As an organization, ASIS can be thought of as one big volunteer army–committed to a cause and mission, and advancing on all fronts.
"We are so fortunate to be able to have the thoughts, input, and leadership of more than 1,500 volunteers globally," ASIS CEO Peter J. O'Neil tells GSX Daily in a recent interview. "Every single day they advance the profession and the Society."
Given the vast number of volunteers, their collective accomplishments are too numerous to mention in one sitting. Nonetheless, O'Neil says that four examples "come to mind immediately because they are fundamentally changing the face of ASIS, and the profession."
These include the Globalization/Governance Task Force, which recently made recommendations to overhaul ASIS's global volunteer governance structure; and the Membership Model Task Force, which made recommendations to the ASIS Board for a new model that will provide global access to membership in a more economically friendly manner.
O'Neil also highlights the Career Pathways Task Force, which (in cooperation with the Security Industry Association) mapped several different career paths that will enable ASIS to better communicate to the public why a career in the security profession matters and what it might look like.
And finally, the ASIS Foundation led and funded research on scouting the future, and arrived at pivotal change driversthat will both impact and drive the profession for years to come.
There's also been progress made by various divisions of the organization. In an interview a year ago before the last annual meeting, O'Neil touted the growth potential of ASIS, especially in the areas of membership, services, and customers served. This still holds true.
"We do see growth potential, and likely significant growth potential globally," he explains.
Toward that aim, ASIS continues to analyze market-related data and identify potential membership expansion opportunities.
"The coming year will see us conduct deliberate research around market segments and understanding their numbers," he adds.
Services are also expanding. "A new [Learning Management System] has been launched that will provide member access to curated knowledge and learning when they want it, where they want it," O'Neil says.
"The certification team has partnered with the [Professional Certification Board] to prepare to launch a new, entry level certification, something the profession has asked for ASIS to do for some time," he continues. "We have streamlined the online certification and recertification processes at the same time." The chapter structure of ASIS is also being strengthened.
"We continue to increase our investment in chapters, notably bringing on another staff support position in August, and deploying the first two of many tool kits: Member Recruitment and Retention, and Holding Effective Meetings and Events."
Customer service will also be a priority.
"We have begun tracking member/customer satisfaction and will shortly be launching a Satisfaction Guaranteed or We Will Make It Right program," O'Neil says. "We have also begun to use Zendesk to track and monitor requests and response times, including flash customer surveys. All of this will be used to continue to refi ne and improve member/ customer satisfaction."
Another goal that O'Neil mentioned a year ago was better leveraging of the organization's assets. And this year, perhaps the best example of that so far has been the rebranding of the ASIS annual meeting, formerly known as the ASIS Seminar and Exhibits, to GSX, O'Neil says.
Given that the ASIS annual meeting has been "the go-to meeting for dozens and dozens of years," O'Neil says that he realized the rebranding might generate "a little pushback." Instead, the reaction was uniformly positive.
"We have had nothing but really phenomenal feedback of the rebranding," he says. "It's frankly surprised me a little bit."
"Related to exhibitors, the feedback that we continue to receive is that they think the GSX rebranding is solid, and they appreciate that management is listening and acting on suggestions for improving their experience with ASIS as a partner," he explains.
And attendees should also be pleased.
"There is so much new happening at GSX, from the opening to the closing, it's the must-attend global security event of the year," O'Neil says. "Our classroom education is outstanding, and the related continuing education units that certificants can obtain are second to none. And this year, attendees will experience a whole new knowledge and learning experience in the exposition, with fantastic information, updates from vendor partners, and three learning stages on the floor."
Underlying this event, and all ASIS operations, will be a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
"Related to diversity and inclusion, ASIS provided training and awareness management at the January 2018 Leadership Conference to instill in ASIS leadership the importance of being truly representative of the diverse thoughts, opinions, and suggestions of everyone, as well as addressing volunteer leadership opportunities," O'Neil says.
And in the end, the army that is ASIS will keep advancing.
"ASIS has been on an incredible journey for so many decades. We have a lot for which to be proud," he says. "At the same time, the world moves faster and faster, and ASIS must endeavor to keep up with the speed of change and the needs of members. It is a challenging balancing act."