Associations North: Fresh, New and True

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    Celebrating 60 Years of Associations

    Photo courtesy of Associations north and laura b photography

    What, exactly, is an association?

    Associations touch the lives of people on a daily basis—whoever you are, whatever you do, there is somebody in an association working on your behalf. Whether it be an annual contribution to the Alzheimer’s Association, attendance at your local PTA meeting, or standards set on children’s toys, associations play a pivotal role in making purposeful connections to people and information. At the heart of an association is a sense of community.

    Who is Associations North?

    Formerly the Midwest Society of Association Executives, Associations North is the “association for associations” in the Midwest.  Our mission is simple: to advance and serve associations in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. For 60 years, Associations North has been the resource for professional development, continuing education and career growth for Midwest associations. Associations North is a community of more than 1,200 association members from nearly 300 different associations.

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    Engaging experiences at Associations North Annual Meeting & Expo

    Photo courtesy of Associations north and Laura B Photography

    Why did you change your name?

    We took an in-depth look at internal and external operations and asked: Does our name still speak to our audience? What we discovered was that no, it didn’t. It was no longer consistent or in step with what we stand  for and are capable of delivering to members. By rebranding as Associations North, we have a fresh new look, feel, and vision. Finding your “true North” is about leadership, authenticity, and principles. It’s about how to identify and develop one’s own direction. To us, it’s not a geographical mark, but rather the journey ahead, advancing the profession, the association, and the industry—Moving Professionals Forward.

    What are the benefits of membership?

    From the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association to the Minnesota Retailers Association to Greenspring Media (Minnesota Monthly’s parent company), there’s an association for everyone. Whether it’s a professional, trade, or charitable organization, we serve as a hub for networking and creating new opportunities, sharing resources, gathering information, and working toward the common good. We provide numerous professional development and targeted association sessions and conferences, a monthly newsletter keeps members informed of important meetings, publications, and intra-industry news, help maintain a broad range of contacts through a membership and a resource directory, and host social events.

    For more information, contact Angela Kisskeys at or visit Connect with us on Twitter @assnsnorth or at

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    Interactive Trade Show Fun

    Photo by Associations North and Laura B Photography

    Know Your Associations

    There are three types of associations: professional, trade and charitable  

    • Professional Associations: Comprised of individuals who have common subject knowledge and want to use this knowledge for professional or monetary gain. Professional associations often provide a platform for the exchange of ideas, offer professional development and education opportunities, lobby on behalf of the association, and provide members with valuable networking opportunities. Examples include the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, Minnesota Medical Association, Minnesota State Bar Association, and American Academy of Neurology.

    • Trade Associations: Comprised of businesses organized to promote products, establish a code of ethics, improve operations, lobby on behalf of the trade, share research, and protect the trade. Examples include the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, Minnesota Builders Association of the Twin Cities, and Minnesota Hospital Association.

    • Charitable Organizations: Involved in fundraising, creating public information/awareness campaigns, and funded by donors and contributors rather than membership. Examples include Breast Cancer Education Association, Neighbors, Inc. and Matter.

    associations north, midwest society of associations executives
    Guests celebrate in style: Anna Tanski, Visit Duluth, Devie Hagen, Elan Speakers Agency, Joe Lindholm, Grand View Lodge, Nicole French, Premier Transportation, Jessica Miller, Industrial Fabrics Association International.


    associations north, midwest society of associations executives
    Reflecting & Celebrating: Josh Dye, HousingLink, Shannon Quealy, Heidi Neff Christianson, Nilan Johnson Lewis, Tara Loftus, MN Academy of Family Physicians, Daniel Owens, Olsen Thielen CPA’s