Meet Kerry Crockett, IASA’s new Executive Director.
What was your background prior to joining IASA? / How did your career path lead you to IASA?
I started my professional career as an Occupational Therapist working with the geriatric population for 15 years, eventually moving into a District Manager role. From there, I made the transition to association management and served as Executive Director for the US and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP). In this role I also served concurrently as Executive Director for the Pediatric Pathology Society and the Hematopathology Society. After almost 10 years with USCAP, I joined the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) as Associate Executive Director where I served as Executive Director for their affiliate organization, the Society for MR Radiographers and Technologists (SMRT). After a move back to Georgia to help care for ailing in-laws, the opportunity to lead IASA became available and I was thrilled to have been selected.
Who have been your mentors in your professional life?
Two always immediately come to mind – Jim Crimmins and PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association). Jim Crimmins served as Executive Director for USCAP when I was hired to replace him due to his impending retirement within the year. He was an accountant by trade and a gentleman by nature. He was gracious and generous with his time and knowledge and spent many hours introducing me to the association world and accounting practices.
PCMA was the resource I desperately needed as I navigated my way and I quickly became involved as a volunteer. The friendships, information and tools I garnered from my involvement with them has served me well over the course of my career in association and convention management.
In your short time here, what are your initial thoughts on the organization?
First, I’m in awe of the passion and dedication I see in the staff team. Their willingness to do whatever it takes to not only get the job done, but move the organization forward, is amazing. Second, I see tremendous opportunity for growth and a willingness from the Board of Directors to embrace the changes needed to support that growth.
What challenges do you see for the IASA and other similar educational associations?
Many associations, IASA included, are struggling to maintain their relevancy in an ever-increasingly crowded field of associations. For small associations in particular, this becomes a tougher battle when you have limited resources. Associations used to own the space for professional continuing education, but corporations, with their vast resources, have now invaded that space and are now providing the same content, often for free. Another challenge which goes hand in hand with widely available educational content, is the shift from the traditional membership model to a constituent-based model. For generations, education was the value proposition that kept dues revenue rolling in but now with it so readily available, that value has diminished. Individuals are now looking for intangible value – they want to be engaged but in specific areas that are of value to them when its convenient for them. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves.
Are you able to hint at any upcoming changes for the organization?
IASA is on the cusp of transformational change. Leadership is proactively taking steps to invest in the future of our organization, to identify our value proposition and to understand why we are doing what we’re doing. The result of that process will allow us to refocus our efforts and resources to drive impactful outcomes not only for our organization, but for our constituents and community as well.
What’s your most-used productivity hack?
I’m able to focus on what my priority is at that moment.
How do you balance your work and home life?
Admittedly, working remotely can be more challenging than working from the national office when it comes to work/life balance. However, I’ve found that if you love what you’re doing it no longer feels like work and there is no internal struggle. I’ve also made it a practice to take one week off in the year where I completely disengage from work – no email, no phone, no watch. Usually I spend this week on a beach (in the shade) just reading and relaxing. It really allows me to push the reset button and focus on my own mental health.
What are your hidden talents or hobbies? / What would someone who knows you be surprised to learn about you?
Those who know me, know I love to travel so this may not be a surprise. I’ve only been to six of the seven continents, 36 countries and 48 states – so you can see I have a lot more traveling to do!
One surprise may be that I used to ride Harleys, but with the increase in distracted drivers on the road, I switched to a convertible 😉.
If you were able to start your work career over, what would you be doing today?
I would be a wildlife veterinarian traveling internationally to focus on the health and well-being of some of our most endangered species. It’s the combination of my two biggest passions.
What’s your favorite sports team? Holiday? Best concert?
I don’t really follow sports much but while living in California, I did become partial to the Golden State Warriors. It was thrilling to see them take the championship in ’15, ’17 and ’18.
My favorite holiday is Christmas. It’s such a great time to connect with family and friends and reminisce about special memories. Decorating our Christmas tree is especially fun for my husband and me because our ornaments are from places we’ve visited. Each one we un-wrap and hang brings back wonderful memories of our time spent there.
I’d have to say the best concert I went to was also my first – Queen in 1980. I went with my older brother and two of his friends. The show was amazing but more importantly, they didn’t treat me like the tag-along little sister!
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
I’d have to say spending it exploring somewhere new with my hubby and pups with a long leisurely lunch at an outdoor bistro.
What historical figures would you most like to meet?
When I was young, I read the diary of Anne Franke, then my family and I visited the home in Amsterdam in which she and her family hid for two years during the war. It was a powerful experience and story that I’ve never forgotten.
Provide any closing remarks you would like to convey to the IASA membership base….
We’re in a challenging time right now, not only as an organization, but as individuals as well. I know that together we can pull through this and come out stronger on the other side. Steps that we’re taking now and throughout the remainder of the year will serve to build a solid foundation on which we can grow IASA to become the leading resource for our community. I’m excited about the journey ahead and look forward to our future success!