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Editorial blog

24 hours as Jason Baum, AFCI director of membership

28 Nov 2017

Jason Baum, director of membership at Association For Creative Industries, tells us about his day.

What time do you wake up and what does your prework routine look like?

I wake up around 7am to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York”. If I’m good, I run on the treadmill for about a half-hour. Otherwise, I start off by checking my schedule for the day, the weather and then answer emails that came in overnight or in the early morning. The Association For Creative Industries’ (AFCI) members like to get off to an early start since 900 plus of them are retailers and have a store to open or business to get started! We also have members in 40 plus countries and over 20 per cent of our membership is outside of the United States, so I get emails all through the night.

You get into work – what does a typical morning look like for you?

I check-in with all of my coworkers to see how they’re doing and what conversation they might have had with our membership. Then I meet with my team to review phone calls that they had the day before. I then scrub my inbox so that it’s nice and clean before the day begins.

What time do you take lunch, and what do you do on your lunch break? What do you typically eat?

Lunch is usually around noon/12.30pm for me. I swear I’m not being paid to promote them, but we have a Friendly’s near our office and I’m pretty much a pushover when it comes to their crispy chicken! Not the healthiest, I know, but it sure breaks up the day quite nicely.

How does a typical afternoon take shape?

I take a long nap after all the crispy chicken! No, just kidding. I usually have a lot of meetings. My job is to constantly look at how we can work with our members to better improve their experience. The Association services the entire supply chain of the creative arts products industry so, at times, it can be difficult to find benefits that serve everyone. We are constantly trying to find that perfect balance. My afternoons usually consist of following up with a potential benefit partner such as Office Depot, UPS or Constant Contact… or working on programs to attract new members to the Association and to our annual trade event, Creativation, which takes place January 18-22, 2018, in Phoenix, AZ.

What time do you leave? And what kinds of things do you like to get up in the evening?

That definitely varies by what I have going on in the office. I don’t truly ever “leave” – I always have my phone on me (is that really a good thing?). So I’ll be answering emails or even have a conversation with our Designer group on what their exhibit space will look like on my way to a New York Jets game. When the dusts settles in the evening I like to run home and change into something comfortable (preferably a hoodie) and relax with my wife of ten years while we watch some of our favourite television.

Finally, what time do you typically go to bed on a work night?

Somewhere around 10.30pm and 11.00pm. I’ll sneak in some Late Show with Steven Colbert or Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on occasion. Comedy and laughter are essentials in my life.

A bit about you

How did you come to work in your current position?

This is the third association I’ve worked for and the first in this industry. I was brought over by a former CEO whom I worked with at another association. All told, I’ve been working in the association world for over eleven years. I love being able to provide benefits and a community for people, which is essentially what we do. Volunteers are my favourite people because they’re so passionate and really love what they do.

What advice would you have for someone looking to get into your particular industry?

You need to love what you do. I don’t believe you go to work for an association for a pay check. You need to be just as eager about the industry you’re serving as your members are. I would also be sure to strongly advocate that you listen to your membership.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

AFCI serves a global community of 2,000 plus member companies. Serving a community can sometimes be difficult because there are so many voices within each. We also service the entire supply chain and what one company wants, another could be completely opposed to. We’ve been adding many benefits over the past few years to address all of our member’s needs. We also work hand-in-hand with our AFCI-UK Affiliate that provides benefits that are unique and relevant to our UK members.

What does 2018 hold for you?

2018 is going to be an exciting year for us. The Association will be hosting our 77th annual trade event, now titled Creativation. We also just launched our brand new Advocacy Program. Through this program, AFCI is committed to supporting and educating you on various regulatory topics that are important to the industry as a whole. We will also continue to expand on our research offerings including our Size of Industry Report which came out last January. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow our Association globally by partnering with other international Associations and trade events from around the world. We’ll be present at the CHSI Stitches event – so make sure you stop by our AFCI-UK stand.

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