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Meet Our 2022 digitalNow Rising Leaders

September 13, 2022

Meet Our 2022 digitalNow Rising Leaders

The goal of digitalNow is always to empower leaders to face challenges and learn about emerging technologies impacting the association industry. However, these lessons and strategies are not just for today's leaders. 

The forward-thinking and vibrant digitalNow community has a unique opportunity to empower the leaders of tomorrow — and are are doing just that with our Rising Leaders program. 

Related: What Topics to Expect from digitalNow 2022
Learn More >

What is the Rising Leaders Program?

At Sidecar, our core purpose is to grow leaders at every level of an organization, and that often means being purposeful about the opportunities we create for them. 

The Rising Leaders program, formerly Leaders of Distinction, is designed to recognize up-and-coming leaders making strides to support innovation and progress within their organizations. 

Their commitment to growth and leadership is supported by registration to digitalNow, unparalleled networking opportunities and recognition at The Download, our evening reception, which this year will occur Wednesday, Oct. 5. 

The 2022 class of digitalNow’s Rising Leaders is proudly presented by Blue Cypress

Meet the Class of 2022

Bailey Kasten

Bailey Kasten, CAE, ICE-CPP, serves as the Chief Data Officer for the Design-Build Institute of America, where she is responsible for leading initiatives in all things data, membership, and diversity, as well as for generally finding ‘a-ha’ moments for the organization and its components lurking in the data. 

Bailey has over 18 years of experience in association management and serves in volunteer roles for both ASAE on the CAE Exam Committee and VSAE on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, two of her favorite communities. 

She is active in her local Northern Virginia community as a leader for her daughter’s Girl Scouts Brownie troop and taking on a new role this fall as Committee Chair for her son’s Cub Scouts pack. She says she is accepting all tips for camping with kids! Between kids’ sporting events, birthday parties, and other family fun, you can also find Bailey helping with her family chocolate shop, Artisan Confections.

Nicole Palluzzi

Nikki Palluzzi, CAE, currently serves as the Director of Member Services & Experience for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Since 2015, she has led all member recruitment and engagement efforts, managed NAPFA’s volunteer program, and has overseen important organizational areas, including the DEI and Women’s Initiatives. In the seven years since she has joined the association’s staff, membership has grown by 74%. 

Prior to her time at NAPFA, Nikki served as an operations manager at SmithBucklin for ten years. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children. In her spare time, she’s an avid reader, runner, and volunteers with Forum, the Board of Elections, her local elementary school’s parent board, and coaches youth soccer and basketball.

Rhea Steele

Rhea Steele, FASAE, CAE, ODCP, is the Chief of Staff at the School Nutrition Association. She finds the nexus between strategy and operations – helping organizations create the vision they need for tomorrow while implementing the steps that will get them there today. She brings a natural inclination to help staff connect their work with the organizational mission and impact. Her 15+ years in association management have resulted in deep expertise in governance, strategic planning, digital strategy, organizational development, culture change, facilitation, and operational excellence. She helps organizations form dynamic, transparent, high-performing, and inclusive cultures. 

She graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor’s in Fine Arts and Anthropology and a master’s in Museum and Field Studies. She has presented and written about strategic visioning, governance, ethics, innovation, culture, process improvement, and the future of work.

Emily Stephens

Emily Stephen’s entire career has been in association management at AMPED, an Association Management Company. Emily has held a variety of staff roles with trade and professional associations, but she has found her niche in managing the business and helping AMPED grow. As Director of Administration, Emily helped lead the charge in opening an office in Alexandria, Virginia, and Sacramento, California, as well as acquiring another AMC and its clients and employees in Colorado. 

Today, Emily’s role as Chief of Staff matches the needs and culture of new and existing association clients with the skills and personalities of current and potential employees by leading business development efforts and human resources. She keeps a foot in the door on the association management side as Membership Director for a trade association that meets twice per year. She loves continually learning about association management best practices by managing all incoming client transitions at AMPED.

Emily earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin. She is active with AMPED’s membership in the AMC Institute and speaks regularly on membership, technology and HR topics. Outside of work, she keeps busy traveling with her husband, Austin, and 18-month-old, Caroline.

Heidi Weber

Heidi Weber, MBA, CAE, is a seasoned association management strategist, growth catalyst, and change agent with a history of leading trade associations through various transformation initiatives of varying sizes and scopes. For over eleven years, Heidi has served as Executive Director with Alpha Omega International Dental Society, a leading international dental organization comprising more than 100 alumni and student chapters in ten countries. 

In that role, she managed and successfully stabilized operations, leading a suite of mission-critical initiatives to strengthen the organization's financial position, expand its reach and impact, stem the loss of members, enhance the membership's unique value proposition, and establish an ROI-driven business model to keep costs at a minimum. 

A graduate of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Heidi also holds a Master of Business Administration from Webster University. She is a board member of Shepherd's Table and the Association of Women Technology Champions, and she acts as Executive Management Council Immediate Past Chair for ASAE. Heidi has also served on the ASAE Technology Council.

Join Them at digitalNow 2022

digitalNow 2022 will head to New Orleans from Oct. 4-6, 2022. Now in its 22nd year, we aim to continue providing association leaders with the information and strategies they need to face future technologies and challenges facing their organizations. 

With a focus on Web3 and AI, this year’s event will dive into blockchain technology, real-world artificial applications and how Web3 can become a new line of revenue for associations – to name a few topics.

Be sure to register now and join our Rising Leaders in New Orleans!

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Jose Triana joined the Sidecar team as the Content Manager in 2021. He is a writer and creative focused on helping purpose-driven organizations learn and find value online. When he isn't working on content, you can catch him going for a run or resting with a good book.

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