The Certified Association Executive (CAE®) designation is an internationally recognized designation built on 44 competencies that demonstrate the essential skills of efficient and effective not-for-profit management.
Don Leddy, a recent CAE® graduate, shares his advice and experience about the program.
What or who motivated you to register for the CAE program?
About halfway through each of the five modules, I asked myself the very same question. What was I thinking? Honestly though, it was conversations with some good friends over the years that got me thinking this was a good idea. Feiona Gobin, Saskia Martini-Wong, Steve Carroll and Christine Charnock all pushed me a little bit to get started. I would also say that these four plus Heather Tyrrell were a great help in keeping me going throughout the program.
One of my prime motivators was that while my experience working for two different associations provided a good understanding of the Association Executives world, I felt the knowledge I’d gain in pursuit of the CAE® designation might give me more insight. And it has. At the same time, I recall reviewing the course material and thinking “This is good education and relatively speaking, pretty cost effective”.
How did the program benefit your professional growth?
While the CAE® designation doesn’t come with a book of answers to all questions, the knowledge I’ve gained does give a bit of confidence when I am handed projects which are bit outside my expertise.
Tell me about a challenge you faced in the program and how you overcame it.
Time – there is never enough time. I pre-planned my assignments, usually taking a weekend at the outset of each module to pre-read and start my answers for each of the 10 weekly quizzes and on-line inputs. This head start was very important as I could concentrate on the mid-term and final assignments. This was particularly challenging during the fall when I seem to get overly busy with travel and work.
What advice can you offer future CAE® candidates?
Let your family know that this is a lot of work and time. Their support and understanding are so important given you will spend a lot of time reading and working on each assignment. As well, copy each week’s reading and Question & Answer sessions to a Word document, so you can save your responses as you might be able to use these further down the line in assignments and the final exam.
Don Leddy, CEM, CAE is a Senior Account Executive with the Association Team for the Beanfield and Enercare Centres in Toronto, ON. Don says he is “at heart an explorer and whether planning my next adventure or latest project, you’ll find that while I am driven by curiosity, I am equally adept at the practical skills necessary to plan for and get rolling on the tasks ahead”. Don is an ardent supporter and volunteer of CSAE Trillium Chapter. Don has been a member of almost every CSAE Trillium Committee, either as a chair or as a member and has also been on the CSAE Trillium Council for four years. This past year, Don joined the CSAE Board of Directors. Don is also a 2019 CSAE Trillium Service Excellence Award – Business Member recipient.