Difficult economic conditions… The uncertainty of a new session of the Texas Legislature… An aging profession committed to attracting new blood and talent to its ranks…
These are just some of the challenges facing land surveyors in Texas and the members of TSPS. But one critical hurdle the association had to cross – the hiring of a new Executive Director – has been accomplished following a thorough and intensive search.
DJ Kyle of Austin became the first new Executive Director for TSPS in the last 21 years, replacing Anne Glasgow, who submitted her notice of resignation back in February. Anne’s last day is Thursday, June 28, 2012, but DJ has been on board since June 4, getting acclimated with association and office operations, as well as networking with TSPS leadership and other contacts around the state.
““I have experience working in leadership roles for five different professional associations,” Kyle said. “I think I’m bringing fresh eyes and a new look about how things get done.”
Professions vary, and so do the look and feel of professional associations. History, personalities, and economic and political considerations make each unique. TSPS is no different.
“There’s so much history that seems to influence what happens here at TSPS,” Kyle said. “My goal is to understand that history and what to hold on to and what to move forward on as an association. It’s overwhelming at first, but I’m appreciative that Anne is here to help with the transition. I’m very excited, and so far, people I’ve met are very friendly and very willing to help.
“I look forward to getting to know everyone and learning the personalities.”
Born in Baltimore, MD, DJ followed in the footsteps of her step-father, a University of Texas graduate, by enrolling at UT in Austin.
“I started in Computer Science … but pretty quickly went into the Business school,” she said. “I took all the requirements and figured out that finance was my thing.”
But a career path wasn’t the only thing she found in the School of Business. She also met student and future husband Scott Kyle there. Then, upon graduation, DJ worked as a loan officer at a bank in Dallas before moving back to Austin. After waiting tables for a year, she went to work for a lobbyist during the 1989 Texas legislative session. The firm had 8-10 clients, giving DJ plenty of experience with varied interests at the State Capitol and an insiders look at how things get done in Texas government. She was also making her own career contacts in the process.
“There was another lobbyist on our same floor, and one of his clients was the Texas Physical Therapy Association,” she said. “Just as the legislature was ending, they were looking for a finance person.”
DJ worked four years with TPTA in finance, as the association’s magazine editor and then as its fulltime meeting planner.
“We had three really good-sized conventions – a student one, and a Spring and Fall convention,” she said. “They really liked to meet. They then added another position, which I took – Deputy Executive Director.”
When she was 28 and Scott 29, they quit their jobs and backpacked through Europe for three months, developing a love of travel and adventure that continues today.
“It was a wonderful … it was a great time in our lives,” she said. “We went to 15 countries while we were there.” Favorite destinations were Venice, Italy and Heidelberg, Germany.
Back in the States, she re-entered the work force as a contract meeting planner for the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals group (formerly the International Association of Hospitality Accountants). She then worked from 1995-1997 as Deputy Executive Director of the Texas Osteopathic Medical Association, coordinating three conventions and four board meetings annually and working during legislative sessions as a Registered Lobbyist, among other tasks. It was in this role that she earned her CAE (Certified Association Executive) certification.
DJ then managed a staff of eleven department heads and administrative staff as Vice President of the Texas Society of Association Executives before taking time off to do some really important work.
“I took seven years off and raised kids,” she said, speaking of Madeleine, 18, Olivia, 15, and George, 10. “I volunteered a lot at the school and was in charge of a couple of events.” She returned to the work force part-time in 2006 as a meeting planner and magazine editor for the Texas Public Employees Association, a role she held for four years. The Kyles followed Scott’s job transfer to Northern California in 2011, where DJ worked as an event planner and office manager for the Thirty Thirty Bridgeway Building in Sausalito, CA. But a large Texas client base allowed Scott to resume his work back in Austin, and they returned to their hometown in December of last year.
“All of his clients were here, and we wanted to be back in Austin,” she said. “When I started to look for a job, I was looking for an Executive Director position.” She found the job listing for the TSPS Executive Director position on the TSAE website.
DJ’s not unfamiliar with the challenges, and opportunities, this new position presents. Her various work experience provides a deep well she’ll draw from in the coming years, and it’s also shaped her idea of what makes an association successful.
“Professional associations provide reliable and trusted content to their members,” she said. “There are many sources for information today, but associations know their particular professional industry. This allows members to use the association as a resource for their business. It also allows the association to provide representation for its members to legislators during session.
“Associations also provide face-to-face networking opportunities that can lead to new positions and leadership roles. The relevance of an association is probably different for each member. My role will be defining and exploring ideas to keep TSPS relevant to its current members and finding ways to attract non-members.”
By Doug Loveday
TSPS Comm Dir