Focusing on why people do things versus what they are doing, Elissa Myers, CAE, became involved in her profession because she wanted to write the great American novel and worked her way through college as a rock ’n’ roll singer. She was the editor of her college newspaper and literary journal because she was going to be a writer. Although she still wanted to pursue a career with her band, it was suggested by her father that she find a job, so she went to an employment agency and was offered a job working for the Internal Revenue Service as a receptionist. The night before her first day, the employment agency called and asked her if she would like to go work for a magazine. Ms. Myers went to an interview with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), where she was hired that day as their staff writer.
Serving the society as a key executive from 1972 to 1997, Ms. Myers also directed the society’s research and information section from 1974 to 1980, was vice president and director of member services from 1980 to 1987, and was vice president and a publisher from 1987 to 1997. She then served as president and chief executive officer of the Electronic Retailing Association from 1997 to 2003 and the Partnership for Prevention from 2013 to 2015. Ms. Myers also spent time as executive director and chief executive officer of the Academy for Eating Disorders from 2015 until her retirement.
Prior to the start of her professional career, Ms. Myers pursued a formal education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1972 and Master of Arts in 1982, both in English literature. She became a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and certified through the Institute for Organization Management (IOM). As publisher for ASAE, Ms. Myers wrote a monthly column titled “Footnotes” from 1988 to 1997. Additionally, she directed the publication of hundreds of articles and books in the field of association management, including “Principles of Association Management,” “Volunteer Management,” “Association Operating Ratio Report,” “Association Management Magazine,” and the “International Privacy Law Handbook.”
In addition, Ms. Myers hosted a weekly radio show for the Association of Power & Politics; helped form the first Association of Mayors (Gamgabelli) and advised the Municipal Finance Officers Association in the Republic of Georgia; and helped to form the Palestinian Builders Association in Palestine. She was also a keynote speaker and chaired the Millennium Seminar on marketing retirement and financial products through various associations in 1997 and chaired the Association Internet Radio Network in 2004. Since 2003, Ms. Myers has chaired and served as president of Advice & Consensus, a consulting firm whose focus is on helping nonprofit organizations.
Active in her community, Ms. Myers was a board of directors member of the Ethics Resource Center in Washington, D.C., from 1982 to 1986, an appointed member of the federal advisory commission on e-commerce of the U.S. Department of Commerce, I-FAC 4-E-Commerce from 2001 to 2004, and has served the Universal Postal Union advisory group in 2000. She previously served on the ASAE international section council, the ASAE public policy committee and the Faculty of the Institute for Organization Management. Also outside of her primary trade, Ms. Myers has maintained involvement with numerous related organizations such as the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives and Center for Association Leadership, the committee of 100 of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the national board of regents of the Institutes for Organization Management, member of the Association of Convention Marketing Executives and numerous other organizations. Likewise, she chaired the International Research Institute seminar on association affinity programs in 1994.
In recognition of her efforts, Ms. Myers was honored for a lifetime service by the Ravensworth Civic Association and was named the First International Association Visionary by Marketing Challenges. She was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year award from a Texas based mental health organization. She hopes she made a difference in the organizations she worked for in a positive, constructive way, and she hopes she led them to making a positive difference from their vantage point in the world. Ms. Myers is very concerned about the impact of every organization she works with on its world values.