ransitions '93

WAEL's new
Executive Vice President

Dr. Raymond M. Williams, CAE

on C. Bednerik, CAE, WAEL's executive vice president for the past four years, packed up his sloop, "Persuasion," recently and sailed toward the sunny Caribbean. Well, something like that. Actually, he moved to another position as executive director of the Florida Pool & Spa Association, headquarters in Sarasota, Florida.


Before Bednerik came aboard WAEL, the association had been run by MAS, a multi-association management form headed by Art Schwartz. In 1988, the WAEL Management Selection Task Force recommended Bednerick, a 20 year association executive for the job. Chosen form a filed of more than 400 candidates, he assumes his post on December 5, 1988, and left December 31, 1992.


According to WEAL President Gordon Roberts, "Jon was deeply committed to WAEL and contributed significantly to our growth as a mature, independent organization. We told Jon that we wanted to be member-driven, and he helped us learn how to do that, while also providing us with a strong, professional staff."


Last month, another extensive, national search was conducted by the 1998 WAEL Executive Committee, and Dr. Raymond M. Williams, CEA, was selected to replace Bednerik as WEAL's new executive vice president. He joined the WAEL staff in Oakland on January 4, 1993.


According to 1992 WAEL President Hal T. Horowitz,, CLP, "Ray's is a highly qualified association professional with a solid experience and excellent credentials. Ray's experience in chapter operation and trade show and convention planning will serve our organization well as we continue to grow nationally."


Williams, 50, brings 10 years of association management experience to WAEL, plus and additional five years' sales and marketing management experience in the private sector. He received his doctorate in education form Claremont Graduate School in 1979, having already received his master's in educational administration for California State University, Long Beach in 1972. Williams also holds a bachelor's in English/rhetoric. In short, he is smart guy. But he also has a sense of humor and laughs easily. When asked about a meaning of life he replied, "it's true, life is difficult, but it gets a lot easier if you don't take yourself too seriously."


Williams describes himself as "a people person who can get things done." And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. He's authored several books on topics such as sales fundamentals, financial management, merchandising, credit and collection, management, and general business principles. While holding such positions as director of marketing and education for the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) and as executive vice president of the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc. (ABC), he handled staff administration, sales, promotion, fund-raising, budget control, membership, recruitment and retention, government relations, group insurance, and record maintenance.


A Certified Association Executive (CAE), he also holds an ASAE Association Management Certificate from American Society of Association Executives, a Blanchard Management/Leadership Certificate, a Dale Carnegie Sales Management Certificate, and several teaching and education credentials.


In fact, a good deal of his career has focused on education. When asked what motivated him to move from education to association management (he was assistant high school principal of Los Angeles city school in the early seventies), Williams replied, "I still consider education an important part of my job. I don't think education necessarily has to happen in a classroom. Education is usually one of the mail reasons a person is to network and the two really go hand in hand. When you meet someone at a WAEL workshop or seminar, you have an opportunity to learn something form your presenters. You also have the opportunity to start conversations with people enrolled in the workshop. you might learn more from them than you do the presenter. Or, you might even close a deal."


His goal for '93?

"I'll be involved in making sure the Certified Lease Professional (CLP) program becomes an even more attractive certification, and I hope to encourage more people to take advantage of it. I am fortunate to have inherited a highly professional staff and a well-run office. My predecessor did an excellent job helping WEAL put itself 'on the map,' so to speak along the same path."


Regarding his style of management, Williams replied, " I try to encourage a participate rather than dictatorial workplace. Basically, nobody is more important that anybody else. With such a small office, we all need to help each other. We can't afford specialists--people who just do one thing.' In addition to Williams, the WEAL staff includes Sharon Ortiz, director of administration, Julie McLean Knight, ABC, director of publications, and Estarlita B. Green, administrative assistant.


So, what does he think of WAEL so far? "I am very encourage by the talent and support of my staff because it will be through them and our volunteers that WAEL's goals are reached. And, I've never seen such an enthusiastic and well-educated membership. WEAL members and its leadership are extremely proactive in meeting the challenges of the future. WAEL members generally want to give back something to their industry. My position as executive vice president is to help members nurture their industry grows and prospers right along with WAEL membership."


WAEL membership, unfortunately, dipped slightly in '92, along with the economy. How will Williams address membership recruitment and retention?


"The key to membership growth is to retain current members. If you can retain 90-95 percent of your members, you are going to grow. It's not just the leaderships volunteers who have to be committed to WAEL. Each member has to support WAEL and help it become more responsive to their own needs. I'll be encouraging their continuing support. They have to realize that joining WAEL not only helps them and their business, but it also helps them and their business, but it also helps the whole industry. The stronger we are in membership, the stronger our voice will be on legislative matters. WAEL is a home for small-to-medium-ticket equipment leasing professionals. I also plan to send hand written thank-yous to those folks who have rejoined. I want to remind members that this is their association. If we aren't meetings members' needs, then we aren't meeting members needs, then we aren't doing our job, and they need to let us know."


As far as membership recruitment goes, "That's really something every member can do. People listen to their competitors and their peers when it comes to joining a professional association. What I can do is help the WAEL leadership to develop an overall marketing plan and make sure the Association stays on curse."


WAEL's national growth is another thing Williams is looking forward to. "I'm very encouraged be the direction of the WAEL leadership is expanding to different regions in the U.S. I believe WAEL membership is a product that will be bought by leasing professionals from New York to Sacramento. I also feel good about the production of the CLP Home Study Course. It provides a great opportunity for many more leasing professionals to achieve the CLP designation."


His long-term goals?

Williams concluded, "I look forward to a long and fulfilling career working with commercial finance and equipment leasing professionals and helping to established WAEL as one of the most prestigious and best trade associations in the industry."

|WAEL Newsline | Winter 1993 |

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