At a client’s board retreat last weekend, I had the opportunity to talk more intimately with one of the new board members. It was a thought-provoking few minutes of a programmed day of robust review, assessment, goal setting, and comradery.

We manage industry associations and, like the others, this one is full of single practitioners as well as members working for very large international conglomerates. As you can imagine, while the education and early work experience may be the same for both professionals, the Real-Life experience every day now is VERY different for a company employee versus a business owner (single practitioner or freelancer). One knows the ‘rent check’ is there and the other hopes so.

How do you program benefits for association members who wake up each day with such diverse perspectives?

The young man I chatted with had his focus on the retreat day but slid quickly into his new business launch and early growth challenges. You could feel his sincere interest to be part of this industry group – be part of something larger than his office at home. At the same time, he was quick to share his struggle about needing to hire a helper or two to service a new client. A high-grade problem, as we say, but still a problem. How can his association serve him best? It’s admirable that he is volunteering to be on a board that is dedicated to help industry members. I’m hoping to have further conversations with him to see how his challenges might guide programming for his association and others.

As a serial entrepreneur myself, I can attest to feeling all alone many times during the decades of building. Are you helping your more entrepreneurial industry members with their challenges?

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