Episode 89 • 04/18/2024

Deborah McKinnon, Executive Director of ACTEC, on Member Involvement, Institutes, and Education

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Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and immigrants want to transfer their businesses to their children. Trust and estate attorneys make those transitions happen.

In this episode of Associations Thrive, host Joanna Pineda interviews Deborah McKinnon, Executive Director of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). Deborah discusses:

  • Her career journey to becoming Executive Director of ACTEC and her experience working with boards of large and small non-profit organizations.
  • How ACTEC fosters engagement among its members through its Institutes, activities such as involving ACTEC fellows in the website redesign, and through educational content, including their podcast series.
  • How ACTEC Institutes act as a training ground for young attorneys, instilling ACTEC’s values and preparing them for Fellowship. 
  • How trust and estate law is important to small business owners who want to pass their assets to their heirs.
  • The importance of attracting and involving young attorneys in trust and estate practice.
  • How ACTEC can put on events, webinars, podcasts, and educational content through the involvement of their members and ACTEC’s amazing staff.
  • ACTEC’s criteria for becoming a member includes at least 10 years of experience, community involvement, and nomination by a current ACTEC Fellow.
  • How ACTEC has fosters continued learning, sharing information about the profession, and staying current on legislation affecting trust and estate law in different states.
  • At meetings, ACTEC fellows who have been members for less than 5 years get a blue dot on their name tags. ACTEC fosters a culture wherein leaders are trained to seek out blue-dot members to make the new Fellows feel welcome and involved.


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About Associations Thrive

Associations Thrive podcast is hosted by Joanna Pineda, CEO & Chief Troublemaker at Matrix Group International. Joanna’s personal mission and the mission of Matrix Group is to help associations and nonprofits increase membership, generate revenue and thrive in the digital space. 

We believe that every association has a unique mission and unique story that demonstrates how they’re serving their members, impacting their industry, and ultimately changing the world. Every guest is an association Chief Executive, Executive Director or President. We’re here to help amplify their stories so all associations can learn and thrive, together.

If you and your organization have a great story,  apply to be on Associations Thrive!