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Building Stronger Chapters

STA plans to use social media to expand its relationships with affiliate chapters

Since electing a new chief executive officer last year and completing a thorough review, the Security Traders Association has decided top-down policy changes and unwanted emails are not the most effective way to help traders.

Instead, the organization's affiliate chapters will be the primary way members interact with it, STA officials say.

As it looks to 2012, the STA wants to change the kinds of information it sends to members and the ways it communicates.

STA's approximately 4,200 members are overwhelmed with information every day. And members will pay more attention to the 26 local affiliates when it comes to deciding what's important.

Jennifer Setzenfand

Those were some of the comments in a recent wide-ranging interview with incoming chairman Jennifer Setzenfand and STA president and CEO James Toes.

"We've spent the last few years analyzing and evaluating everything," said Setzenfand, a senior trader with Federated Investors in Pittsburgh. She officially takes office in January.

Setzenfand will make STA history. She will become the first child of a chairman to follow in her parent's footsteps in the 77-year history of the organization.

STA officials decided over the last year that they need to communicate more effectively with members, who already hear from lots of different groups every day. They need to ensure that information sent from the national group to members isn't part of the daily noise every professional encounters, Setzenfand said. STA officials must ensure that information they consider critical to a trader doesn't end up in a member's junk mail folder.

How will the STA do that? 
Setzenfand said the group will use social media as one way of becoming a bigger part of members' lives.

"This is about embracing all the tools that are out there. It means using different messaging, different social media and different touch points to contact people," she said. Finding more effective ways to reach members is critical, she adds.

"The average person is so bombarded with information every day that you literally have only 10 seconds or so to grab someone's attention," she said.

Setzenfand says members should receive information fast, but only the kinds and in the amounts that are wanted. That means, she adds, the STA and its affiliates must do a better job of targeting their messages.

"The member should be able to say, 'That's the information I needed-thank you very much,' and move on," she said.

But improving how the STA provides information also means finding ways to segment it, she adds. The STA has various trading constituencies, and each has its own priorities, she says. That segmentation, STA officials say, must include better data management. It also means recognizing the different needs of affiliates and letting them directly interact with members.