We’re delighted to introduce you to Kim Dresser, Building Performance Association’s new Director of Membership. Leslie Jackson of Home Energy Magazine got to sneak an interview on the phone with her between meetings, from her Tampa, Florida, home.
Leslie Jackson: What led you on the path of working in the association profession?
Kim Dresser: What started as a summer job preparing direct-mail campaigns turned into a career that I have loved for close to 30 years. A friend’s mom ran a mail house, and their clients were associations. One of them was looking for a team member, and I decided to continue college at night and pursue a full-time position at an international association. My very first association meeting was held in New Orleans—I was 21— one meeting I will never forget!
LJ: What developed you into a leadership position, especially one that interacts with internal staff and external members?
KD: My dad was a very successful executive with one of our national defense agencies, and I would talk with him all the time about situations he faced with his staff of 3,500. I would ask questions and always admired how he was able to speak the truth in his job and was still so highly respected. It made me realize that as a leader it is important to be honest, even if it is going against the tide, because we all have the right and opportunity to agree to disagree, but it should never in any way disrupt our overall goals or relationships.
LJ: What industries have you worked in?
I have been very lucky to learn and understand a variety of individual and trade professions in my career. My favorite ones are wind energy, waste and recycling, dental, and homebuilding. I’m positive that is why I am so excited to be a part of this industry; it has a sense of familiarity to me.
LJ: What is a trade association? How can an association benefit its members, and if I can tease a sneak preview out of you, what do you envision?
KD: Trade associations really structure and represent what the industry is. They provide policy guidance, they provide leadership, they provide an opportunity for businesses to be successful. So for example, if all the sudden there is a nationwide tax that is put on every trash can an owner has, and there’s no way to avoid that tax, the industry association will step in. They’ll do a cost analysis on it, they’ll support legislation on it, and they’ll make sure they find the ground that’s matching the tax need and the revenue need with the consumer need. The industry association is the vehicle for that.
I envision there being lots of added enhancements for our members, lots of opportunities for us to get better and more ingrained in their individual businesses.
I think you’ll find there’s going to be different levels of ownership; the members are going to feel like this is their magazine, so they are going to want to put in as much as they can about themselves.
LJ: They’ll have a chance to express themselves, and we’ll amplify their voices.
LJ: Where would we find you on any given weekend?
KD: Living in Tampa, Florida, our kids play sports year-round, so the probability I would be at a softball or baseball field is 100%.
LJ: Tell us your once-in-a-lifetime experience.
KD: I got to live for two years in Melbourne, Australia!