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ASAE Selects a New Leader

Michelle Mason, a veteran of the Chicagoland association community, will take the helm at the trade group for associations.

Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, current president and CEO of the Chicago-based Association Forum, will become the next president and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives on September 1. 

“Throughout her career, Michelle has demonstrated a commitment to the association community and to ASAE, as well as a proven ability to drive alignment and results in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment,” said Stephen J. Caldeira, ASAE board chair and co-chair of the search committee, and president and CEO of the Household & Commercial Products Association. “Michelle is a strategic thinker, proven consensus builder, effective communicator, and fearless advocate. We are confident that Michelle is the right leader at the right time, who will bring visionary leadership to ASAE at a critical juncture in the association’s history.”

ASAE was already quite familiar with Mason; she was vice president of strategic and future-focused research for the organization from 1998 to 2006. She then moved to the American Society for Quality as managing director of strategy and innovation before landing the top job at Association Forum in 2014. 

“I am honored to build upon the successful foundation at ASAE,” Mason said. “I look forward to collaborating with a dynamic board of directors and a dedicated staff team as we create an accessible, inclusive, and transformational community for members and industry.”

Paul Pomerantz, CAE, FASAE, board chair for Association Forum, which serves the greater Chicago area, stated that “Association Forum is very proud of Michelle. She has earned a national reputation for her leadership of the organization, which became increasingly influential and grew substantially in both programs and revenue. Michelle provided steady and confident leadership during the pandemic crisis.”

And with its Welcoming Environment initiative, “Association Forum established itself as a thought leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Pomerantz added. “Michelle will be missed.” Then again, Mason noted that “I look forward to building a stronger partnership between ASAE and Association Forum in the years to come.”

Mason succeeds Susan Robertson, CAE, as ASAE’s president and CEO. Since March 2020, Robertson, the first woman to lead the 100-year-old organization, has been serving on an 18-month contract. She was previously executive vice president of ASAE and president of the ASAE Research Foundation.

“The ASAE community owes Susan a debt of gratitude for navigating the organization following the unfortunate death of longtime president and CEO John Graham IV, FASAE, CAE in January 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic. Susan has served with distinction for over 20 years, and she helped the organization shepherd all Centennial-related activities and a new strategic plan,” said Caldeira. In addition, Mason said, “I offer a heartfelt thank you to Susan Robertson for her leadership and for paving the way for women in the industry.”

Denise Froemming, CAE, Association Forum board chair-elect, will run the search committee for the next president and CEO of Association Forum.

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