New members & programs, more diverse board: 2022 in review

01/20/2023 9:04 AM | Gordon Mayer (Administrator)

Well, Fellow ACN members—we find ourselves at the start of another year, wondering how the last one slipped by so quickly. 2022 was a busy year for ACN! Some of our accomplishments include:

  1. Two established EMPOWER groups: LBGTQA+ and New Consultants
  2. Holding an in-person celebration with Dr. Judith Wright as the keynote speaker
  3. Addressing long-standing governance issues that introduce unnecessary bureaucracy and slow down ACN’s work

Our membership has also continued to grow in size and scope. At the end of 2022, ACN had 150 members in 24 states and 1 Canadian province, and we continue to attract members from all over the US.

On average, our members have more than 20 years of experience and serve 8 clients a year. ACN members also represent the full range of consulting experience-- from “just started” to an established organization with $50 million in revenue. I’m thrilled to see just how much of a “big tent” ACN is—welcoming both members who are starting out and experienced and established consultants.

ACN also welcomed 5 new board members in July 2023:

  • William Moore, The Strategy Group (KS)
  • DeRhondal Bevly, RubyRose Strategies (IL)
  • Allecia Harley, Prevention Advisory Group (IL)
  • Dennis Johnson, Sort Sol Group (IL)
  • Arthur Padilla, StratG Works (WA)

The current board is a step in the right direction as the Board seeks to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The board now has directors in 5 states, representing solo entrepreneurs, small consulting firms, and large international organizations and represents members from the LQBTQA+ community and several racial and ethnic groups.

So what’s on deck for 2023?

  • Planning and development of CAN DO IT!
    Under the leadership of Allecia Harley, this January ACN developed and launched the CAN DO IT! Program for new consultants. The sessions cover a range of topics critical for new and just starting consultants such as legal structure, financial management, and marketing. This year’s program will start next week with 15 registrants -- registration is closed but we plan to host this series again based on interest. 

  • Expanding the scope and reach of EMPOWER groups
    ACN’s EMPOWER groups are one of our most vibrant programs; both the LGBTQA+ and New Consultants groups have grown since they started about a year ago.

    The New Consultants groups has more than 30 people and is still growing! And the LGTQA+ group has developed and is launching a mini-grant program for nonprofits working on LGBTQA+ issues. This grant also comes with ACN consultant support. Both groups are great examples of what happens when smart and savvy ACN members come together.

    ACN plans to expand our EMPOWER group offerings to address the interests of other sub-communities within the larger membership, such as Consultants of Color and Large Organization members. We welcome ideas for other EMPOWER groups, too!
  • Focus on identifying and amplifying the programs and activities that ACN members find valuable
    A key strategic focus that ACN’s Board of Directors started in 2022 is more clearly defining the value that consultants get from their ACN membership. This includes analyzing the interests and needs of established consultants and expanding our program offerings to ensure that members outside of the Chicago area are able to participate in as many programs as possible.

    It’s important that we do this right and make sure members get what they need from ACN—whether in Chicago or out of state, new to consulting or an established firm of 20+ years, solo practitioners or part of multi-state firms.

Finally, as I write this, the Board of Director’s governance committee is starting the process of building a slate of candidates for the FY2023-2024 fiscal year. I wholeheartedly encourage you (yes, you!) to consider applying for the Board--or if you're reading this and not yet a member, join us!

Thank you all for your partnership.

Shailushi Ritchie, ACN Board President

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