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What to know before becoming a group’s first top executive

Transitioning a group from volunteer to professional management can be daunting; veterans of the process provide some perspective

Steven Berry, CEO, Competitive Carriers AssociationSteven Berry, CEO, Competitive Carriers Association

Sept. 27, 2019
By Martin Berman-Gorvine

When Steven Berry was asked to apply for the position of CEO at the Rural Cellular Association in 2009, he initially turned the offer down. The group was then run almost entirely by volunteers, and in Berry’s recollection, he was blunt about the challenges. 

“What you have is a biannual golf tournament masquerading as a trade association,” he told board leaders, noting they didn’t have a real advocacy structure or budget. Nevertheless, he agreed to discussions and took the job only after getting agreement on key issues.