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CEA: How To Become A Winner

By: Holly Parsons, PCC

Winning awards is always a good feeling, especially when you have worked really hard for it and you know you’re competing against others who are standouts in their field.  The Chapter Excellence Awards (CEA ) are no exception.

Submitting a CEA is a big task … and so is running a chapter. Completing some paperwork to give your chapter and your board the recognition for what you’ve accomplished in the year is worth every bit of feedback and acknowledgment that you’ll receive with your nomination.

Here are some tips about becoming one of those brilliant chapters that define excellence for all of us.


1.     Desire a CEA Award. Some chapters say they don’t see the point of going through all the work if the only thing you get is a plaque and trophy rights. The fact of the matter is, the CEA Award is recognition for a ton of work, dedication, teamwork, vision, results, and so much more. If you win an award, you are getting a lot more than just a plaque. You’re getting a strong, healthy chapter that has become the Essential Community for marketers in your town or state. Not to mention the leaders that you are building. If you win an award, it’s evidence that you are doing the right things.

2.     Submit a CEA. This may sound like an obvious thing, but sometimes it helps to state the obvious. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork and writing involved with submitting a CEA. That’s because there is a LOT of work that goes into running a chapter, and we want to make sure we recognize ALL that you do.

3.     Read Board In A Box. This is your user manual for how to have the best run chapter. It also has heaps of short-cuts and benchmarks about how you can be a better leader, so you don’t have to make it up on your own and experience the failures that come with trying new things. Board in a Box is the template that the CEA is based around. Get to know this, and you’ll have the inside track on how to write an award-winning CEA nomination.

4.     Track. Track. Track. Regardless of whether you’re submitting a CEA nomination or not, keeping track of your key performance indicators is just best practice. Use the CEA form as your guidepost for what you should be tracking…at a minimum.  It will empower you to make better decisions and be a stronger leader.

5.     Start Early & Delegate. Submitting a CEA takes a lot less time if you track information throughout the year and get an early start. Share the load for this nomination by having your committees complete their own section. Build out your timeline, so you have pre-established deadlines for your committees.

6.     Use your Leadership Advisor. Your Leadership Advisor is a past president of an award-winning chapter. They know what it takes to run a successful chapter, gather all the data, and put it into the nomination using committees to get it done. Use them for their expertise.


Here’s what all chapters get out of submitting a CEA, regardless of whether they win or not:

  •  A historical document that memorializes what was done that year. Because our boards are meant to experience frequent turnover, this can be invaluable to future years and set the stage for strong succession planning.
  •           Feedback from judges who are past presidents of award-winning chapters. Maybe you know where your strengths and weaknesses are; maybe you don’t. You’ll get some great feedback around where and how you can improve and certainly celebrate your wins.
  •         Trackable data on relevant data points. Enough said.