Becoming a Circle of Distinction Award Recipient


By: Karen Dowhan, CMP

I was deeply honored and grateful to be recognized as the recipient of the 2018 CSAE Circle of Distinction Award and the 2009 CSAE Trillium Excellence Award-Business member.  Being recognized for exceptional leadership and exemplary volunteer service contributions is one of the biggest incentives anyone can receive.  By doing something that you appreciate, and something that you believe worthwhile, is an incredible reward.  It lets us know that our involvement is valued, and it inspires and motivates others to achieve even more.  “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Ben Franklin

 CSAE Trillium values the important role that volunteers play and is committed to providing opportunities for volunteers to develop and enhance their skills while contributing to the CSAE’s mission and vision.

I was encouraged early in my membership that the best way to get the most of my membership was to be present and get involved.  I joined the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) and have been a highly engaged business member both as an active participant, as well as, a volunteer on a variety of committees, including; the Forum newsletter; chapter board of directors; membership and summit committee; and a driving force behind the first ever CSAE Trillium Business Member Forum.  “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Waldo Emerson

I am proud to be a member of this association for the past 25 years.  It has been a great experience and has enriched my life in providing many opportunities to be involved through networking with like-minded people.   One thing about volunteering is that you can always find something that you’ll enjoy or can share your expertise in.  Volunteering is very gratifying and has been important in maximizing my member experience. I have developed new skills and improved on others.  I have met so many wonderful people that have become good friends and have helped me along the way.

Continuous learning and volunteerism are the keys to my success within our association industry taking on every task, rising to every challenge and seizing every opportunity to learn.  I enjoy the collaborative and creative effort with committee initiatives and seeing the energy and passion excel from others.

Over the years, I have taken great pride in this industry and have enjoyed every aspect in my professional career.   I have benefited in practicing important communication, teamwork and project planning skills that assist me in the workplace. This industry has been so supportive of me and my dreams. I want to continually develop and grow as a leader and volunteer.  The people I have met and the relationships that have been built within the industry have been very satisfying personally as well as beneficial to the clients I work with.  I will continue to be inspired and be available to share my experiences with others through volunteering. “We make a living by what we do. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Nominate a colleague for a CSAE Trillium Network Award.  Do you know a colleague or volunteer who, in this past year, has demonstrated significant contribution and commitment to CSAE Trillium and the profession of association management? Someone who has provided leadership, great ideas and inspiration? If so, here is your chance to help us reward those CSAE Trillium Members who make us proud and deserve recognition for their efforts.   The deadline to nominate your colleague is Friday, June 14th. More information and forms can be found here: