American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

CEO Update

January 17, 2013

This is another in a series of occasional ASHA Chief Executive Officer Updates. These Updates are intended to provide ASHA members with a more in-depth view of various National Office units, their key member services and initiatives, and the names and roles of ASHA staff. Information about staff changes and ASHA National Office recognitions/awards is also included.

Many thanks to those of you who have provided feedback regarding previous Updates or suggestions for future Updates.

2012 Cost Savings and Efficiencies at ASHA’s National Office

ASHA staff continues to work hard to hold the line on discretionary spending. Of course, all of this is done with the overriding goal of maintaining member services. Although final results have not yet been through audit (that will take place in March), we are confident that we will deliver a positive balance of revenue over expenses for 2012. All staff participated—in many large and small ways—in efforts to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Below are some highlights of the cost-saving, revenue-enhancing, and staff-efficiency improvement efforts of 2012.

New Costs Reductions in 2012

  • Conventions & Meetings staff, in cooperation with the state associations, negotiated more favorable options for meeting space. For example, the contract for 2017 with Los Angeles will save the Association more than $300,000 on space rental.
  • Instead of printing and mailing the 2013 ASHA Catalog to all 150,000 ASHA members, staff targeted the mailing based on buyer behavior and other factors, which resulted in a postage savings of nearly $10,000. (All members have access to the online catalog at www.asha.org/shop.)  
  • By combining all merchant accounts (a bank account that accepts payments by credit card), accounting staff have been able to reduce the merchant account processing rate from 7.76% to 1.48%, resulting in costs savings of over $866,000.
  • The Surveys and Analysis team identified a transcriptionist in the Midwest who charges approximately one-third the cost of a local firm. A savings of nearly $2,400 was realized in 2012 on the transcription of focus-group recordings.
  • Staff was able to renegotiate ASHA’s contract with our national election vendor and bring the cost of our National Elections down by approximately $3,700.
  • Staff working on the Leadership Development Program (LDP) was able to bring one of the workshops in house and save approximately $4,000 on space, staff, and facilitator travel.
  • The conversion, by ASHA Publications, of the Perspectives article submission system to electronic-only resulted in an estimated mail-cost savings of approximately $5,000 in 2012.
  • A new contract with a local cab company has resulted in ASHA receiving flat rates to all local airports, benefiting staff and members of committees and boards.
  • Cost reduction efforts at the National Office facility continued in 2012. New initiatives included automated in-house mail preparation, the replacement of Toshiba copy machines, and re-negotiating the contract with UPS, making them exclusive shipper and giving ASHA preferred customer status. The result of these efforts was savings in excess of $60,000.

Cost Reductions That Generate Savings Year After Year

  • Streamlining the Opening Session and the Awards ceremony at ASHA Convention through internal management, as opposed to use of an outside production company, continues to save more than $100,000 each year.
  • Coordinating printing so that covers for multiple projects are printed at the same time continues to generate savings. In 2012, the savings were more than $18,500.
  • ASHA’s net expenses for the Researcher Academic Town Meeting were reduced again in 2012 as a result of continued corporate sponsorship of this event. In 2012, net expenses represented only 57% of total costs.
  • The Surveys and Analysis team continues to save money by using a low-cost web-based survey package. Since its implementation in 2004, the use of Survey Monkey has saved the Association more than $400,000.
  • Maintenance fees on the Surveys and Analysis team’s statistical software package (SPSS) were cut from $8,800 to $3,800 by reconfiguring license arrangements, saving the Association $5,000 per year beginning in 2009.
  • The journals program continues to see a considerable savings in printing and shipping expenses (some $600,000) by going online.
  • Continued annual savings of some $5,000 have been achieved by piggybacking the Perspectives ScholarOne contract onto the existing journals agreement.

Saving Money by Saving Time and Resources

  • Transition to a new e-mail service provider (ESP) is saving ASHA approximately 195 hours per year or the equivalent of over 22 business days of staff time. 
  • Using online collaboration sites saves members and staff in the time required for in-person meetings and conference calls. This year, double the number of boards and committees are using a collaboration site. We now have 74 boards and committees using it to do their work online.
  • Members are now able to access their CE Registry Transcript online. This is more efficient for members, and this self-service web application also resulted in the receipt of far fewer e-mails and phone calls from members asking for information about their transcripts, freeing up time for the CE Registry staff to process course credit even more quickly.
  • This is the first full year of an automated process that updates member’s certification maintenance compliance on the day that 3.0 (or more) ASHA CEUs are recorded on an individual member’s transcript. A little more than 50% of the individuals (approximately 17,500) who had completed their 2010-2012 certification maintenance requirements as of December 12, 2012, did so by completing 3.0 ASHA CEUs and having the CE Registry ”inform” ASHA Certification through a data transfer. To date, 80% of the individuals who have demonstrated compliance in the 2011-2013 maintenance interval have done so through this automated process. For the 2012-2014 maintenance interval, 87% of the individuals who have demonstrated compliance to date have done so through this automated process.
  • ASHA Approved CE Providers now have a web application that allows electronic submission of course registration and credit card payments. Payments are made in a self-service manner requiring less involvement from accounting staff while maintaining ASHA’s legal compliance.
  • Journals production shifted to an article-based rather than an issue-based work flow, a shift that optimizes efficiencies of the publishing process and is anticipated to reduce the lag time between acceptance and publication in 2013 by 30%.

New Revenue to Offset the Cost of Increased Member Services

  • A new agreement was concluded with EBSCO, the largest aggregator of scholarly content in the world. The agreement guarantees a minimum annual royalty payment of $50,000.
  • The existing agreement with the Copyright Clearance Center was expanded to include more uses of content by libraries and academic institutions as well as an adjustment of permission fees to better match current marketplace standards. The amended agreement is projected to increase non-dues permissions and royalty revenue by at least 10%.
  • As part of the International Scholarly Publishing Group, which includes 21 journals publishers, subscription deals with library consortia were concluded in Australia, the United Kingdom, Korea, and China, yielding an anticipated additional non-dues revenue of at least $30,000 annually over the next 3 years.

National Office Staff Updates

The following individuals are new to the ASHA staff since October 9, 2012:

  • Marceline Bateky, accountant
  • Nicole Franceschini, research assistant
  • Katherine Semakula, certification case manager

The following individuals have left ASHA to pursue other opportunities:

  • Ali Arshed, network engineer
  • Bethany Blanc, web producer
  • Stan Dublinske, senior advisor for planning (retired)
  • Rick Henderson, director, Marketing & Sales (retired)
  • Brent Jacocks, director, Publications Production (retired)
  • Karen Niles, director, ASHA Professional Development (retired)
  • Doris Johnson, advertising sales coordinator (retired)
  • Maggie McGary, online community & social media manager
  • Greg Weimann, public relations manager
  • Carol Williams, associate director, Certification (retired)

Recent ASHA and ASHA National Office Awards

For the 2nd consecutive year, ASHA has been ranked among the top 10 companies honored by The Gazette of Politics and Business' Exceptional 53 Award program. The publication honors 53 companies for their active commitment to social responsibility and community outreach, strong membership growth, and continuing efforts to evolve and improve employee programs and services. ASHA has been honored every year since the award program began 5 years ago, and it has ranked among the top companies for 3 of those 5 years.

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