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Honorees set tone as advocates and volunteers
March 31, 2022 |
2022 ALA honorees, from left: Association Lobbyist of the Year Jennifer Hatcher, Trade Association CEO of the Year Steve Caldeira, and Professional Society CEO of the Year Patricia Blake.

Panel names three for 9th annual awards

Steve Caldeira is known as an effective industry advocate and a tireless contributor to the entire association community. Patricia Blake is also a prolific volunteer, and is recognized as a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion. Jennifer Hatcher earns praise for advocacy wins during the pandemic.

All three have been named as the 2022 honorees of the Association Leadership Awards, after being nominated by their peers and selected by an independent panel. CEO Update began the ALA program in 2014 to recognize achievement in association management and advocacy as well as in giving back to the association management profession.

The executives will receive their awards at an event to be held later this year.

Determined leadership

Trade Association CEO of the Year Steve Caldeira, of the Household & Commercial Products Association since 2017, represented a critical industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. He led a successful campaign to have cleaning and disinfectant manufacturers and their workers declared essential by the federal government. And throughout his 12-year association career, he has awed peers with his energy and determination to strengthen the fabric of the association community.

Caldeira chaired the ASAE board in 2020-21, co-leading the search for the association of association executives’ CEO, which resulted in the selection of Michelle Mason. Caldeira was honored this spring with ASAE’s Association Policy Leadership Award.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s National Capital Area Chapter will recognize Caldeira May 6 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his long service on the group’s Brain Ball Committee.

After joining HCPA, then known as the Consumer Specialty Products Association, Caldeira led a rebranding and reorganization of the trade group to clarify and strengthen its mission. He was previously CEO of the International Franchise Association for five years.

DEI commitment

Professional Society CEO of the Year Patricia Blake, of the Heart Rhythm Society since 2019, has delivered policy wins and resources for her members during the pandemic, and has promoted DEI throughout the organization.

She restructured the process of board and officer applications to be more open and inclusive and required unconscious bias training for staff, leadership and committee members. Other DEI initiatives at HRS under her leadership include programs to highlight disparities in health care research, institution of a leadership program for early-career women electrophysiologists and creation of a DEI task force that she elevated to a DEI Council reporting to the board.

HRS is Blake’s third CEO role. Her first was with the Emergency Nurses Association. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy hired her in 2002 to transition the group from an association management company to a stand-alone organization with its own employees. During her 17-year tenure, ASGE grew to a staff of 50 and about 15,000 members.

Blake chaired the ASAE board in 2019-20, helping to guide the group’s work on a new strategic plan. As immediate past chair the following year, she helped lead its transition from the leadership of the late John Graham to Susan Robertson to Mason. Blake serves as a mentor for ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program. She has also been chair of the Chicago-based Association Forum.

Industry wins

Association Lobbyist of the Year Jennifer Hatcher is chief public policy officer and SVP of government and public affairs at FMI—The Food Industry Association. She has held this top role overseeing federal, state and regulatory efforts for the food retail industry since 2009. Before joining FMI in 1998, she was chief of staff for former Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.)

During the pandemic, Hatcher established daily calls with members to provide updates from government officials and to discuss supply chain issues and other critical topics.

Hatcher’s advocacy is also credited with ensuring that the 12,000 supermarket pharmacies were able to administer COVID-19 vaccines, which expanded the distribution of the vaccines, including to underserved communities. Hatcher also played a key role in combatting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine mandate for large employers. She worked with other associations and plaintiffs on litigation that led to the U.S. Supreme Court blocking the mandate in January.

Hatcher is on the board and is a previous chair of the Friends of the National Arboretum. She is also on the Washington, D.C., board of Common Threads, a national nonprofit that provides education about cooking and nutrition to families and children in under-resourced communities.


This year’s Association Leadership Awards honorees were selected as part of a process launched four months earlier, with a community-wide call for nominations. The online form asked nominators to explain how their candidate for the award embodied a clearly defined set of criteria for accomplishment and for giving back to the community.

CEO Update then convened a panel of 12 people to review and discuss the submissions before choosing one person for each of the three categories. The panel includes current and former CEOs, recruiters and consultants who have in-depth knowledge of the association world.

The 2022 panelists are:

Steve Anderson, CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Julian Ha, partner, Heidrick & Struggles
Art Herold, partner, Webster, Chamberlain & Bean
Kevin Keane, executive vice president of government and public affairs, American Beverage Association
Lorraine Lavet, sector leader for associations, Korn Ferry
Michelle Mason, CEO, ASAE
Tonya Muse, partner, Odgers Berndtson
Susan Neely, CEO, American Council of Life Insurers
Dawn Sweeney, former CEO, National Restaurant Association
Jeffrey Tenenbaum, managing partner, Tenenbaum Law Group
Jay Timmons, CEO, National Association of Manufacturers
Jim Zaniello, president, Vetted Solutions


CEO Update has recognized 24 executives as exceptional leaders in the eight years of the Association Leadership Awards. The honorees for each year are listed in order of trade association CEO, professional society CEO and association lobbyist.

Leslie Sarasin, FMI—The Food Industry Association
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., Society for Human Resource Management
Kristin Bass, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association

Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation
Michelle Mason, Association Forum
Kevin Keane, American Beverage Association

Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers
Barbara Byrd Keenan, Endocrine Society
Mike Graham, American Dental Association

Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association
Abe Eshkenazi, Association for Supply Chain Management
Jim Clarke, ASAE

Susan Neely, American Beverage Association
Steve Lieber, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
Jerry Giovaniello, National Association of Realtors

Steve Anderson, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Chris McEntee, American Geophysical Union
Aric Newhouse, National Association of Manufacturers

Tom Kuhn, Edison Electric Institute
Arlene Pietranton, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
John Graham, ASAE
Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber of Commerce