What started as a volunteer role turned into a unexpected job opportunity for Carol Pape. Whether she is at an association meeting or a school event, Carol always pitches in – it’s part of who she is. Carol values inclusion and has spent much of her career creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for members, guests and colleagues. She’s learned the importance of leveraging unexpected opportunities, encouraging diverse opinions, and ensuring others are respected and supported. Through big and small acts, we all thrive when our peers show up for one other. Hear Carol’s insights how servant leadership and humility created new opportunities for growth and professional advancement. She also reminds us that we are stronger when we are engaged, supportive and connected.
“I make an effort to look around the room and find those people who are by themselves so I can introduce myself and help them connect with other people”
Carol Pape is the chief operating officer at the Association of Professional Chaplains, where she has served for the past 12 years. Previously, she was the vice president of programs for the Northwest Suburban Association of Commerce and Industry and president of the Palatine Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of the Institute for Organization Management, she earned her Certified Association Executive credential in 2013.
Carol was the recipient of the 2016-2017 John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award given by Association Forum. Carol joined the board of directors of Association Forum in 2017 and previously served the organization on the Certified Association Executive (CAE) working group and as chair of the awards and recognition committee. She continues to serve as a facilitator for the CAE study groups each fall and spring.
A lifelong volunteer, Carol has served in many capacities at her church, in the parent–teacher associations at her childrens’ schools, and on the boards for a local women’s counseling center and school education foundations.
She received her Bachelor of Science in community health education from Indiana University.
What are the most useful resources you’ve found to help your professional development (i.e. books, courses, trainings, assessments, magazines, thought leaders, etc.)? I love the American Society of Association Executives’ professional practices and law books. They are great references. But I get my best ideas from talking with and networking with other association executives. There is nothing like shared experience to spark ideas and solve problems!
What is your favorite aspect of the association management field? No two days are alike. I love working with members and volunteers to make a difference.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received? Self-care is important. Sick days also can be used for mental health days. And this advice was given to me before we all had cell phones and were constantly tied to work! I can do better work and contribute more to the organization if I have taken care of myself.