Melissa Hockstad, American Cleaning Institute

Melissa Hockstad joined the American Cleaning Institute as the President & CEO in January 2017. She is responsible for the overall leadership of ACI including business growth, advocacy, science, research, sustainability, communications and outreach.

Prior to joining ACI she served as Vice President, Petrochemicals at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM). In this capacity, she was responsible for managing AFPM’s petrochemical activities including oversight of various petrochemical committees, organization of the International Petrochemical Conference, and providing support for addressing legislative, regulatory and communications issues impacting the petrochemicals membership.

She previously held positions at the Plastics Industry Association where she was the Vice President – Science, Technology and Regulatory Affairs, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) where she served as Performance Improvement Director as well as at Basell Polyolefins (now LyondellBasell) where she was a Senior Engineer.

In 2022, she was elected as the Vice Chair of the National Association of Manufacturers – Council of Manufacturing Associations. She also serves on the Penn State Department of Materials Science and Engineering External Advisory Board. Melissa received a M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in Engineering Science from the University of Virginia.


Rebecca Achurch, Achurch Consulting

Leading associations through change has been at the heart of Rebecca Achurch’s more than 20-year career in the industry. As CEO of Achurch Consulting (AC), she leads a team of dedicated professionals who help associations successfully navigate technical and cultural transformational change. Her commitment to bringing long-term value to mission-based organizations, combined with decades of multifaceted experience make her a true partner and advocate for her clients and the industry. Known for her transparency and openness, Rebecca tells it like it is – all key personal traits that ensure organizations can make vital decisions in the light. 

Rebecca began her career in association management in the meetings department of the National Spa and Pool Institute (NSPI), where she learned the ins and outs of the meeting and trade show industry from some of the finest in the business. This is where her love for technology began – by implementing her first AMS in the early days of the internet era.

She furthered her expertise in translating business needs into technical solutions during her 13 years at the American Chemical Society (ACS). Here she built and managed a team that launched more than 35 innovative projects across the organization, tagging her with a reputation for taking on complex projects and pushing the envelope. Most notably, at ACS, she converted the legacy custom AMS and fulfillment systems into two best-in-class SaaS products, for which she earned multiple awards in innovation and improving the member experiences. And she accomplished most of this as a hybrid employee – well before the proliferation of Zoom. This experience started her on the path of advocating for hybrid and flexible work as a standard, rather than a benefit, long before it was popular.

Rebecca is one of the co-founders and board members of the Association Women Technology Champions (AWTC), an association dedicated to empowering and advancing women in association technology. She’s volunteered countless hours in the industry and recently completed a term on the ASAE Technology Council. A sought-after thought leader on digital transformation, project and program management, and creating a successful hybrid workforce, she has been featured as a source in the Boston Globe, Association Now, and other top-tier and industry publications. She is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach, a Certified Association Executive (CAE), a Program Management Professional (PgMP), a Project Management Professional (PMP), and a Certified Scrum Master (CSM).


Ross Eisenberg, American Chemistry Council

As the Vice President of Federal Affairs for the American Chemistry Council, Ross leads the ACC’s federal advocacy and is responsible for developing and maintaining strong relationships with elected officials and their staffs in the House and Senate, White House and Executive Branch. A member of the ACC senior leadership team, Ross provides regular strategic advice and counsel to the ACC’s members to help them navigate Washington and understand how policies affect their companies. He is also Chairman of the Board of the AmeriChem PAC political action committee.

Over the course of two decades in Washington, Ross has spent time as Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers, Policy Counsel at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and an environmental litigator at the law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP. Ross has testified before Congress more than a dozen times and regularly appears in all forms of media, including television, radio, and print. He has also developed a long list of successful issue advocacy campaigns, including multi-milliondollar integrated media and government relations efforts on ozone, sustainability, climate change and infrastructure. Ross has a B.A. in English and Political Science from Emory University and a J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law. He is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia.

Thomas F. (Tommy) Goodwin, Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance

Thomas F. (Tommy) Goodwin is the Vice President, Government Affairs for the Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA), a newly-formed association dedicated to the advancement of the face-to-face business events industry. In this role, he leads ECA’s advocacy on behalf ten industry associations that represent the interconnected ecosystem of exhibitors, show and event organizers, suppliers, venues, and that comprise the nearly $400 billion business events sector.

Prior to joining ECA, he spent more than 20 years leading a wide range of government relations and public affairs efforts for several globally-recognized organizations, including Oracle, AARP, and the Project Management Institute (PMI). He was also a research fellow at Harvard Business School focused on the international political and legal environment in which businesses operate.

Tommy has a B.B.A. from The George Washington University, an M.B.A. from Auburn University, and a Postgraduate Diploma in European Union Law from King’s College London. He also holds a Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), where he was named to ASAE’s 2022 Class of Fellows, and a Project Management Professional certification from PMI.

Kirsten Sutton, American Bankers Association

Kirsten Sutton is Executive Vice President of Congressional Relations and Legislative Affairs at the American Bankers Association (ABA), the voice of the nation’s $23.7 trillion banking industry and its more than two million employees. In this role, Sutton oversees the association’s bipartisan team responsible for engaging lawmakers and their staff on policy and legislative issues affecting America’s banks and the communities they serve.  

Sutton joined ABA in 2020 as Senior Vice President and Executive Director of ABA’s Card Policy Council (CPC), where she developed policy priorities and advocacy strategy in collaboration with the nation’s largest card-issuing banks and payment networks. Before joining ABA, Sutton served as Chief of Staff of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from 2018 to 2020. In addition to advising the CFPB Director on policy and personnel matters, Sutton managed the agency’s public affairs, communications, stakeholder engagement, and legislative affairs office.

Brian L. Wolff, Edison Electric Institute

   Brian L. Wolff is the Chief Strategy Officer & Executive Vice President, Public Policy and External Affairs at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). He is responsible for managing the Government Relations, Customer Solutions, Political and External Affairs, and Communications and Member Engagement departments for the Institute. These groups are responsible for and integrate EEI’s direct lobbying, grassroots outreach, coalition building, and strategic communications functions. Mr. Wolff also is the Executive Vice President of the Edison Foundation. Prior to joining EEI in 2009, Mr. Wolff was a strategist for the U.S. House of Representatives and served under Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Robert T. Matsui (D-CA), Rahm Emanuel (D-IL), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). He also served as finance and taxation legislative aide to former Senator David H. Pryor (D-AR). Prior to his work on Capitol Hill, he worked in business development at Cassidy & Associates and as an advisor to countless state and federal campaigns. He began his career in Washington as a producer and copy editor for the Washington Bureau of Cable News Network (CNN).


Christine Nogal, Arthroscopy Association of North America

With more than 15 years of association experience, Christine Nogal, MBA, CAE, is a passionate and dedicated association professional. Her accolades include receiving the Certified Association Executive designation in 2016 from the American Society of Association Executives and the 2017 Forty Under 40® Award by the Association Forum of Chicagoland. She received her B.A. in Corporate Communication from Dominican University, where she served as the President and Founder of the National Communication Association’s honor society, Lambda Pi Eta, and earned her Masters of Business Administration from North Park University with a Graduate Certificate in Marketing Management. 

During her tenure in the association field, she has previously worked for the American Massage Therapy Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists in the membership and marketing areas, leaving behind a track record of increased retention and recruitment with an emphasis on engagement. She has been with the Arthroscopy Association of North American (AANA) for more than five years, rising from the Marketing and Membership Director and currently serving as the Chief Operations and Business Development Officer. In her current capacity she sets a strategic focus for international outreach, education and non-dues revenue opportunities. She has led the DEI initiatives for the organization which resulted in launching a new nation-wide medical student course series dedicated to addressing the disparity of underrepresented minorities in medicine entering Orthopaedics. As part of her job responsibilities at AANA, she acts as the Staff Officer overseeing the Biologic Association, a new organization established in 2020.

Melissa Zinder, National Business Officers Association

Melissa is the Senior Director of Membership and Marketing at NBOA. In that role, she is responsible for all marketing and member recruitment efforts, driving more than $4 million in revenue to the organization annually. Under her leadership, the association has shifted to a digital-first marketing strategy through the expanded use of social media, web retargeting advertising, and automated and segmented email campaigns. She was also instrumental in establishing a private online community that members rank as one of the top benefits of joining the association. Melissa is a member of ASAE’s Young Professionals Advisory Committee (YPAC) and has helped the YPAC to produce more video content, which has increased the YPAC’s Facebook engagement by over 100% and Instagram engagement by over 3,000% in one year. She received her Master’s in Political Management from George Washington University and a Bachelor’s in Arts from the University of Virginia. Melissa lives and works out of Richmond, Virginia. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond and enjoys spending time with friends, family and her cat Betty and exploring unique spots in her city. Melissa is also a recipient of Association Forum’s 2022 Forty Under 40 Award.

Shannon Williams, Home Furnishings Association

Shannon joined the Home Furnishings Association in 2018 where she currently serves as Chief Operating Officer. Over the past four and a half years, Shannon’s scope of responsibility has expanded to oversee the executive leadership for all aspects of HFA’s operations, strategy, and performance including membership, events, partnerships, programming, technology, marketing, HR, and budgeting.  In her time at HFA, Shannon has renegotiated key contracts leading to more than $30M in member value, increased membership, reorganized operations to save the company close to 20% in operating costs, launched new programs and events and heavily invested in staff development to support organizational change. In 2019, Shannon was recognized in the Furniture Industry’s 40 under 40 awards.  In 2022, Shannon was also WithIt’s Future Leader recipient.

Shannon is currently pursuing her master’s in Non-Profit and Association Management and has undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Business Management, Economics and Behavioral and Social Science. She is incredibly passionate about volunteering with teens and serves as a camp advisor where they learn to build healthy boundaries and navigate peer, life, and social pressures. She also volunteers with the Anti-Defamation League.

Tom Wojno, International Dairy Foods Association

Tom Wojno is Senior Vice President of Innovation & Member Advancement for the International Dairy Foods Association – and is responsible the development and execution of innovative strategies to enhance IDFA services, expand its diverse membership and advance new opportunities for growth. Prior to joining IDFA, Wojno served as vice president of member value and strategy for the National Restaurant Association – leading their membership function while re-imagining the collective partnership with the federation of state restaurant associations to better serve the industry at all levels; local, state and federal. Wojno also served as vice president of resource development for America’s Promise, an alliance organization built by Gen. Colin Powell to support better outcomes in education –  and as Director of Corporate Relations with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, working with the Chambers Financial Services and Intellectual Property Initiatives. Wojno began his career in New York working in Finance at Bloomberg LP.

Wojno received a bachelor’s degree in business and organizational communication from Fairfield University and has completed an Executive Leadership Program at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  Wojno was the recipient of the 2016 Association Innovators awards, given by Bisnow Publications/DC Live to those leaders driving growth and change in their respective associations and industries. He lives in Potomac, MD and can be found most weekends on the eastern shore with his wife Liz, their two children Nick & Scarlett, and their beagle, Dirk.


  • 2022- Joseph M. McGuire
  • 2020- Gary Shapiro
  • 2019 – Matthew Shay
  • 2018 – Arlene Pietranton
  • 2017 – Dawn Sweeney
  • 2016 – Jay Timmons
  • 2015 – John Engler
  • 2014 – Susan K. Neely
  • 2013 – John H. Graham IV, CAE
  • 2012 – Gary LaBranche, CAE
  • 2011 –  Barry C. Melancon, CPA
  • 2010 – VAdm Norbert R. Ryan, USN-Ret.
  • 2009 – Connie Tipton
  • 2008 – Roger Dow
  • 2007 – Thomas J. Donohue
  • 2006 – H. Cris Collie III, CAE
  • 2005 – Anne L. Bryant, EdD, CAE
  • 2004 – Steven C. Anderson, CAE
  • 2003 – Neil Offen, CAE
  • 2002 – Barbara Belmont, CAE
  • 2001 – John “Jack” Cox, CAE
  • 2000 – Thomas R. Kuhn, CAE
  • 1999 – Quincalee Brown, CAE
  • 1998 – Frank McCarthy
  • 1997 – Red Cavaney, CAE
  • 1996 – R. William Taylor, CAE
  • 1995 – Ray Roper, CAE
  • 1994 – Richard L. Lesher, CAE
  • 1993 – William D. Nelligan, CAE
  • 1993 – Robert A. Roland
  • 1992 – William E. Smith
  • 1991 – Clifford M. Clarke, CAE
  • 1990 – Rod L. Geer, CAE, CLU
  • 1989 – Meredith R. Smith, CAE
  • 1988 – John W. Johnson, CAE
  • 1987 – Hugh McCahey
  • 1986 – John N. Bailey, CAE
  • 1985 – Bernard J. Imming, CAE
  • 1984 – Kinsey Bass Green, CAE
  • 1983 – Bud Meredith, CAE
  • 1982 – Mortimer B. Doyle, CAE
  • 1981 – P.D. “Bud” Hermann, CAE
  • 1980 – James P. Low, CAE