ISITC Spotlight – Mary Ann Emely


When did you begin working with ISITC and what position do you hold?
In August of this year I began working with ISITC as their first executive director. I have worked with various nonprofit organizations for almost all of my professional career, the last thirty plus years in the management of trade and professional associations, primarily in the Washington D.C. metro area. During 2019 – a transition year between my last association position in Washington and my life with ISITC, I successively took on three interim executive director placements with associations in transition.


What has been your favorite part about joining the ISITC team? What upcoming projects are you most excited about?
I had been looking for a professional challenge much like the one offered by ISITC – the opportunity to work with a small trade association as its executive director. I had hoped to find an organization that was looking to benefit from my years of experience in association operations and work with governance, and one that would look to me to help them move to the next level. I am excited that the ISITC challenges ahead exactly meet those criteria, and I have already started working with the Board to put its Strategic Plan in motion and on track, looking towards achieving the goals in the plan.


What are some of the most impactful lessons you’ve gained from ISITC so far?
I’ve learned that when the ISITC Board members describe their organization as “member run” that is indeed the case. Unlike larger associations with budgets that can support a cadre of professional staff to handle all functions, ISITC is still a smallish trade association where the leadership volunteers take a hands-on approach to handling myriad details of almost all aspects of operations. And frankly, programs such as our annual Winter Forum, March Summit and Fall Forum would not happen as well as they do without the dedication of the members involved.

With that level of member involvement, part of my job is “herding” – keeping track of all the moving pieces, and following up with individuals who have taken ownership of particular tasks. I enjoy doing that, and I look forward to supporting the growth of ISITC’s membership base helping to lift some the burden from the shoulders of the volunteer leaders.


What are your favorite activities/hobbies outside of work?
Because I’ve worked full-time with associations almost all of my life, my “outside of work” activities have been somewhat limited. Thankfully I’ve enjoyed my life’s work and I’ve found that many of the “outside” activities actually were in some ways connected to my professional life. I’ve volunteered with nonprofit organizations, often tying together my personal interests with my nonprofit knowledge and experience. For example, I’m a huge UConn basketball fan, and as an alum I served the university as an alumni association board member and officer at both the DC chapter level and the national level. I’m also a cat lover and I currently volunteer in an administrative and organizational capacity with a large cat rescue organization, Forgotten Cats, serving communities around the east coast. I’ve also volunteered on various fundraising projects for other nonprofits. In doing that volunteer work, I am able to utilize my skills in writing and the creative arts, something that gives me a great deal of pleasure.

Some of my other favorite common hobbies include gardening, cooking, crafting and supporting family members’ interests.