Tuesday, 06 August 2013 01:16

Executive Director Jillian Zywien Contributes Expertise in Public Relations to AASP-MA

Recently, the Massachusetts chapters of the Alliance of Automotive Service Providers (AASP/MA) named Jillian Zywien to the position of Executive Director. Zywien is honored to be chosen to represent the association’s best interests, and she looks forward to implementing new programs to benefit their members. Despite the time demands of her new duties, she was eager to take time to share her plans for the association.

As a senior account executive for Lynch Associates, Zywien’s experience is primarily based in the Public Relations and Communications fields, and she believes that her work in association management consulting across a broad spectrum of industry organizations will benefit AASP/MA as she steps into her new role.

“During my tenure, I have applied my skills to broaden communications to members; to enhance marketing of events and benefits to members, and to implement electronic and social media contacts. The members will find this provides a growing stream of industry related information at their fingertips.”

In recent months, a large part of AASP/MA’s attention has been focused on education. Having instituted a variety of training options during her career, both industry-specific and general business topics, Zywien notes that “Education is a primary focus of the services professional associations provide…  For example, we recently began providing educational opportunities through webinars for ease of delivery to members. These programs provide members with the opportunity to access educational content at any time that is convenient to them. We would love to hear what members think and how we can better cater to their needs.”

AASP/MA has also spent a considerable amount of time in filing complaints about insurance companies with the Auto Damage Appraiser Licensing Board (ABALB). Zywien believes these efforts are yielding fruit, and it’s important to attend these hearings on members’ behalf because “In order to continue to influence the regulatory process, we must build a robust and ongoing relationship with the Board of governance over this industry. Relationship building and strategic interaction are two of the goals we have for AASP members with the ADALB Board. Demonstrating that an issue is a frequent reoccurrence allows us to approach remedies from the broader viewpoint, as such, we will continue prior practices relative to the ADALB board.”

One of AASP/MA’s largest projects in 2013 has been the re-filing of the Labor Rate Bill. Zywien is taking an active role in this process; “Having just come into the position in the last few days, our first goal will be to meet with our legislative committee and formulate a long-term strategic plan that addresses all of the public policy objectives the association is confronting. Issues include the labor rate, insurance company practices with consumers, and matters brought before the ADALB. For the mechanical side of the industry, we will remain vigilant on the implementation of the recently enacted Right to Repair initiative. It is our goal to take an expansive view of both statutory and regulatory initiatives affecting the automotive service industry, and develop remedies that may occur in a variety of governmental bodies.”

Additionally, Zywien feels it is imperative to educate consumers on their rights under the policy and with regard to repairs in particular. “One of our many goals is to ensure that the AASP/MA is a resource, not only for the industry, but also for our consumers. It would be our hope that providing this education would begin to overcome the misimpressions often left by insurance companies and empower consumers when it comes to their own vehicles.”

Though it’s no surprise that many AASP/MA members are discouraged by the past failures in passing the Labor Rate Bill, Zywien remains optimistic. “A new broom sweeps clean. Each industry advocate comes to the table with different perspectives on how issues can be addressed. Our relationship with the association provides for an opportunity to rebrand and expand the arguments used on policy debates. We would ask that the members remain open to new strategies and informational delivery systems. Clearly the reason people join associations is to enhance their own business environment. We are keenly aware of that and will work to build the members’ confidence for new strategies. We will provide members with informational content they can use to advocate on their own behalf with elected officials and regulators. I would ask the members to give us a chance to change the dynamics and reinvigorate advocacy efforts regarding their issues.”

As Zywien strives to implement improvements throughout the association and the industry as a whole, she believes that now is the perfect time to join AASP/MA. By contributing many new, innovative ideas, she hopes to continue strengthening the foundation created by the current leadership of the association. Additionally, her involvement with Lynch Associates provide beneficial resources as the firm consists of many long-term professionals in the association consulting market, and they’ve already outlined several new programs to the Board, making it easier for members to access benefits, participate in programs, and receive timely communications.

Zywien’s enthusiasm and energy makes her an idea choice for Executive Director of AASP/MA, and she’s diving right in to her new responsibilities. “This provides an exciting opportunity to grow AASP/MA and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and share the enthusiasm we have for the organization. Look for new branding, look for new benefits, look for new educational opportunities, and please provide feedback. We serve the members, and we want to do it with excellence.”

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