65. Tara Puckey, Executive Director of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), on Seeing Opportunities in Disruption

Associations Thrive

Nov 9 2023 • 32 mins

How do you reimagine an organization so that its governance and culture are transformed to meet today’s needs? How do you further reinvent a conference to help your organization stand out in a crowded meetings field?

In this episode of Associations Thrive, host Joanna Pineda interviews Tara Puckey, Executive Director of Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Tara discusses:

  • How she’s only ever worked for journalist associations.
  • The crowded association space that RTDNA occupies because there are over 70 journalist associations!
  • How RTDNA has changed over the years to include Internet journalists.
  • The governance changes that RTDNA started about five years ago to expand committee membership, make the Board more strategic, and create a pipeline of new and upcoming leaders.
  • The staff culture changes that Tara ushered in, including going fully remote, unlimited PTO, and creating a culture where staff show up for the people around them.
  • How RTDNA completely revamped their conference: they reduced the number of attendees, eliminated panel discussions, made every session be more discussion than lecture, added white space to the schedule, and emphasized self care throughout the conference (think puppies and baby goats).
  • How RTDNA partners with a local nonprofit in the city of their conference. Attendees participate in a service project, and instead of renting furniture and equipment, the association purchases and then donates everything to the local partner (often at a lower cost then renting!).
  • How it’s really hard to be a journalist these days, especially when covering violence or war.

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