Associations Are Connectors, Curators and Education Providers

by Jose Marroquin

Most associations continue to navigate the intersections of community and empower members to stay engaged. Various associations rely on volunteer collaboration and service to achieve their strategic goals and missions. When associations empower members and adapt to change, our work creates a culture of support and advocacy.

Recently, I came across the concept of “New Power Leadership.” In 2016, Jeremy Heimans gave a TED Talk titled “What New Power Looks Like,” where he defined new power as “The deployment of mass participation and peer coordination to create change and shift outcomes.” Also, in 2018, Jeremy Heimans co-authored a book on the topic with Henry Timms. The book “New Power” presents readers with the idea that the future resides within collaboration and the need for mobilization. Associations have allowed members to collaborate and mobilize for change for a while.

My previous experiences in higher education have enabled me to volunteer for various associations. At first, my desire to volunteer came because I value service and community. Although, I eventually realized how peer-driven initiatives can make a positive impact. In addition, my involvement with the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Latinx Network provided me the opportunity to explore the following skills or concepts:

  • Empathy
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Change Management
  • Understanding Organizational Culture
  • Industrial Psychology

As a volunteer for Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc. and the Association of Fraternity & Sorority Advisors, I appreciated the opportunity to center the collegiate fraternal experience. Although working within an association (Society of Actuaries) and volunteering with the ACPA Latinx Network, I learned to utilize external benchmarks and best practices to enhance my volunteer work.

Our capability to connect on a greater level with AFA members is crucial to the future of our volunteer projects. In addition, focusing on the future may also require a change in governance processes. While volunteering with the ALPFA Chicago Professional Chapter, my observations enabled me to understand the need for a healthy balance of intergenerational leadership.

There are two significant benefits of being involved in other associations for AFA colleagues. These are perspective and nuance. All associations are curious to explore a vibrant pipeline of fresh ideas and build on the affinity of our membership. Outside our immediate AFA home and in a different environment, we are exposed to a new paradigm of leadership and organizational structures. When volunteering in other associations, I have found the endorsement of some of the thought leadership within AFA and the exploration of our growth areas. Moreover, the opportunity to understand the complexity of our work while learning best practices in other associations brings about a needed nuance for reflection. As volunteers, as we know the crossroads of human and organizational behavior, we can let nuance maximize our output in service to the association.

As I enter my last year as the Co-Chair of ACPA Latinx Network, it has become apparent that associations are primary hubs for information exchange. The programming, events, and conferences that associations execute provide an opportunity for transformational thinking. All associations take on the roles of connectors, curators and education providers. Reflecting on my volunteer journey, I envision AFA and other associations as cultivators of ideas. However, we could make a more significant social impact if all associations cultivated their sentiments collaboratively and strategically united in creating change.



What New Power Looks Like. (2014). Youtube. Retrieved October 2023, from

Heimans, J., & Timms, H. (2019). New power: How it’s changing the 21st Century – and why you need to know. Picador.

About the author:

Jose Marroquin currently works as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager for the Society of Actuaries and is the volunteer Co-Chair of the Latinx Network for ACPA- College Student Educators International. Jose holds a Bachelor of Science in Law Enforcement & Justice Administration from Western Illinois University, a Master of Arts in Higher Education from Ball State University and a Master in Business Administration from Loyola University Chicago. He is a proud brother of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity Inc and resides in the west suburbs of Chicago with his wife Kyrie Kirkland and their Kerry Blue Terrier (Ozzie).

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