Lis Design, a full-service design studio based in Saratoga Springs, NY, has entered into a working relationship with Studio136, the creative division of the Association Development Group.

Michele Wyse (left) and Elisa Sheehan“Over the past several years, I have had the pleasure of working with the talented designers at Studio136,” said Lis Design founder Elisa Sheehan. “In my work with Studio136 I have found a creative culture similar to Lis Design, with the added benefit of expanded services such as web design and development, video and video animation, copywriting and the kind of marketing strategy clients have been asking for.”

Over the next several months, Studio136 will assume responsibility for Lis Design’s graphic and web design work, and Sheehan will work closely with Studio136 to ensure a smooth transition. Going forward, Sheehan will be focusing exclusively on fine art.

“Creative Director Michele Wyse and I have worked closely on a number of design pieces and look forward to continuing to support our work together,” Sheehan said.

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Disclaimer: This post is not paid advertising or its questionable cousin, “sponsored content.” It’s a public service announcement for association managers who want to spend less time, money and stress on their online financial transactions.

At ADG, we work with multiple associations and have seen the best and worst of online payment processors. Often a client has been using its processing company for years and has become accustomed to its quirks. Like the door that sticks or the spouse who snores, they’ve learned to live with it.

Stripe logoNow we’re not suggesting you burn down the house with the sticky door or divorce your snoring spouse if you value their good qualities. A clunky, expensive credit card processing system, however, has no redeeming qualities other than familiarity.

ADG is in the process of transitioning our association management clients to Stripe, an online payment processing company started in 2010 by 20-something Irish brothers John and Patrick Collison. Stripe allows an organization to accept payments through its website without having to register and maintain a merchant account – a time- and money-consuming process.

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If it looks like a duck ...A member of your association’s board owns an office building that the association is considering for its new headquarters.

A board member is a partner in an accounting firm that is in the running to handle the association’s bookkeeping and taxes.

Your association needs to hire a new office assistant. A board member’s spouse applies for the position.

Which of these scenarios constitute a conflict of interest for the board member involved? The answer is “all of the above” and “none of the above.”

If the board is following the association’s conflict of interest policy (you do have one, right?), then none of them needs to be problematic.

Is the office building a good choice in terms of location, rent and other factors? Is the accounting firm competent and reasonably priced? Is the job applicant the best candidate? In other words, would choosing them be in the best interest of the association?

Did the board member who stands to benefit from the decision recuse himself or herself from voting? This doesn’t mean he or she can’t be in on discussing it, according to Gerard P. Panaro, an attorney who works extensively with trade associations and other nonprofit groups. “Legally, as long as there is full disclosure, the transaction is arm’s length and fair to the corporation, the interested director can participate in the discussion (and that may even benefit the organization),” he says.