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Association booster Mahaffey reminds peers of core principles

Former head of Association Forum of Chicagoland says nonprofit groups——especially medical societies——face substantial challenges  

April 20, 2012

Chris Mahaffey has been steeped in associations since long before he became executive director of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons in 2003.

Right after graduating from Western Illinois University, he took his political science and journalism degree to Washington, D.C., for an entry-level job at the National Association of Retail Druggists (now National Community Pharmacists Association). He jokes that he monitored Hill hearings so low-level that even C-SPAN didn’t cover them.

But Mahaffey didn’t entirely stumble into the sector like many association CEOs. For him, it’s somewhat of a family business. His father, a trained pharmacist, led the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, and that’s where Mahaffey got his second association job, this time back in Chicago.