5 Reasons STEM Society Executive Leaders Should Support Their Staff's Attendance at ACCESSE

As a nonprofit leader, I prioritize supporting my staff, recognizing that the most valuable resource of any organization is its people. This support takes various forms, with continuous learning and networking standing out as indispensable tools for organizational and staff growth and success. That's why we made the decision to send our entire team to the ACCESSE23 Leadership Conference in Detroit last year.  

ACCESSE offers a unique platform for development and networking, particularly beneficial for nonprofit staff across various levels in STEM societies and associations. Indeed, this conference holds significant value for organizations and their staff alike. 

1. Tailored Professional Development for Nonprofits 

CESSE CEO Meeting 2025

STEM societies navigate unique circumstances, often balancing tight budgets while striving to make a substantial impact. ACCESSE caters to these specific needs, offering workshops and sessions tailored to address common challenges and strategies relevant to the sector.  

Attending ACCESSE also provides insights into best practices and innovative approaches to nonprofit operations, membership, marketing, and more. This professional development opportunity directly enhances staff skills, ensuring they return with actionable knowledge to propel your organization forward. 

2. Networking Opportunities with Industry Peers 

Beyond professional development, ACCESSE offers invaluable networking opportunities, enabling staff to meet and collaborate with peers from similar backgrounds. In particular, the Special Interest Groups (SIG) networking at this conference fosters relationships with professionals from other nonprofit STEM organizations, facilitating knowledge sharing and mutual support. These connections often lead to future partnerships and collaborations, offering solutions to existing challenges through shared resources and advice. Personally, I've formed friendships and relationships that have proven invaluable for brainstorming and problem-solving. 

3. Exposure to Emerging Technologies and Trends 

The nonprofit sector evolves continuously, with emerging technologies and trends playing a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency and impact. ACCESSE serves as a platform to explore and evaluate new software, platforms, and techniques, showcasing the latest tools and trends in the nonprofit world.  

This exposure informs decisions on adopting new technologies that could improve operations, fundraising capabilities, or outreach efforts. At SASE, we've leveraged insights gained at ACCESSE to become more efficient and establish partnerships with several ACCESSE partners. 

4. Boosting Staff Morale and Motivation 

ACCESSE23 Attendees

Investing in staff development through conferences like ACCESSE signals a commitment to their growth, boosting morale and motivation within the team.  

Planning face-to-face meetings around ACCESSE, as we do at SASE, fosters team bonding and develops a cohesive team culture. For instance, organizing team-building events at venues like the Detroit Institute of Arts has proven effective in enhancing morale. With ACCESSE being held in Toronto this year, there are ample opportunities for similar activities that strengthen team cohesion. 

5. Positioning Your Organization and Staff as Industry Leaders 

Participating in prominent industry events like ACCESSE positions your organization as an active and engaged leader within the STEM nonprofit community. It demonstrates your commitment to staying abreast of industry developments and best practices, enhancing your organization's reputation among peers and within STEM communities. Additionally, staff members can develop their leadership skills by volunteering and leading sessions and workshops at the conference. 

The ACCESSE23 Leadership Conference in Detroit proved to be a strategic investment for my organization. By sending your staff to ACCESSE24, you’ll equip them with the tools, connections, and knowledge necessary to effectively advance your organization's mission. It’s an opportunity to foster professional growth, encourage innovation, and strengthen your organization's overall health.  

As a nonprofit CEO, leveraging opportunities like ACCESSE can have a profound impact on your team, your organization, and the communities you serve. 

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