You are here


Three association leaders selected for 2019 ALA honors

Timmons, Keenan and Graham recognized for innovation, advocacy and contributions to the association community, society

Feb. 19, 2019

2019 ALA honorees
2019 ALA honorees, from left: Timmons, Keenan and Graham

An independent panel of association experts has named three individuals to the growing roster of Association Leadership Award winners.  CEO Update’s annual awards program, now in its 6th year, shines a spotlight on executives who exemplify best practices in association leadership.

The 2019 honorees are: 

  • Trade Association CEO of the Year—Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers
  • Professional Society CEO of the Year—Barbara Byrd Keenan, Endocrine Society
  • Association Lobbyist of the Year—Mike Graham, American Dental Association

The three executives will receive their awards at a luncheon to be held Oct. 3 at the Grand Hyatt Washington hotel. For attendance information, visit

As CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, Timmons has been a key voice in keeping manufacturing and jobs front and center in public policy debates. Timmons joined NAM in 2005 and ascended to the top job in 2011. 

Keenan became CEO of the Endocrine Society in 2014, her fourth chief executive role. She is implementing a new strategic plan and expanding the Endocrine Society’s education and advocacy efforts.

Graham has been advocating for the American Dental Association since 2005, and was named senior vice president of government and public affairs in 2011. He has grown ADA’s political and grassroots operations and influence on Capitol Hill.

CEO Update received a robust response to a call for ALA candidates in late 2018, with the online nomination process generating submissions keyed to clearly defined association criteria. Nominees were forwarded to a 13-member panel convened by CEO Update. The panelists represented a cross section of the association community and brought to the process a deep knowledge of what it takes to be a successful leader.   

The 2019 panel members included:

  • Steve Anderson, CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • Jim Clarke, former SVP of public policy, ASAE
  • John Graham, CEO, ASAE
  • Art Herold, partner at Webster, Chamberlain & Bean
  • Leslie Hortum, managing partner, Spencer Stuart
  • Peter Larkin, CEO, National Grocers Association
  • Lorraine Lavet, sector leader for associations, Korn Ferry
  • Chris McEntee, Executive Director and CEO, American Geophysical Union
  • Arlene Pietranton, CEO, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • David Rehr, professor of public policy, George Mason University
  • Stephanie Tomasso, trade and professional associations practice leader, Russell Reynolds Associates
  • Jade West, SVP of government relations, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
  • Jim Zaniello, president, Vetted Solutions

“Jay, Barbara and Mike are esteemed leaders who bring innovative and ingenious leadership to their respective organizations,” said panel member Anderson, a 2016 ALA honoree. “However, their selection goes much deeper in an important attribute.  Each of them, in their own way, illustrates that not only associations can change society and the world, but as individuals we can change society and the world.”

“The CEO Update Awards are a wonderful way to celebrate talented leaders within the association community, and to recognize and honor the incredible reach and contributions of those leaders to so many other civic and cultural areas of society,” said Pietranton, a panel member and 2015 honoree. “Jay, Barbara and Mike are visionary champions and courageous advocates. Each in their own authentic way is an inspiring example of bringing your best and making a meaningful difference.”

Watch for individual interviews with the honorees in upcoming issues.