Coordinated by FEA and FFE

fraternal industry

CSO-Board Chair Symposium

The Fraternity Executives Association (FEA) and Foundation for Fraternal Excellence (FFE) are partnering to host an executive leadership and governance focused symposium in August in Indianapolis. This event will connect leaders from the fraternity, foundation and housing arms in one space with a focus on partnership and best practices with programming provided by the Association Management Center (AMC).

  • Who: Chief staff officers and board chairs of fraternity/sorority membership organizations, foundations and/or national housing corporations
  • When: Sunday, August 18, 2024 from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Where: Indianapolis, Indiana, at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown (Room: Marriott 7-10 on the 2nd floor)
  • Registration: $275 for the first two organization representatives to attend; $150 for each subsequent organization representative*; working lunch included
  • How to Register: Log in to FS Central and complete the 2024 FFE-FEA CSO-Board Chair Symposium form under the Events tab
  • Registration Deadline: Monday, August 5

*Any representative under the enterprise umbrella (membership/foundation/housing) counts towards the multiple attendee discount structure. For expanded information see the FAQs.

To register three or more organization representatives, please register the first two through FS Central, then contact FFE Executive Director Ashley VanDewark to register additional representatives.


With 50 years of experience managing associations and working with boards and executives, Association Management Center (AMC) is well known in the association community for its governance expertise. Through published articles in industry publications and presentations at association events, their experts are frequent contributors to thought leadership related to high-performing Boards and effective nonprofit leadership.

The CSO-Board Chair Symposium will provide an opportunity for executives and their board chairs to collaborate on annual priorities and determine how to work best together in the coming year. Participants will gain insight into challenges facing contemporary association leaders; understand the value of informed policy and strategy as primary tools of the leadership team; and learn how to foster effective governance through best practices related to board organization, structure and operations. Additionally, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in cohort discussion with peers in similar roles to build relationships and collaborate on industry trends and challenges.

Facilitated by

  • Mark Engle, Principal, Association Management Center
  • Debbie Trueblood, Senior Consultant, Association Management Center

Learning Outcomes

  • Best practices for staff/board partnership 
  • Best practices for entity partnership  
  • Greater understanding of board chair role in executive’s success 
  • Governance best practices  
  • Peer networking/relationship building by cohort  

Meet the Facilitators

Mark Engle

Association Management Center, Principal

Member of Phi Kappa Tau

Mark is a principal with Association Management Center. He received his Doctor of Management degree in 2011 from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH) with his study in nonprofit governance. Mark is continually striving to develop and share new research that leads to advancing the association management profession. 

He is a frequent author and speaker on governance and high performing organizations and is a faculty member of ASAE’s Exceptional Boards program. Engle serves on five Boards of Directors; he is an officer of the AMC Institute (AMCI) and former officer of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). In 2018 he was inducted into the Metal Construction Hall of Fame for his past service as chief staff executive of the Metal Construction Association. He was honored with the Samuel Shapiro Outstanding CEO Award by Association Forum of Chicagoland and was inducted into the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He is an ASAE Fellow and a Fellow of the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Leadership (Case Western Reserve University). Mark also is a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer. He formerly served as a chief staff executive for trade associations and professional societies for 29 years, and he has participated in more than 400 Board meetings during his career.

Mark has taken his leadership a step further with a new book that debuted at the 2019 ASAE Annual Conference, Recruit the Right Board: Proven Processes for Selecting Critical Competencies. Written with Will Brown, PhD, of Texas A&M University, from their ground-breaking ASAE Foundation governance research, Recruit the Right Board explores case studies that helped identify the necessary competencies of highly effective board members and upon which they build a framework for selecting the right board members to optimize performance and progress. These tools, samples, case studies, and techniques for building a board with the right mix of skills, knowledge, and traits, will be applied to your project to help your board perform optimally.

Debbie Trueblood, MSW, FASAE, IOM, CAE

Association Management Center, Senior Consultant

Debbie Trueblood, a Senior Consultant with AMC, has more than 20 years of progressive leadership experience in association management and a specialty in helping associations recover from financial challenges and implement diversity programs. She joined AMC in 2021 after serving nearly 10 years as the executive director of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA). Before that role, she held executive director roles with the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, the Academy for Eating Disorders, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, and was interim executive director for the Illinois HomeCare & Hospice Council (IHHC). She has also served in government relations roles for the IHHC, National Private Duty Home Care Association, and American Osteopathic Association.

An active volunteer leader, speaker, and author in the association community, Debbie currently serves on the Board for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and as the vice-chair of the Board of the National Association of Park Foundations. She is an ASAE fellow and was the 2018-2019 Chair of the ASAE Ethics Committee, which published a national ethics toolkit for associations under her leadership. She also presents nationally on topics including diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), ethics, nonprofit recovery, and developing mentoring programs. Under her leadership, her former association engaged in a multi-faceted diversity, equity, and inclusion program incorporating research, education, networking, awards, mentoring, scholarships, a resource library, etc. anchored by a program to initiate “safe space” conversations with members around topics of racism, LGBTQ+, Latinx, etc. This program was later rolled out nationally. Debbie was granted the association’s Diversity Icon Award in 2019.

Debbie is a past recipient of the Association Forum’s “Forty Under Forty” award and has a Master’s in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Location & Lodging

Hotel Information

Join us in Indianapolis for executive leadership, collaborative education and crucial peer networking.

  • Block room rate: $184 per night
  • Address: Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, 350 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis, IN 46225 (Map)
  • Parking: $75 per day in the Marriott self-park garage or valet. Additional options available nearby.


Event registration and the hotel room block close August 5.

Additional programming opportunities

You're Invited

You’re invited to join us for more fraternal programming. The opportunities below will take place at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown following the CSO-Board Chair Symposium:

  • Fraternity/Sorority Political Action Committee (FSPAC) Reception: Sunday, August 18 immediately following symposium; additional details to come
  • Amplifying Sorority Research Symposium: Monday, August 19 from 9 a.m.-noon | Learn more
  • NIC Annual Meeting of Members: Monday, August 19 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. | Learn more
  • FFE Seminar: Monday, August 19-Tuesday, August 20 | Learn more
  • FFE Fraternal Foundation Fundraising Bootcamp: Wednesday, August 21 from 8 a.m.-noon | Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m an executive of one or more of our organization’s entities. Am only I invited or can I bring others from my team?

It’s up to each organization to make this decision based on what’s right for its leadership. Organizers encourage attendance from each/all chief staff officers who lead the respective entities. This may mean one organization sends up to three representatives (i.e. President and CEO, Foundation Director and Housing Director). Registration deadline for all attendees is August 5.

Can only my board chair attend?

It’s up to each organization to make this decision based on what’s right for its leadership and success planning. Organizers encourage attendance from board officers who lead the respective entities. If a board chair is unavailable, but the chair-elect or other officer would like to attend in their place or in addition that is acceptable. Registration deadline for all attendees is August 5.

Who is considered an organization representative for the registration discount to apply?

Any representative under the enterprise umbrella counts towards the multiple attendee discount structure. For example, if Beta Beta Beta registers their fraternity CEO and board chair at $275 per person, Beta Beta Beta Foundation and Housing CEOs, board chairs or related representatives qualify for the reduced rate at $150 each.

I don't plan to attend the NIC Annual Meeting of Members or FFE Seminar, can I still come to the CSO-Board Chair Symposium?

Yes, we'd love to have you join us for this day of interfraternal programming.

Who is FEA?

The Fraternity Executives Association is the professional association of men’s and women’s fraternity executives. FEA provides for the professional development of its members while promoting the values and success of the fraternal movement. Learn more at

Who is FFE?

Foundation for Fraternal Excellence’s membership consists of more than 65 fraternity and sorority foundations, including their professionals and volunteers. FFE offers critical and pointed services to the representatives of our member foundations and the industry. Learn more at

I’m a vendor/partner. Can I attend the event?

This event is intended to be intimate and will therefore have a limited guest list of chief staff officers and board members.

For additional questions or help, your contacts are:

For help with registration, contact FFE Data Project Manager Gretchen Foran.
For questions related to the hotel, contact FFE Director of Programs Desiree Paulhamus.
For questions about curriculum, contact FFE Executive Director Ashley VanDewark.