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ASSOCIATION LEADER: Jahn finds right mix at chemical group

Veteran leader has huge staff at ACC but stays approachable with ‘listen first’ style


July 10
By William Ehart

Chris Jahn says association executives need to play to their strengths and leverage prior experiences.

With more than a decade running trade associations in the chemical or related industries, Jahn felt qualified to win the CEO spot at the American Chemistry Council eight months ago. He knows not every job in Washington, D.C., is in his wheelhouse.

Still, management smarts such as his are critical now more than ever for association CEOs as the COVID-19 pandemic rocks the economy and the business models of many groups. So it was fortuitous that Jahn took the road less traveled in the early 2000s while working as an aide to a GOP congressman on Capitol Hill: He earned an MBA at night from the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business. He now identifies himself on Twitter as a “management geek.”