Keren Deront is a Senior Advisor for the Association Management and Events Practice of Interel. With over 25 years of management and communication experience in an international and multicultural environment, Keren is a seasoned association professional. She has a strong track record working with association leaders to help define and implement global outreach strategies and driving client engagements in areas including membership, certification and advocacy. Keren also volunteers her time at the Professional Women’s Network, mentoring young women professionals.

Keren Deront

1. Why are you investing your time & expertise in (an) association(s) and its advancement?

I stumbled into the association world by accident over 20 years ago and feel honoured, humbled and fortunate. An honour to work alongside teams promoting the same cause, humbled by the volunteers who give their time and expertise endlessly with heaps of dedication and fortunate to have worked with leaders who have empowered and trusted their teams to push the boundaries to be more progressive. There’s a strong sense of community and shared values that makes the association space the right fit for me and I have never looked back.

2. In your experience, what are the 3 success factors for advancing associations?

There are several success factors for advancing associations, but I’d suggest that at the end of the day it comes down to People, Purpose and Passion. People who are engaged, passionate and motivated, and who believe in their organisation’s mission, have the “secret sauce” to make their associations successful. Without these, in my opinion, there is little room for success and longevity.

3. Has the AM world changed when it comes to diversity and inclusion?

Many organisations are looking to expand their geographic outreach and diversify activities to ensure their relevance for the future. Therefore, it goes without saying that diversity and inclusion has become more important than ever before and has found itself as a hot item on many agendas. Both are critical, irrespective of whether or not you’re a not for profit. I’ve seen organisations struggle to find a way to address these topics and who have reached out for external guidance. I’ve seen others do it with much less effort and believe there’s a strong correlation between ease of implementation and the mindset of leadership – leaders who simply have this in their DNA. It’s amazing to see how contagious this can be and how quickly it is infused throughout an organisation. So what I’m seeing is that some are more advanced and have a competitive advantage, and others are playing catch up. I am confident however that all associations are working in some shape or form to bring together all the pieces of their diversity puzzle and understand the immediate and long term benefits.

4. What advice would you give the next generation of association leaders who want to make an impact?

Learn how to play Chess! Besides being a great game, it promotes creativity, concentration, forward thinking and agility. I consider it as the next generation leadership toolkit in disguise, that can help future leaders differentiate themselves and make a stronger impact on society. The second piece of advice on being impactful leads back to passion and comes straight from Steve Jobs who once said “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.