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The New GALA 5 Year Roadmap

By: Allison Ferch, Executive Director

26 February 2019

For the past 9 months, GALA staff and leadership have been conducting strategic planning exercises and working to define GALA’s goals and priorities for the coming years. It all started with a few questions:

  1. What is the purpose of an industry association?
  2. What constitutes member value for existing GALA members?
  3. How does the changing industry environment impact what GALA should offer its members?
  4. Where should GALA focus its energy and resources in the next few years?

To gather input on these questions we conducted meetings with members at industry events and on phone calls, we did a thorough internal and external risk analysis, completed a SOAR analysis (similar to SWOT), held several focus groups at LocWorld Seattle, and conducted a member survey in Q4 2018. (Read about the results here.)

After consolidating the input, we evaluated several strategic frameworks and chose McKinsey’s popular “Three Horizons of Growth” model on which to base our roadmap. It divides an organization’s goals into three horizons and allows focus to be balanced between the needs of today, the desires for tomorrow, and the steps needed to get there. It allows an organization to deliver value now while building for the future.

But what is the future we’re building toward? Using the results of our exercises, we created a long list of goals. We gradually pared the list down based on member demand, our assessment of the changing industry ecosystem, and what we believed was achievable given current staffing and resources. We put those goals into our version of the three horizons framework and the result is our 5 Year Roadmap. (Click the image to download the PDF.)


Now it’s time to gather feedback from the membership on our plan. Please look at the roadmap carefully, reading it just like a typical XY graph. Next, look at the corresponding goals below the graph, and finally, tell us what you think. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Horizon 1: Strengthen and enhance core programs for existing members. This means we’ll keep delivering the programs, resources, and events that we’re known for and make them even better.
  • Horizon 2: Grow new programs and reach out to related industries. This means we’ll add to our offerings and will evangelize our sector to “nearby” industries like digital marketing, content strategy and management, technical documentation, and others.
  • Horizon 3: Influence those unfamiliar with globalization and localization and advance industry development through the sharing and adoption of best practices. This means we’ll drive industry evolution rather than be passive observers of it and we’ll work to ensure our sector creates value, even as technology and global business evolve.

As we developed the roadmap, we also thought about how to describe GALA to insiders and the uninitiated. We examined our mission and vision statements, considered our organizational identity, and acknowledged how we create value. This we distilled into our identity statement, or “Our Mission, Our Members, Our Value.” Together with the roadmap, this asserts GALA’s identity and strategic priorities as an industry association.

Our hope is that you’ll see your own goals and aspirations reflected in these statements. If you think we’ve missed the mark or overlooked something important, or even if you wholeheartedly agree with us, please tell us.

Submit Feedback 

To learn more about the roadmap and how we developed it, please view our webinar on the subject. You can also connect with any staff or board member personally. Your feedback is essential and we appreciate your engagement in the process.

Allison Ferch

Allison is GALA's Executive Director. Over the past 10 years she has served GALA in several roles and provided leadership for many of the association’s programs and activities. As Executive Director, she leads operations at GALA and is responsible for the growth of the association, its financial stability, and for the expansion and delivery of member value. Allison has an undergraduate degree in Biological Anthropology and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. A lifelong athlete and a lifelong learner, she enjoys podcasts, reading, and all kinds of sports and athletic endeavors.