Selina Mirza Cooper – Texas Floodplain Management Association

Selina Mirza Cooper

Project Manager, Texas Floodplain Management Association

Austin, Texas

Describe your job.

Being in a small office of only two full-time and one part-time employees, my job entails a good understanding of all aspects of association management for a nonprofit. My primary responsibilities are conference/event planning, professional development training, accounting, HR, legislative affairs, and board and committee management and membership.

How did you get started and what got you from there to today?

I started in association management, and in particular in the meetings and events industry, more than 20 years ago as a secretary for a medical specialty association. That position taught me what was entailed in putting together a good event, and I have loved it ever since.

 

Do you have a favorite type, size, or style of event to plan, or do you prefer variety?

I like planning a variety of events, although annual meetings are the most fun because there are more social events to plan, and I like the large number of members I get to see at this event. And I enjoy planning special events, such as our Day at the Capitol or special symposiums, because they offer different challenges from other regular events.

What’s your proudest moment so far in your career?

With COVID, I had to pivot both of my conferences to virtual showcases. Learning on the fly all about digital advances and platforms was certainly making lemonade of lemons. I didn’t think I could do it since I knew it was just me handling all the logistics while also having to learn. My committee members worked to give me the content, but I had to work with our technology provider to ensure it all would work out. While I was super stressed out and tired, emotionally and physically, from so many hours of preparation, I was so proud of what we were able to produce.

How has your business adapted to the ongoing uncertainties and challenges of the pandemic?

Our board has given us the funding we needed to implement the technology we needed to pivot virtually. We’ve increased our budget where it matters and decreased in other areas that are not so important anymore. Moving forward, I continue to learn new ways to provide training to our members by continuing to learn and think outside the ever-changing box. Technology is key, but we cannot lose that personal touch either, so we will find ways to offer virtual events but also rebuild our in-person events. We’re staying away from the hybrid concept because we want members choosing to come in person to have that full in-person experience. Those who choose to take training online will have options dedicated for them.

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