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Pandemic disruption presented challenges, opportunities to interim association leaders

Some temporary leaders—including those not initially candidates for the full-time job—have had the chance to prove their value


April 2, 2021
By William Ehart

The pandemic put many CEOs in the hot seat—including some interim CEOs who had been promoted from within the association staff in order to keep the trains running while the board conducted a search for a new chief executive.

But the sudden disruption gave these internal leaders—experienced in CFO, COO or other senior roles—a chance to show what they could do in a time of turmoil. Their status as known quantities also enhanced their prospects in a way it might not have absent the pandemic.

“I think all organizations went through this time of needing to make sure they were maintaining stability,” said Lisa Gables, CEO of the $29 million-revenue American Academy of PAs, which represents more than 140,000 physician assistants. “I don’t know if it affected my ability to get the job or not, but I certainly think I provided a stable solution.”