This article originally appeared in the July/August 2021 issue of Archival Outlook.
Jacqualine Price Osafo, a Certified Association Executive with a master of business administration in entrepreneurship and strategic innovation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, brings thirty years of association management experience at multiple individual membership and trade company organizations in key areas such as membership, education programs, products, budget, and staffing. She starts July 15, 2021, and succeeds Nancy Beaumont, who retired after eighteen years as executive director.
Previously, Osafo served as vice president of membership for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), director of membership and development for five years at the Water Quality Association, and director of membership services and customer care at the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. She is a champion of diversity, equity, and inclusivity and currently serves as chair of the Black Indigenous People of Color Advisory Task Force for Association Forum (an association management professional organization). Among her honors, Osafo was selected in 2018 by the American Society of Association Executives as a Diversity Executive Leadership Scholar and in 2017 received the Association Forum’s Professional Achievement Award.
Recently, Archival Outlook Editor Abigail Christian talked with Osafo about past projects, favorite songs, and why she’s excited to join SAA.
AC: You have more than thirty years of association management experience! Tell us why you love the work of associations.
JPO: As a temporary employee for the Emergency Nurses Association, I was responsible for stuffing envelopes for various mailings. A naturally curious person, I read the mailings and continued my quest for understanding the power of associations. Since then, I have held many association positions, and my passion for association professionals can be summed up as this: Association professionals make the world a better place! Whether it is providing education courses, resources, or a network of like-minded peers, these benefits support member value. In addition, research and advocacy efforts, which impact legislation that trickles down to the public, continue to drive my passion as an association executive. It was research conducted by the Water Quality Association, where I served for five years as director of membership and development, that determined unacceptable lead levels in drinking water. In my opinion, association professionals are the “unsung heroes” who are quietly making the world a better place. For this, I am committed to remaining an association executive.
AC: What is one initiative that you’re proud to have been a part of?
JPO: During my recent position as the vice president of membership with AHIMA, shifting the online engagement experience was a significant undertaking, especially during a pandemic. Like the rest of the world, it was necessary to provide virtual experiences for members to engage based on their ever-changing needs. AHIMA’s new platform allows members to personalize their experiences by joining communities that interest them. The number of engaged members increased by 20%, and 74% of the users access the platform at least 28 days per month. The ability to meet members at their point of need is a must!
AC: Apart from the work of associations, what are your favorite things to do?
JPO: Outside of work, you’ll find me enjoying time with family and friends. I am one of eight siblings, and I have more than twenty nieces and nephews. I enjoy spending time with young adults, as well as exploring the creative minds of my six- and eight-year-old nephews. And I love music—one of my favorite songs is “Stairway to Heaven” in both the Led Zeppelin and Mary J. Blige versions. I enjoy the exquisite sound created by the acoustic guitar, piano, flute arrangement, and other musical instruments. You will also find me dancing to many of my favorite tunes—a passion my mother inspired by allowing me to dance on the coffee table as a child!
AC: What excites you about working with archivists and SAA?
JPO: I am delighted to have been selected to serve as SAA’s executive director. As someone who values information and the art of maintaining, SAA’s mission to “empower archivists to achieve professional excellence and foster innovation to ensure the identification, preservation, understanding, and use of records of enduring value” inspires me. We use past information as one of the sources for making present-day decisions and future predictions, which is why I resonated with SAA’s commitment to integrity, transparency, and collaboration. I look forward to serving as your champion, fulfilling set strategies, and continuing to add value to the member experience. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.