Episode 65 • 11/09/2023

Tara Puckey, Executive Director of RTDNA, on Seeing Opportunities in Disruption

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How do you reimagine an organization so that its governance and culture are transformed to meet today’s needs? How do you further reinvent a conference to help your organization stand out in a crowded meetings field?

In this episode of Associations Thrive, host Joanna Pineda interviews Tara Puckey, Executive Director of Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Tara discusses:

  • How she’s only ever worked for journalist associations.
  • The crowded association space that RTDNA occupies because there are over 70 journalist associations!
  • How RTDNA has changed over the years to include Internet journalists.
  • The governance changes that RTDNA started about five years ago to expand committee membership, make the Board more strategic, and create a pipeline of new and upcoming leaders.
  • The staff culture changes that Tara ushered in, including going fully remote, unlimited PTO, and creating a culture where staff show up for the people around them.
  • How RTDNA completely revamped their conference: they reduced the number of attendees, eliminated panel discussions, made every session be more discussion than lecture, added white space to the schedule, and emphasized self care throughout the conference (think puppies and baby goats).
  • How RTDNA partners with a local nonprofit in the city of their conference. Attendees participate in a service project, and instead of renting furniture and equipment, the association purchases and then donates everything to the local partner (often at a lower cost then renting!).
  • How it’s really hard to be a journalist these days, especially when covering violence or war.


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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!