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November 19, 2008

Morison International targets US membership gaps

Expanding the membership base, improving member services and brushing up marketing are top priorities for new Morison International chief executive Liza Robbins.

Liza Robbins, Morison International
Liza Robbins, Morison International

The 40-year-old has taken over the secretariat helm of a multidisciplinary association with 77 member firms, 3,969 professionals and an estimated combined fee income of $685 million in financial years ending in 2008.

“What Morison is looking to do is continue with the strategy we have, which is to ensure we have a very compelling membership across a number of geographies,” Robbins said. “I have direct experience growing businesses and contacts and distribution networks across geographies. Also, we are looking to increase the services we provide to our members.”

Robbins describes herself as a general manger who has a very strong sales and marketing background. Her most important philosophy in business and life is honesty.

Robbins arrives at Morison following seven years at Cision Global Solutions, a Swedish-listed PR, communications and brand consultancy where she has been an international sales director, head of international business, managing director and a member of the group’s senior management committee.

At Cision, Robbins was tasked with international development. She believes this skill, coupled with her sales and marketing expertise, helped her secure the new role.

Prior to working at Cision, Robbins spent nine years in the publishing industry at Dennis Publishing, Condé Nast Publications and Thomson Corporation, where she had her first taste of the professional services industry.

Robbins admits her knowledge of professional services is limited and will draw on the experience of the Morison International regional and central boards.

“In those boards we have excellent, talented technicians and people who have vast experience of professional services,” she said. “In some instances, I will be relying very, very strongly on our board. But I think there is great benefit for me to bounce out those boards with a different perspective. In many ways, certainly in my past roles, I have been a client of our types of firms and a client of our firm’s competitors.”

Foremost on Robbins’ priority list is to increase Morison’s coverage across North America, in particular the United States, where some membership gaps have been identified. Europe’s Nordic region is another area where Morison is exploring membership options.

She also would like to improve knowledge sharing between firms and marketing of the association. One project likely to be completed soon is a new website.

Arvind Hickman

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