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News & Press: NBEA Leadership Snapshots


Monday, June 29, 2020  
Posted by: NBEA
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Colleen Webb

After decades of being involved in business education, Colleen Webb (pictured left) was elected to NBEA’s leadership. As Colleen took the reigns of the NBEA presidency last July, little did she know what an adventure it would be. NBEA’s new Executive Director, Joe McClary, said,” Colleen was President in a critical year for NBEA. The amount of change Webb needed to oversee was way beyond the norm for most presidents, and she handled it with professionalism and class.” 

Webb’s time as President started with a retiring Executive Director who had been at the organization for almost thirty years. When an association’s chief staff person who has been at the organization that long retires, it is a challenge for any President.  According to Webb, “the hiring of a new Executive Director was a long, arduous process, with so many considerations for the team to consider. In the end, we made the unanimous decision to hire Joe McClary, who possessed the best of both worlds, a background in Business Education, experience in Association Management, and, as a bonus, is certified by the American Society of Association Executives as an association executive.”

Also, beyond transitioning staff, NBEA decided to shift strategies on property ownership with the sale of an aging building located in Reston.  The liquidation of NBEA’s biggest asset involved a mandatory move of the office from more than 5,000 square feet to less than 1,500 sqft.  Downsizing was essential for efficient operations of the association.

While things started to settle down in January of 2020, concerns about COVID-19 and the association’s annual conference scheduled for Boston, Massachusetts, became a concern.  For the first time in NBEA’s distinguished history, by March, the on-site convention was not going to happen.  Webb was kept updated by the Executive Director and made the difficult decision to lead the charge to try something new, a virtual conference.  While the choice may have seemed obvious, Webb’s prompt leadership in acting allowed NBEA a week’s head start toward working on the transition to a virtual conference. This time was critical to communicate with stakeholders to ensure the success of the event.  Webb said, “With our country in the midst of a pandemic, NBEA quickly  transitioned from a face to face to a Virtual Convention in just two weeks and had over 250 participants, a win for our members.”

The Executive Board had a clear vision for needed changes. Webb also felt very strongly that the Board should act quickly on getting changes implemented as soon as possible. Webb led board meetings where the association embraced new procedures for financial transparency, greater inclusion on committees, along with presiding over a new website, association management services, and online library. According to Webb, it was “thanks to a cohesive Executive Board that NBEA can move forward as an Association and broaden our base for the future.”

Incoming President Benita Moore said,” Colleen’s leadership in 2019-2020 has provided us all a great foundation on which we can continue to build.”  When Colleen Webb reflected on her time as NBEA President, she said, ” through my travels to the regional events,  my attendance in numerous face-to-face and virtual meetings, I have met so many wonderful business educators and made so many friends. Thank you for all for your camaraderie, hard work, dedication, and your many contributions to our profession and NBEA. A special thank you to the members of the 2019-2020 Executive Board for a job well-done. It truly was a privilege and a great honor for me to have served as your President, 2019-2020.”