About Me & This Page

I have spent my entire professional career in associations … serving both in staff and volunteer capacities.

The Power of Collaboration

I have always viewed the business of associations as the business of facilitating groups of individuals, united by a shared identity and a strong commitment to a cause, to accomplish things that they could not accomplish individually.

This is an inherently collaborative effort, bringing together people of diverse talents, experiences and needs, with all the rich potential and challenges such human interactions entail.

The Business Aspect

This requires a unique and sophisticated set of business competencies. Although financial performance is not the underlying purpose of the corporation, it is impossible to achieve the association’s purposes without generating adequate financial and other resources.  And the vision and goals of the organization mean nothing if they can not be translated into practical and executable plans.

The Higher Purpose

But there is also a powerful ethical component to the association’s activities. While by definition the association exists to serve a “special interest” (a trade or profession), it must do so in a manner that is both consistent with the public good and maximizes the benefit realized by as many members of the served community as possible.

A Never Ending Journey

In the over thirty years I have spent exploring this uniquely challenging and rewarding field, I have never lost my passion and curiosity to understand better what makes associations work. I hope to share these reflections in this space, and welcome your comments and interactions.


Mark J. Golden is a Certified Association Executive and Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives.
In 2011, he received the  Key Award, the highest honor bestowed by ASAE, in recognition of an association CEO who “demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership in his or her own association, and displays a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations as a whole.” 

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