personally and professionally, particularly in my current role. I was able to not just learn more about effective association leadership, but about myself, my needs, and ways to evolve professionally as an association executive and beyond. As a bonus, we’ve embraced change as a provincial professional association and are well on our way to be a high-performance organization.

I have a history as an academic and have been steeped in adult pedagogy. I’m familiar with what makes a good course, how adults learn, and the importance of continuing professional development. This CAE program is well structured with optimal flexibility and a good range of resources.

Most importantly, the CAE program fueled my thirst for knowledge while helping to build a growing thriving professional association of which I am not just the leader but a proud member.

Vince Accardi, CAE
Director, Policy and Stakeholder Relations
Tourism Industry Association of Canada

After years working in Tourism associations and over a decade being responsible for a team that developed occupational standards, training and the professional certification system available for professionals in the Tourism sector. I was privileged to witness how professional certification made an impact on ones pride, benefited organizational objectivities and advanced careers. After a career move to join the Tourism Industry Association of Canada an organization that advocates for a sector that I love and have built a career in. I made a decision to advance my own professional knowledge and gain recognition as an association professional by achieving my Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation. This decision was not taken effortlessly and may not have been possible without the support of my employer and my family.  The program consists of five online learning courses which are twelve weeks each and a final exam which is based off the professional competencies listed in the standards for not-for-profit management. The program is designed for working professionals and for me, successfully completing my CAE certification took a personal commitment, careful scheduling of my work and family commitments and open communications with those who supported me through this journey. I’m proud of this accomplishment and highly recommend that you consider becoming a Certified Association Executive (CAE) professional. It makes a difference!

Frances LeBlanc, CAE
CEO, New Brunswick Chiropractors Association

I proudly achieved the CAE designation in 2019. The CAE program allowed me to further develop skills and knowledge, while simultaneously improving the operations and programming of organizations that I serve. I am happy to have invested time and resources to complete the CAE program and now am better equipped to serve in my role as an association executive.

Melissa Stark, BA (Hons), MLIS, CAE
Executive Director, Canadian vascular access association

I have been aware of CSAE for many years, but only when I started the first of my five CAE courses did I start to recognize the value for me in my role as Executive Director for a non-profit nurses’ association. When I started the courses, I thought the education would be valuable as a designation but wasn’t sure how much would apply to me in my day to day work. However, as I progressed through the courses, I created a “Lessons Learned” file with learnings and initiatives that I could implement into my organization right away that would result in tangible benefits for both our members and our Board governance.  The five courses were often time-consuming and challenging, but the takeaways I gained in addition to more general education was extremely valuable. I’m proud to be able to use the CAE designation!

Dawn Wilson, CAE, Executive Director,
Canadian Association of General Surgeons (Ottawa)

It’s very rewarding for me getting the CAE designation, but mostly because having to do this under the most difficult professional circumstances I have ever been working under fees like a big achievement for me. I worked endless, endless overtime in the past 2 years and did this on top of that t keep our Association afloat. We have turned the corner now but the learning I  achieved through this course has helped me immeasurably. I have added the lovely initials to my signature below with great pride!

Jeannette Chau, P.Eng., MBA, CAE |Manager
Government Liaison Programs,Professional Engineers

As an experienced Manager with many years under my belt in both the corporate and association sector, I found that both my organization and I still benefited a great deal from taking the CAE course. For each of the five courses in the program, we were required to work on a mid-term and final project that related to the particular areas we were studying.
In each case, I tried to select a project or area that would be beneficial to my organization. Many of the projects required the use of benchmarking amongst other associations and I was able to gain a lot of insight and data on what we ourselves should consider.
Had I not been required to make the time to do them, they probably would not have been done. We are always so busy working on our immediate priorities.My organization got the benefit of basically having in essence an internal consultant doing research and reports proposing recommendations for them on several topics.
The CAE course was also an excellent refresher of material I had learned in the past, as well as an opportunity to get updated on new tools and concepts.
I had the option to request exemption from many of the courses due to prior learning experiences, but chose to take the entire course and am glad that I did.
It is not a simple program. It does take a chunk of time out of your life and requires perseverance.  There were several times when I wondered whether I should have asked for those exemptions instead of putting myself through the whole course.
But in the end, I am glad that I did and I made the right choice.

Robert J. Pye, CAE, Manager, Business Development & Corporate Messaging, Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters

My CSAE experience provided a great perspective about the successes and challenges of other association professionals also working for ‘the cause.’ My passion for fishing and hunting is what brought me to the head office of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Through CSAE, it’s great to share notes and experiences with those who are both personally and professionally driven to make a difference for the cause they represent as well. The CAE® designation is just another example of the ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ mindset of association professionals. It’s easy to be dedicated when you believe in your work.

Richard Gerner, CAE
Professional Association Management Services

I was delighted to have the opportunity to be one of the first Australians to undertake the CAE® program. While I already had an MBA and many years of experience in both the commercial and non-profit sectors, I chose to undertake the complete CAE® program by coursework in order to gauge my own compliance with the competencies addressed by the program. I found it to be an excellent format, providing stimulation and self assessment on a weekly basis throughout. The program is very professional in its development and in the way it is supervised, with every sense that those who oversee the program are themselves steeped in the competencies being promoted. Being a long way from Canada was no disadvantage at all.

Rozalyn Werner-Arcé, CAE
Community Living Ontario

The CAE® program is a very smart investment and one that I highly recommend that association leaders make in themselves. Why? It reinforced what I already knew, it helped me articulate what I instinctively knew but couldn’t put into words, and it expanded and deepened my thinking. It built my confidence, extended my networks, and increased my knowledge about association management. I was fortunate enough that my employer paid for the course and even before I completed the entire course, I was able to provide a return on their investment by contributing new ideas, concepts and approaches to issues. Being an association leader is a proud and honorable profession; being an association leader with a CAE® enhances your professional status.

Leon A. Mills, CAE, M.Ed., COHC
CEO, Canadian Hard of Hearing Association-NL

I strongly believe that earning the CAE® designation is extremely important for all association executives and their associations, regardless of type, size of membership or annual revenue amounts. Participation in any such process is often demanding, time consuming and carries a significant cost, however the impact on the association, its governance, management, leadership, and service deliver to members will be significant and extremely valuable.
In today’s fast changing world of association governance and management, the most important and ongoing challenge for association leaders is to ensure relevancy for members and managing their expectations. I believe that earning the CAE® designation will enhance a person’s overall personal and professional growth, and help them to become high performance executives. By extension, this will also help their associations to become high performance and able to meet members expectations now and for the future.

Christine Nielsen, CAE, BHA, MLT
CEO, Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science

Regardless of your background or education, everyone can benefit from the CAE®  program. If you have been leading an association for ten years, or have just started navigating the waters of an association, the CAE® program has something for you! The colleagues you ‘meet’ bring a very mixed bag of experience and education, and everyone is willing to share. I have worked in the not-for-profit sector for over ten years, five in a professional association, and the CAE® program provided me with immediate, tangible information and strategies throughout the course. This program is unique, in that is helps you understand good governance, Best Practices, is research-based and expands your network. Problem solving and collaboration are built in to the program; making for a unique, rewarding experience. I have learned how to create reports for my association that are well-researched, effectively resourced and written in a way that gets results. This program is definitely worth the investment!

Nicola Wright, CAE, Vice President, Client Services, Fletcher Wright Associates Inc.

The CAE® program challenged me to expand my knowledge base, question my thinking and enhance my understanding of the association community. For the associations I work with, the assignments that were completed as part of the CAE® program provided valuable information and ideas that they were able to put into action. Professionally, achieving the CAE® designation has enhanced my reputation and credibility — in addition, my employer recognizes the value of the designation and has increased my compensation as a result. Earning the CAE® designation is an important milestone in my association career.

Our Partners

Our partners are best in class companies that deliver quality products and/or services to the association sector – click below to see for yourself!