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Panel names Association Leadership Award honorees

Dawn Sweeney, Abe Eshkenazi, Jim Clarke to be honored this year for their proven leadership in association community

2018 ALA honoreesSweeney, Eshkenazi and Clarke

Feb. 15, 2018
CEO Update has announced the honorees in the 2018 Association Leadership Awards: 

  • Trade Association CEO of the Year—Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association
  • Professional Society CEO of the Year—Abe Eshkenazi, APICS—The Association for Operations Management
  • Association Lobbyist of the Year—Jim Clarke, ASAE

The three executives will receive their awards at a luncheon to be held Sept. 20 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Chosen by an independent panel of association experts, the three come from nominations submitted to CEO

Update in late 2017 in response to a call to the association sector for candidates. The online nomination process generated submissions keyed to clearly defined association leadership criteria. Nominees were forwarded to the panel, which made the selection.

Association attorney Art Herold, selection panel chair, said, “It’s not an easy process to choose just one winner in each category.  The association community has dozens of exemplary leaders who are transforming association management, and taking their industries and professions to new heights, but this year’s winners have demonstrated incredible positive change for their own group and the association community at large.”

The 14-member panel, convened by CEO Update, represent the breadth of the association experience and were equipped with many decades of experience to assist them in choosing this slate of honorees.

In addition to Herold, partner at Webster, Chamberlain & Bean, the panel included:

  • Ivan Adler, principal, McCormick Group
  • Steve Anderson, CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • Cam Fine, CEO, Independent Community Bankers of America
  • Julian Ha, practice leader, Heidrick & Struggles
  • Leslie Hortum, managing partner, Spencer Stuart
  • Lorraine Lavet, sector leader, associations, Korn Ferry
  • Steve Lieber, former CEO, HIMSS
  • Chris McEntee, Executive Director, American Geophysical Union
  • Arlene Pietranton, CEO, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
  • David Rehr, senior associate dean and professor of law, George Mason University
  • Stephanie Tomasso, consultant, Russell Reynolds
  • Jade West, Senior Vice President, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
  • Jim Zaniello, president, Vetted Solutions

The Association Leadership Awards program, now in its fifth year, was designed as a best practice spotlight on CEOs and lobbyists in the association sector. The awards process is a complement to the continual work of CEO Update, which functions as a communication hub for its members, in print, online and in person.

For details on the Association Leadership Awards, including selection criteria and attendance information, visit

Watch for individual interviews with the honorees in upcoming issues.