Associationology: Get Connected

(Or: A Very Personal Message on a Great & Powerful Network)

by Matt Gardner, CEO, California Technology Council

Coast to coast tech councils summed up in one cup of coffee.

Coast to coast tech councils summed up in one cup of coffee.

A few days ago, I sat in a meeting in Sacramento and realized I was using a coffee mug from the Maryland Tech Council which I had made to accompany one of my conferences there in 2002 (pictured). CTC tweeted a note to our sister organization in Maryland at the time. It’s a very small miracle that traveler mug has survived. The graphics haven’t faded, no matter the twists and turns of the individuals and organizations involved.

That staying power is representative of one of the great ingredients of upside for members of the California Technology Council. CTC does not act alone. Rather, it is part of a massive fabric of regions of innovation breathing, growing, and gaining ground together.

CTC is part of the Technology Councils of North America (TECNA), an organization formally linking more than 50 such councils on the continent. There is strength in this network, and the actions taken by CTC have context because of TECNA, especially when the organizations move together.  

TECNA’s Executive Director, Tim Jemal, puts it this way: “TECNA brings together the leading tech innovation ecosystems throughout North America and as well as a growing number of regions in Europe. TECNA serves its members and the industry through the sharing best practices, peer to peer networking and ongoing initiatives to raise the visibility and viability of the technology industry."

This network of councils gains from the experience of everyone involved. “Issues faced by tech association CEOs are different from those of other non-profits and from the companies we serve,” says Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC). “Developing a strong peer network and being able to share not just thought leadership and best practices but challenges and concerns with a trusted circle of leaders who really understand the business is invaluable. Plugging in to the TECNA network makes us stronger as regional leaders and provides an incredibly powerful collective voice for technology.”

Constituent tech councils compare best practices, update one another on business models and methods, and look to one another for opportunities. “The vast majority of tech companies we work with in Oregon and Southwest Washington serve global markets and many have offices in multiple regions,” offers Skip Newberry, CEO of the Technology Association of Oregon (TAO). “Accordingly, these companies look to TAO for resources and connections that extend beyond Oregon. Through the TECNA network, we have been able to dramatically expand our capabilities and connections to markets throughout North America, Europe, and the Middle East, thereby providing more value to our member companies.”

A small investment made in a coffee cup in 2002 is still paying dividends today. The return on investment has a tremendous value for those who make the most of their membership, connect to this network, and explore its business development potential.

If you’re not already a member of the California Technology Council or the tech council near you, you’re missing worlds of opportunity. It’s time you got connected.

Join us, or ask us how to find the tech council near you.