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Growth and Positioning Strategies for Associations

Client Stories

Here, we present case studies from our client files that describe how we used our service toolbox to assist them in finding creative solutions to unique problems.

Our Executive Forums

Small, dynamic peer groups that share challenges and best practices.

Strategic Member Engagement

This free, downloadable e-book provides practical yet game-changing guidance, based upon leading-edge strategies and business model impact.

Defying Gravity: Articles, Research & Tools

White papers, e-pubs, tools and useful articles about growth and positioning strategies for associations.

“New on the scene and faced with a declining customer base, a seemingly broken business model, significant competition and a defeated staff.

"I engaged Vertical Leap Consulting to conduct a strategic audit of our marketplace, our existing products and services, and our internal capabilities. In spite of my travel schedule, this provided the critical analysis we needed to quickly test old assumptions and identify disconnects between what the marketplace said drives value, and what the organization was actually doing day-to-day.

"Vertical Leap then facilitated our strategic planning efforts in ways that helped our volunteer leaders all get on the same page; leading to a new value proposition and vision for our organization. And, they worked with us to create an actionable, three-year business plan.”

 - Richard Grimes, President and CEO, Assisted Living Federation of America

"Vertical Leap Consulting has done an excellent job in helping us develop a comprehensive strategy and roadmap for our organization. They worked extremely well with our members, staff, and external stakeholders to develop a plan that will take our organization to a much higher level. A real game changer!

- Dick Doyle, President and CEO, The Vinyl Institute

Steve Lane’s analysis of my organization was what impressed me most. During our first meeting Steve was able to determine exactly what my organization needed and wanted simply through some initial discussion.  Later, he was able to conform to the varying personalities of my board members and still keep momentum during the governance planning retreat. The entire board enjoyed learning about and participating in a new strategic way of thinking.  I would consider Vertical Leap Consulting one of the best consulting firms to help an organization through the turbulent waters of strategic planning and governance restructuring. Steve is patient, his fees for service are more than fair and he always goes ‘above and beyond’ to deliver a quality consultative product.

Leah McCrackin, Executive Director, American Society of Dermatopathology

“Steve Lane of Vertical Leap Consulting assisted my organization with a strategic repositioning strategy that is helping to make a difference in our level of effectiveness for our members. He brought his wealth of association and business knowledge to bear on our particular situation, and worked with staff and volunteer leaders to design a complete series of solutions to help us grow revenues and serve our members more comprehensively.

"Interacting with my Chairman, Board, various committees and our members directly, Steve helped me forge a consensus on how best to move forward; building a high level of buy-in from our many stakeholders. The process concluded in a timely fashion, and we were able to quickly begin executing the plan.  Steve is a pleasure to work with and I would recommend him to any group that needed some thoughtful advice.”

— Mike Canning, CEO of PIJAC.

“I highly recommend Vertical Leap Consulting. Going through our strategic planning process for a 3-year plan, we found them to be very knowledgeable and extremely helpful! The strategic plan and roadmap we created are easy-to-read and understand. He also guided our 3-year forecasting; resulting in a business plan that makes it easy for our board to understand the expense/revenue and staff time involved for each initiative. This made their final plan decisions quick and painless.”  

Addy Kujawa, Executive Director, American Association of Orthopaedic Executives

“Steve was extremely thorough and well-prepared during the planning phases of our strategic planning process. I felt very confident that the actual in-person exercise would go well – and it did. Steve was effective in keeping the discussion and momentum moving throughout the two days. The final result was a strategic plan that had buy-in at all levels within our leadership.”

- Fred Stringfellow, EVP, American Sports Builders Association

“I brought Steve into my association to guide our strategic planning process. I must add that the board consisted of two factions, one of which was very much opposed to any kind of planning. Steve guided us through various land mines during the planning retreat and ultimately was successful in bringing my board to what was viewed by most of the participants as a well thought out compromise. His success with my board helped to set my association on a course that while rocky, was at least heading in a direction that was to produce positive results”

- Jon Burrell, Executive Director, Local Government Insurance Trust

“Steve helped us develop a business plan and strategic direction for improving our organization's financial situation.  After surveying board members and conducting telephone interviews, Steve facilitated a day-long retreat with our board members that specifically addressed revenue generation.  His follow-up report provided us with a blue-print for our future, one that enabled us to extend our reach and increase our bottom line.”

- Fran Holden, Executive Director of the League of Historic American Theatres

“I expected Vertical Leap to research issues, test staff assumptions, and to provide a professional report.  I got so much more than that!  I also got a coach and a mentor who challenged us to look at issues in new ways that opened new possibilities.  He asked probing and practical questions and didn’t allow us to fall into the trap of taking the easy way out by accepting the “comfortable” answers.  He also helped us develop a realistic strategy for presentation to, and acceptance by, our Board.”

Vince Sandusky, EVP, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (former CEO of the Finishing Contractors Association)

"Steve provided vital facilitation to guide our strategic review process, including conducting pre-meeting calls with task force members and providing focused strategic input to me as President. Relatively new to the organization, it was important to me that we took full advantage of our initial, day-long meeting with our volunteer leaders. Steve made sure we had the right tools and perspective to have a productive discussion in which we could define an appropriate strategic review process and directions for future work. He came up to speed quickly on our industry and leveraged that knowledge to get us properly focused."

- Chris Bates, President, Independent Office Products & Furniture Dealers Association

“Guilty of spontaneously reacting to anecdotal information and “squeaky wheels”, we had lots of well-meaning, but “siloed” efforts, resulting in an inability on the part of most of our folks to figure out how their efforts actually integrate with other business units. To address this, I asked Vertical Leap Consulting to help us create a balanced scorecard of key performance metrics. What I got was so much more! They helped me design a strategic framework and an organizational dashboard to focus everyone on the initiatives that would drive the most value. These provide a consistent focus for our numerous cross-functional efforts”

- Richard Grimes, President and CEO, Assisted Living Federation of America

"Steve utilized a personality profile tool to help the members of a business unit better understand each other’s perspective. Then, working both individually, and with the team as a whole, did a great job of helping the team to enhance their processes as well as their appreciation for each other's diverse talents and approaches. "

- Helen B. McNeal, former National Director, Training and Organizational Development, American Diabetes Association

“I wasn’t sure what it meant to have an executive coach --- was it a mentor, an advisor, a counselor? Over our sessions, Steve was all of those. But, more importantly, he was a person I could confide in regarding my deepest challenges and greatest aspirations. Today, I’m a better manager and leader. I thank Steve for this.

- Executive A - held in confidence

“Vertical Leap Consulting immersed themselves in every aspect of our organization and industry, helping our senior staff channel energies into real solutions. They were indispensible to our turnaround plan.” 

- Leila Nouri, Chief Marketing Officer, Assisted Living Federation of America