Member Highlight: Sarah Kuhns

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Chapter Executive of ACG New York

Every month, we will feature an active member of the ACG New York community in a brief interview. Reflecting industry insight and personal perspective, this feature will introduce industry leaders and offer advice on the tools you need to succeed in the ever-changing middle market.

ROLE/FIRM: Chapter Executive of ACG New York LinkedIn

1. Quick Basics - Role/Firm/Focus/how long has your firm been involved with ACG?
I am the new President of GMW Management, an association management company. I recently purchased the firm, but have been with GMW for many years prior to this transition. GMW’s services include business association management and event planning and management.

ACG New York is one of our clients I manage personally, and I hold the title of Chapter Executive within this organization. I’ve worked with ACG for 10 years now. Taking over as Chapter Executive this past year has had its challenges, but with challenges comes learning opportunities, and I embrace the chance to improve personally and professionally. I've really enjoyed working with the ACG New York leadership while also building relationships with the members and helping to improve the association.

2. What is something essential about your/your firm's philosophy? 
I enjoy working and I want to enjoy going to work. If I can’t have fun or feel good about my job, then why do it? So, my team needs to be effective in communication and the work environment needs to be positive and encouraging. I find that people want to work harder when they feel they are being valued, so I try to give positive feedback when I can and celebrate achievements often. We also openly share when we’ve made mistakes and often discuss where we can make improvements, because constructive criticism is equally important to our personal and professional growth. Look, at the end of the day, we are all human. If we can’t talk about what’s going on or feel comfortable with our colleagues, then we can’t be our best selves. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, but I try to step back and reflect as often as I can, to help us all stay on track. I hope my colleagues agree with my assessment of our office!

3. What is GMW's goal/vision for working with ACG New York? 
I think that GMW has done a great job supporting ACG New York, but I think we can do even better. Over the course of the past few years, we’ve had some really strong leaders that have taken a different approach to managing the chapter. They’ve focused on identifying the value proposition and putting that at the forefront of everything we do to continue to improve member value. Often with such substantial changes, there comes a learning curve, but I’m hopeful that we can continue to assist in driving the mission and growing the chapter, by being a strong team player.  I look forward to the next set of challenges that the leadership pushes our way.

4. Can you tell us about your greatest success story/proudest achievement?
Personally, my greatest success/proudest achievement is being a mom. Professionally, I still think that my greatest success story/proudest achievement is still to come. Check back with me in a few years when I've had more time to make my mark!

5. What's on the horizon for ACG? 
I think the Chapter will continue to grow...and our Chapter will evolve with the ever changing economy.  We need to continue to stay relevant and continue to provide value to our members.

There has been a lot of emphasis on ensuring that the right people are at our events, our volunteers are more engaged, and the programs are top-notch. We want people to make connections and keep coming back, so we'll do what it takes to make sure that happens. Stay tuned. We are planning the 2018-2019 year and I know it’s going to be great.