Lowell Aplebaum, CAE is an engaging keynote who will craft a session or sessions to engage and enlighten your audience. His years of experience with governance, leadership, operations, membership, and programmatic areas and a truly holistic focus on international, national, state, and local organizations enable him to build rapport with any audience. In addition to developing content specifically for your audience, Lowell can present on the following topics.

Creating the Member Story

When was the last time you bought something because of a product brochure? 

Most associations are under-leveraging opportunities to engage members in word-of-mouth marketing. This session focuses on how we capture, enhance, and expand the member story – highlighting the association experience using their authentic voices. You will leave with strategies for leveraging your members’ social capital by creating association evangelists who tell your story for you.

Networking Evolution: Building Stronger Relationships and Connections

Our associations produce high quality programs, products and services, and what makes us different from any retail store is the community of colleagues any member can find. Yet, though associations talk a lot about being the ‘professional home’ for their industry, they often put volunteers and members in a room with wine and cheese with the instruction to ‘meet each other.’ 

We can do better.

We all want to see a deeper loyalty to our organizations from our volunteers and our members - that starts with setting in place a dynamic of belonging and connection. Together we will explore how to deepen our members’ connections. Creating micro-brain trusts for volunteers, members, and industry stakeholders. We’ll learn how to create personal conversation starters for 5 or 5,000 and you’ll walk away with a new perspectives on how to create a networking evolution.

Member Retention: Creating the Member Experience

The decision to remain a member comes down to more than the quality of the organization’s products or programs. It is about the experience surrounding each interaction with the organization. The value opportunities you create for your members should be expressed not as a list on a brochure, but as easily accessible, targeted solutions to help them wherever they may be in their career. This session will challenge you to reframe your approach and create an experience to deepen connections with (and increase the retention rate of) your members.

7 Steps to Building Organizational Resilience

As organizations face increasing disruption, engaging in an ongoing process of strengthening and assessing organizational structure and strategy will provide the foundation to ensure the organization thrives through adaptation and change. This session will cover seven key areas which will enable your organization to reinforce current areas of excellence while preparing for tomorrow

For the Love of....Please Not Another Webinar

Let's put it on the table - we know virtual learning opportunities are valuable to members, we know that presentation/slide webinars where questions are submitted over a chat box and held to the end is the easiest way to do this, AND we know that many sign up, sign in, and then minimize the screen, or sign up to get the content later and never come back to it. 

In many places around the web and the world, adults are seeking out meaningful learning experiences in different formats. Based on an article highlighting the over 2 dozen websites that “make you smarter,” this session will take you on a fast moving journey to sample as many virtual learning formats as possible. You’ll leave the session energized with a fresh sense of approaches you can take that are better than....another webinar.

Strategic Planning: Best Practices and Next Practices

Organizations invest heavily in volunteer and staff time and resources to compose a strategic plan creating a meaningful organization vision, the plan should continue to be a living document and not sit on a shelf. This session will review the elements associations are considering when composing their strategic plan and explore the supplemental strategies and tools used to ensure the plan becomes part of the everyday operations of the organization. You’ll leave the session with actionable ideas for reviving your strategic planning process and implementation.

Volunteer Excellence Creating Opportunities for Amazing Volunteer Experiences

Volunteers are the lifeblood of your organization. They are the strategic visionaries with industry insight, the subject matter experts training the future, and the unpaid workforce giving back to the organization. Traditional models of volunteer engagement are no longer keeping pace with the evolving needs of our volunteers. Organizations need to consider new approaches to engaging targeted volunteer groups with the types of commitments they seek. This session will share five trends in the world of volunteering will help you elevate your volunteer experiences.

Scoring Your Board of Directors: A Self-Assessment

As Board members are elected to, and rotate off of, their term of service, it is critical to take the opportunity to step back and reflect on the Board as a whole. This session will provide an assessment framework to evaluate the current health of your Board, better recognize where your strengths are serving you well, and identify opportunities for refinement and greater impact.  Together we will explore such topics as communication approaches, focusing strategic input and dialogue, board development, and creating a connected Board culture.

Listening with Intent

Every day you participate in multiple conversations with many different people. In how many of these conversations are you truly listening? This session will explore how you can elevate your ability to listen to and connect with others. We will review and experimenting with how we can and should listen in an increasingly noisy world. You will walk away with places to focus and approaches to apply, all while learning where your own listening strengths shine, and where you can build new skills to improve the conversations and relationships you have at work.

Chief Volunteer/Chief Staff Officer Dialogue

(This session can be presented at events groups of volunteer and staff leaders come together)

The dynamic between the chief volunteer and chief staff officers is a significant factor in the impact our organizations can make. In this session we will review significant trends shifting the association landscape and provide prompts to support open and engaging dialogue among leadership teams around the topics. 

Strategy: More than a Plan

In a world where the biggest constant is change and disruption, organizations today need an approach to strategy that will:

  • Create space for leaders to co-create organizational vision before they start crafting a strategic plan;
  • Build systems to identify environmental opportunities, challenges, and trends throughout the year rather than in an annual survey;
  • Have a laser focus in serving core audiences, knowing their needs and creating best-fit aligned solutions;
  • Identify which organizational investments are driving the organization and which are dragging in the pursuit of progress; and
  • Encourage innovation in value, programming, and experience by allocating resources to piloting new concepts each year 

This express session will reframe your strategic planning and implementation efforts through a new approach to each of these five elements.

Innovation: Organizational Perceptions, Definitions, and Approach

To survive and thrive in an age of disruption, associations are focusing on gaining aptitude for innovation. This session will specifically focus on three key areas critical to adopting innovation.

  • Based on this HBR article on the "The Hard Truth about Innovative Cultures" the participants will explore the qualities of organizational innovation that are typically lauded (e.g. safe to speak up, highly collaborative) as well as those that are not as often discussed (intolerance for incompetence, brutal candor) and what lessons could be applied at NRAA.
  • To embrace a philosophy of innovation, all stakeholders need to be on the same page with what innovation actually means. Participants will explore varied definitions of innovation that exist in the market today and then craft possible definition(s) as they apply to NRAA.
  • Attendees will receive a brief 2-3 question survey before the session where they can share idea of where innovation could make greatest impact. To close the session, a tactical innovation process will be presented and then pieces of it will be workshopped with some of the ideas submitted, giving learners a hands-on experience.

Around the World of Adult Learning

You walk into a session at a conference and there are a sea of chairs, set in theater-style seating with a podium and screen up front. After the usual outlet scan, you wonder how close to the front you can sit to still see, while being far enough back to duck out if it isn’t good. You know sitting on the end of the row is rude, but you don’t want to be trapped in the middle. During the session, the font on the slides is way too small to see from your seat and the speaker is asking you to write things down when all you have to write on is your lap.


The content may have been great – but was the learning experience?


Organizations can do a better job designing adult learning experiences – molding the room setup, the format of the session, and how subject matter experts are aided in the facilitation of their content. These adjustments can make learning for participants memorable and impactful. This session will interactively take the participants through varied session set-ups with sample facilitated topics, allowing them to explore how varied seating, interactive tools, and session structures can leverage what we know from adult learning theory to ensure our members walk away with new content and approaches they will remember, use, and share.

Development of a Personal Leadership Strategy

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" As a masters in education career professional, Lowell offers approachable and accessible but confidence-building leadership on so many areas of learning. This was no exception."
Anonymous Presentation: For the Love of....Please Not Another Webinar