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ALA 2020


On Sept. 23, CEO Update celebrated the 2021 Association Leadership Awards honorees. Watch the virtual event and read more about the in-person reception here.


The Association Leadership Awards, now in its eighth year, is the culmination of an independent and rigorous process to recognize excellence in trade associations and professional societies. Nominations came to CEO Update from every corner of the association space in response to a widespread call for candidates. 

The nomination process yielded highly detailed submissions, keyed to clearly defined association leadership criteria. 

A slate of finalists were forwarded to an independent panel, who made the final selection. The panel, selected by CEO Update, consisted of representatives from association search firms, former association CEOs, previous honorees and attorneys who represent associations. CEO Update appointed a knowledgeable and independent group of individuals with decades of experience in the association community to choose the winners of this award.  



Trade Association CEO - Leslie Sarasin, FMI—The Food Industry Association
Professional Society CEO - Johnny C. Taylor Jr.
, Society for Human Resource Management
Association Lobbyist - Kristin Bass, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
Learn more about the winners here


CEO Update convened 17 people with deep backgrounds in associations—including current and former CEOs, recruiters and consultants—to select the honorees. The three winning executives were among those nominated for the award through a public submission process that began late last year.  

  • Ivan Adler, president, Ivan Adler Associates
  • Steve Anderson, CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • Julian Ha, associations practice leader, Heidrick & Struggles
  • Art Herold, partner, Webster, Chamberlain & Bean
  • Leslie Hortum, managing partner, Spencer Stuart
  • Kevin Keane, EVP of government and public affairs, American Beverage Association
  • Lorraine Lavet, sector leader for associations, Korn Ferry
  • Michelle Mason, CEO, Association Forum
  • Chris McEntee, former CEO, American Geophysical Union
  • Susan Neely, CEO, American Council of Life Insurers
  • Arlene Pietranton, CEO, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • Susan Robertson, CEO, ASAE
  • Dawn Sweeney, former CEO, National Restaurant Association
  • Jay Timmons, CEO, National Association of Manufacturers
  • Stephanie Tomasso, associations practice leader, Russell Reynolds Associates
  • Conrad Woody, head of corporate and government affairs practice, Odgers Berndtson
  • Jim Zaniello, president, Vetted Solutions.