Developing the Association Executive Profession: The PCAAE Experience



By Octavio B. Peralta, Founding Chairman, PCAAE

During the launch event of the Philippine Council for the Advancement of Association Executives (PCAAE) in Manila on November 20, 2013 which I presided, I asked the over 200 attending delegates by show of hands who among them use the title, “Association Executive” when filling up the space for profession in official forms and documents. Only one did!

The Association Executive (AE) profession in North America and Europe is widely-known and well-recognized but unfortunately not in many developing countries, including in Asia and the Pacific, with the exception of developed Australia and New Zealand. This also true in my country, the Philippines, where my organization, the Association of Development Financing in Asia and the Pacific (ADFIAP), is headquartered.

I have been an AE for over 23 years now (and counting) and did not have the benefit of a formal education on association management, which was non-existent in my country. I did learn somehow to cope by learning on the job and it helped that I joined the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).

My own experience, and what I have witnessed in associations that have struggled to stay relevant and sustainable, have led me to found, with a few colleagues, the Philippine Council for the Advancement of Association Executives (PCAAE).

To our minds, having a continuous core of association professionals, which at present is wanting in numbers and skills, would level up the performance and viability of membership organizations which in turn would lead to better service offerings and advocacy activities for these organizations, thus contributing to enhanced governance and institution-building, not to mention additional job opportunities.

The founders envision that the PCAAE will act as a catalyst and a prime mover to further professionalize the association executive occupation in the country and for the profession to be ultimately recognized by the Professional Regulation Commission, the accrediting body for all professions.

Admittedly, forming the PCAAE was not an easy task. It has to first muster support from potential members, have ample financial resources, and marshal volunteers who have the time and passion for such an initiative.

It was also a big boost that the PCAAE got the support of the Tourism Promotions Board and the Philippine International Convention Center, whose mandate is to attract international meetings and conferences to the country. Other support also came from my organization, ADFIAP, which advocates for good governance, among other things, and two Washington, D.C.-based institutions: the ASAE, the eminent center for association leadership, and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), which promotes governance and entrepreneurship globally. Through their support, the PCAAE was able to mount the Association Executive Summit (AES) on November 19-20, 2013 (where the PCAAE was launched) and then again the next year on the same dates in November 2014.

Registered as a non-profit, non-stock organization on October 23, 2013 with the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission, the PCAAE is the only membership organization in the country that serves the community of professionals that manage business, trade, philanthropic, scientific, medical, educational, technical, social welfare, agricultural and other non-profit organizations. Currently, PCAAE has 150 founding members from over 60 associations and other membership organizations nationwide.

PCAAE also now provides a wide variety of knowledge resources, learning experiences, and other tools and services to help members of the association community grow and maximize their performance. PCAAE also serves as the voice of the association profession and advocates on its behalf. It has run short seminars and is now developing its own certification program for association professionals.

For more information on the PCAAE, please visit For more articles on PCAAE, please click on these links:

Professionalizing association executives in PH (Business Inquirer)
Groundwork for governance (MICE News)
Keys to kudos (MICE News)

Octavio B. Peralta is the Founding Chairman of PCAAE and Secretary General of ADFIAP.