The decade-old Sage Leadership Alumni Association has been renamed the Sage Leadership Association with a renewed focus on education and collaboration -- specifically among the Sage business partner channel.

Formed in 2001, the Sage Leadership Academy Alumni Association was made up of resellers and partner firms that completed either the Sage Leadership Academy three-part course or Upstream Academy's Blueprint for Excellence curriculum. The Sage Leadership Academy eventually ceased having courses, but the SLA Board still wanted there to be a resource and meeting opportunities for existing alumni and other Sage channel members.

"After firms went through the training, they would form bonds with other firms and would be able to discuss their issues in a very safe community. They wanted to have a way to continuously meet, so we recently met as a board, and as Sage was not offering Leadership Academy anymore, we decided we wanted a way for firms to continue to evolve their leadership and provide a forum for that," said SLA administrator Christine Kless. "We can bring in experts and do a full day's worth of content with them. We want to give the ability to have a workshop portion as well, so they can take back actionable items for their firms."

The now 40-plus-member group is endorsed by Sage, but primarily comprises Sage business partners and not staff or executives, though they are invited to attend retreats. The SLA will be looking for additional members, who must be Sage resellers "in good standing," and there will likely be recruiting efforts at the upcoming Sage Summit user and partner conference in August.

Members will pay annual dues set by the board, and benefits include invitations to retreats, a link on the SLA Web site, listings on press releases, use of the association's logo to differentiate their firms, and opportunities to connect with executives in small group settings and webinars.

"Many firms could benefit from membership in the SLA but were unable to become members under our prior guidelines," said Jeannie Huckstep, SLA board member and president of Huckstep & Associates. "Additionally, having a more diverse membership brings a variety of viewpoints and experiences to the group that we can all learn from."

SLA retreats are held twice a year and the first day is devoted to one expert speaker. The SLA's fall retreat is scheduled for Oct. 8-9, 2012, in Chicago. The association year runs from Sept. 1- Aug. 31, 2013. Firms that join now will be listed as a member firm through Aug. 31, 2013.  

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