Emily Reineke, the Chief Member & Chapter Services Officer at CREW Network, has extensive experience as an association leader and educator. Noteworthy achievements include implementing threat management teams at universities, launching an international global student simulation competition, publishing a book on Responsible AI, and advocating globally for women in commercial real estate. With a history of extensive travel throughout Europe and Asia for professional engagements, Emily considers herself a citizen of the world.

Emily Reineke
Chief Member & Chapter Services Officer, CREW Network

Emily’s Story: Discovering my passion for associations

I never imagined I would have a professional career as an international association executive, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I began working in associations because I wanted my work to make a positive impact, and then I followed the opportunities as they arose and sought out the chance to have a global impact. I love seeing a bird’s-eye view of an industry and understanding what the sector needs and the impact that sector has on society. From creating certifications and standards to publications and learning opportunities, associations are embedded in daily lives in ways many people don’t see. For example, the QR code on the back of a product in a US grocery store is powered by an association who knows that consumers need more information than can fit on a label. If you want to make society better, I’d highly recommend working at an association.

Emily’s Approach: How to #InspireInclusion through our work and actions

Inclusivity is one of the core values of CREW Network, defined as a diverse, multi-disciplinary, and welcoming community. This value shows up in significant ways such as keynote speakers and committee leadership, as well as in smaller yet impactful gestures. Three key initiatives that have enhanced inclusivity at CREW are:

  • Offering affinity group meetings for individuals in recovery from drug/alcohol use during events.
  • Ensuring everyone speaks into a microphone at events to accommodate those with hearing impairments.
  • Implementing closed captioning for all in-person and virtual events.

Additionally, we conducted a comprehensive review of governing documents to incorporate inclusive language, and we instituted a diversity champion into each of our standing committees.

Emily’s Perspective: On the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion for associations

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital to the future success of associations. To exemplify this, I want to highlight the story of MIT’s building #20: it was a temporary structure built hastily on the center of campus, and the occupants were people of various disciplines and startups; an overflow of sorts. This meant that occupants would not have crossed paths if not for this builidng, but when they did the conversations were so much richer because people of varying backgrounds brought new insights to the problems. This building, filled with diversity, led to dozens of intellectual achievements that wouldn’t have been possible without this unusual grouping. This is diversity in action, and we should all challenge ourselves to seek diverse input so that we can find synergy and create a new solution that is better because of all those who helped create it.

Emily’s Initiatives: Actions and Inspirations for fellow association leaders

For the CREW Network 2022 Annual Convention, I created and directed the opening entertainment act, which was a consummate display of diversity. I selected 6 members of varying backgrounds, and each person shared her story of belonging with CREW. The 6 women were arranged in order of career stage: we had a student of Middle Eastern descent, an entry level professional of Asian descent who spoke in Mandarin, a mid-level professional from an underrepresented country within our membership, an executive who is a lesbian, a senior executive who is a black woman, and a CEO who is a white woman. Each woman’s remarks ended with the phrase “I belong here with CREW” and they were punctuated by another member signing ‘Fight Song’ by Rachel Platten. This performance was in front of 1,300 members, and it set the tone for the event as one of belonging and welcomeness.