News: Ontario News

MISA Ontario Talks Retirement with Alison Hermansen

June 2, 2016  
Posted by: Jacqueline O'Hara
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Five years ago Alison Hermansen joined MISA Ontario as their first full time Executive Director (ED). She will be retiring this June and Anne Babej will take over her role.  I got to interview Alison just before she leaves to ask her about her time with MISA Ontario, what she has learned and debate whether Coke or Pepsi is the superior product.


Has it hit you yet that you will be retiring from MISA Ontario soon? 

Yes, it's feeling very real! And pretty exciting, to be honest.


What is it about the annual conference that you feel gets everyone so excited? 

It's like one big family reunion for most of us.  The camaraderie and the opportunity to re-connect.


How did you first get involved with MISA Ontario and what made you want to work for them? 

MISA Ontario was hiring their first ED, and I had the background - we were a good match, I'd say!  I knew nothing about the IT industry so it was a new and exciting challenge for me.


You were the first full time employee for MISA Ontario what was that experience like? 

It was great.  I really got to mold the position to be mine.  No legacy to get in the way - just opportunity.


Hard copy books or tablet? 

Hard copy.


What was the biggest obstacle you faced in fulfilling this position? 

When I started there was just so much to do, and so many important things to accomplish.  Setting goals and making progress over months & years. 


What was the biggest success story you accomplished in fulfilling this position? 

I think leaving MISA Ontario as a mature, professional association.  That's what I was hired for and I feel like we've accomplished that together.


Were you aware so many people were dependant on you? 

Sure, how could I not be? I got an early retirement gift.  A t-shirt that reads "Executive Director - only because full-time, multi-tasking ninja is not a job title".  Funny, but true - it's the nature of the job.


That is very true, and well deserved! Coke or Pepsi?

Diet Coke.


The correct answer is regular Coke. What did you learn from your experience here?

When you work with mostly volunteers, you are reminded that there are still people out there that give of themselves because they are passionate about something.    MISA Ontario is a family and I'm glad I got to be part of it.


Before you go, you will be training Anne on your position, what was it about Anne that you felt would be a great fit for MISA Ontario? 

Her experience for sure, but also her personality. She's a real people person and exudes a calm confidence that is reassuring. I think she'll be a great fit for MISA Ontario.


What advice would you give Anne to help her be successful in her new role?

I think in any new role it's important to listen & observe.  Take some time to settle in and get to know your team. 


Chocolate or pretzels? 



What will you miss the most about working for this association? 

Hands down - the people.  But I've made some good friends here and I intend to keep in touch :)


What will you miss the least? 

Setting an alarm for work.


Green tea or mimosas? 

What is green tea?


No idea.  What will you do with all your days off? 

Whatever I want!  Lots of time golfing & heading south on our boat.


Well we hope we can still see you at future events! 

I may turn up at the odd golf tournament or event!  Like I said, it's a family.


Thank you Alison, for everything!