Spring Forward

We had a great 2020 Virtual Spring Forward - Please be sure to join us next time!

Spring Forward
We are excited to offer virtual education and networking so that you can continue professional development and stay in touch with colleagues while staying safe and healthy. Please plan to join us!

Are you interested in exploring sponsorship opportunities? Contact Chris Caple.


Monday, June 1

2:00-3:30 pm

Panel Discussion: Moving Your Association from Pandemic Panic to Strategic Recovery (1.5 CAE)

As we move from tackling immediate challenges to recovery, we’ll need to adapt our associations and businesses to a post-pandemic world. Our panelists will share their stories, discuss the impact of COVID-19 on their organizations and offer forward-thinking strategies for making informed decisions about the future. Attendees will have an opportunity to submit questions both before and during the session.

Moderator: Jerry Deschane, IOM, CAE, Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities


3:30-4:30 pm

Drop-in Virtual Engagement Hour

Join us in the WSAE clubhouse for some end-of-the-day networking with your peers! Grab the fixings for a Strawberry Springer, our signature Spring Forward cocktail named by Association Acumen's Elizabeth Schlicht, or the late afternoon beverage of your choice, switch your background to a fun golf-theme and catch up with your WSAE colleagues. Feel free to drop in any time between 3:30-4:30 pm for lots of fun emceed by Celebrations Entertainment's Geoffrey Sandler.

  • Craft_cocktail.jpg3:30-3:35 pm
    5 minute break
  • 3:35-3:45 pm
    Craft Cocktail Presentation by Jessie Wilder, general manager, Ingleside Hotel. Follow along with Jesse while he demonstrates making a special Spring Forward  signature cocktail,  using ingredients detailed in the registration confirmation email (think strawberries, vodka, ginger beer, lime juice), or grab another beverage of your choice and network with your peers.
  • 3:45-4:00 pm
    Participate in a lively and engaging game of group Bingo with 80’s and 90’s music. Prizes* will be awarded to the winner(s). 
  • 4:00-4:30 pm
    Continue the networking in randomly assigned breakout rooms, interspersed with music and giveaways* donated by Industry Partners.
  • 4:30-5:00 pm
    Organized Engagement Hour activities conclude, but for anyone that would like to stay, the Clubhouse will remain available until 5:00 pm for open conversation.

* Wondering about those prizes and giveaways? Let's just say you can start planning your next get-away with complimentary rounds of golf and overnight stays!


Tuesday, June 2

9:00-10:00 am

Ethical Decision Making for Association Leaders (1 CAE*)

Presenter: Richard Kyte, D. B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership

Ethical decision-making is one of the chief responsibilities of leaders in any profession, with ethics being a crucial factor in workplace safety, employee engagement and productivity. This program will introduce the Four-Way Method for Ethical Decision-Making for working through and communicating difficult decisions that association leaders are likely to encounter. 

What are the learning objectives of this program?

  1. Knowing four ways of ethical thinking
  2. Identifying when people are using a particular way of thinking
  3. Knowing how to facilitate ethical decision making to gain consensus

By the end of this session, participants will come away/be able to:

  1. Facilitate constructive ethical decision making for groups
  2. Communicate ethical decisions clearly and persuasively
  3. Facilitate the development and communication of core values and ethical behaviors
* Note that this presentation satisfies the new CAE ethics credit requirement.

About the Presenters and Panelists

Jerry Deschane, IOM, CAE

Executive Director, League of Wisconsin MunicipalitiesJerry-Deschane-01.png

Jerry Deschane is the Executive Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities. He has spent nearly 30 years in lobbying and association management, and has worked with clients ranging from the home building industry to bicyclists. He’s served on school boards for twenty years and has also worked as an association management consultant and writer. Jerry is a native of Wisconsin, as well as a Certified Association Executive and graduate of the Institute for Organization Management. His background and education are in radio news broadcasting.

Jennie L. S. Socha, CAE
Executive Director, International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS)Jenny-Socha-01.png

Jennie Socha of Executive Director, Inc. (EDI), a Milwaukee-based association management company, serves as the Executive Director of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS). MDS is a global healthcare organization with more than 9,400 members, an annual budget of more than $12 million dollars, and more than 30 full time staff.

Jennie has served as a volunteer with the Wisconsin Society of Association Executives and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). She has participated in the ASAE NextGen program, served as a speaker at ASAE, ASAE Foundation and WSAE programs, and serves on the WSAE Education Committee.

Michael Theo, CAE
President and CEO, Wisconsin REALTORS® AssociationMike-THeo-01.png

Mike Theo joined the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) staff in 1985, managing the association’s legal, legislative, political, research and public relations operations. He was named President and CEO of the WRA in 2011. 

Mike attended the UW-Madison and holds a Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation and the REALTORS® Certified Executive (RCE) designation. Activities include leadership roles in:

  • Board of Advisors, Graaskamp Center for Real Estate, UW-Madison School of Business

  • Executive Committee, Competitive Wisconsin Inc.

  • 2020 President, The Madison Club

  • Past Chairman of the Board, Wisconsin Society of Association Executives

  • Past Chairman, Association Executives Committee – National Association of REALTORS®

Peggy Williams-Smith
President & CEO, VISIT MilwaukeePeggy-Williams-Smith-01.png

Peggy Williams-Smith is the President and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. She joined VISIT in November of 2019. Prior to that, she was with Marcus Hotels & Resorts for over 22 years and held leadership positions at varying levels throughout the division. During her tenure at Marcus, she served as Senior Vice President, Marcus Hotels and SafeHouse Restaurants for three years, and before that she oversaw food and beverage. In that role, she was responsible for all aspects of food and beverage for their growing portfolio of first-class hotels and restaurants. This included direct oversight in the recreation of the Miller Time Pub and Grill brand, building the second location in Lincoln, NE, creation of Savor bar + kitchen at the Westin Atlanta, rebranding of the Sheraton Four Points in Chicago into one of the first AC by Marriott hotels in the nation and buying Milwaukee local landmark, SafeHouse in Milwaukee. 

Peggy was the 2016 city wide co-chair for the United Performing Arts Fund. She is a past president of Tempo Milwaukee, past Chair of the board for the American Heart Association of Southeastern WI, Research Chair on the board for Milwaukee Women Inc. and sits on the boards of the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, Professional Dimensions, BID 21 and Destination Wisconsin. She was the honorary chair for the UWM Women’s Leadership Conference in 2016, co-chaired the 2011 Best Buddies Leadership Event, the 2012 Go Red For Women Luncheon, 2018 Humane Society Gala, the 2018 Leadership Breakfast for the Three Harbors Council for the Boy Scouts and the 2019 Pathfinders Takin it to the Streets event. She participates in committee work for many other non profit organizations such as Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, UPAF and United Way.  

Richard Kyte
D. B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in LeadershipRichard-Kyte-01.png

Richard Kyte is Director of the D. B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership and Endowed Professor of Ethics at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where he teaches a variety of courses dealing with ethical issues in business, health care, law, politics and the environment. He has published and lectured widely on topics related to justice, forgiveness, virtue and the meaning of life. After growing up in Frazee, a small town in northwestern Minnesota, Richard attended Hamline University where he earned a B.A. in philosophy. He then went on to graduate school, obtaining a Ph.D. in philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University in 1994. Since then he has taught at several colleges and universities including Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the author of several books and writes a regular column for the La Crosse Tribune titled The Ethical Life.


Members:  $0, $25, $50, $75, $100
WSAE Members – During these challenging times, we want you to be able to access educational programs offered by WSAE. Recognizing the impact the pandemic has had on some associations and industry partners, we are letting you pick your registration rate for this event. Please pick a registration rate that reflects what you can pay, the value of our programs and how you can support the association and other members during this time.

Non-members: $100

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Thank You Spring Forward Sponsors!
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