Videos & Speeches

2017 Executive of the Year

Dawn Sweeney, CEO, National Restaurant Association
As president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Dawn Sweeney has been instrumental in focusing the mission of the Association through a unique, multi-year strategic plan, highlighting key areas of opportunity within the restaurant industry.

Since taking the helm at the end of 2007, Sweeney has led the Association in a wide-range of policy issues, while offering services and products that promote the industry and help individual operators and large multi-unit companies succeed.

Sweeney has realigned the Association’s priorities and structure to strengthen its core operations, including consolidating its Foundation around a mission to develop a strong workforce and build the next generation of industry leaders.

Before joining the National Restaurant Association, Sweeney was president and CEO of AARP Services, the wholly owned taxable subsidiary of AARP. She grew annual revenues from $175 million to $785 million during her tenure – serving 11 million AARP members annually. Her 25+ years of marketing, advocacy and policy experience also include leadership positions at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a membership organization of consumer-owned electric utilities, and the International Dairy Foods Association, the trade association for the nation's dairy foods industry, where she played a major role in the launch of the “milk moustache” advertising campaign.

Sweeney has been named one of the perennial top association CEOs in the country for the past several years. She serves on the boards the U.S. Travel Association and the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and is an active member of the U.S. Chamber’s Association Committee of 100, the International Women’s Forum, and the Committee of 200, an international network of female executives. She is also a charter member of Child Obesity 180, an initiative of private, public, non-profit and academic leaders committed to helping prevent childhood obesity through evidence-based initiatives.

2017 Partner of the Year

Loretta DeLuca, DelCor Technology Solutions, In 1984, Loretta Monterastelli DeLuca, FASAE, founded the company that would become known as DelCor. Since then, she has worked with associations and nonprofit organizations to help them effectively select, use and support the business systems that advance their unique missions.

A long-time member of ASAE, DeLuca serves on and previously chaired ASAE’s Key Consultants Committee. She has served on the ASAE board, Technology Council (charter member and past chair), Industry Partner Alliance, Professional Development Council, and Executive Council, and the Association Forum of Chicagoland’s Association Technology Advisory Task Force.

DeLuca is a frequent speaker in the association space, including for the Forum and ASAE, such as leading AMS Demo Days. She has written for several magazines and co-authored a chapter on "Records Management and Database Issues" in ASAE’s Membership Operations book. She founded the Association Data Standards Consortium.

In 2003, she established DelCor’s famous .org Community Food Drive for the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, her hometown. To date, the annual drive has provided more than 388,000 meals to people in need. She serves on the Board of Visitors of Children’s National Medical Center and previously served on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic.

She was named an ASAE Fellow in 2007 and received the ASAE 2015 Academy of Leaders Award, granted to industry partners who have demonstrated exemplary contributions to the association community.

2016 Leading Association Lobbyists

The three recipients of the 2016 Leading Association Lobbyists award also were honored at the 2017 Salute. Congress has passed little in the way of legislation in the past couple of years, but that doesn’t mean association lobbyists aren’t busy. Issues still need to be vetted, legislators still need to get information, and regulators also need to hear the voices of industry. In short, there are still plenty of opportunities for association lobbyists to make a difference for their constituencies. Congratulations to the all-new group of honorees:



W. Eric Dell, Senior Vice President,
Government Affairs, National Automatic Merchandising Association

Gregory Knopp, CAE Executive Director of Political Affairs,
American Council of Engineering Companies

Cicely Simpson, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy,
National Restaurant Association

2016 Young and Aspiring Professionals

The five recipients of the 2016 Young & Aspiring Association Professionals award also were honored at the 2017 Salute. These individuals demonstrate outstanding work in associations – and they are all younger than 40! They are the top performers, both on the job and in volunteer capacities – the go-to people who are reliable and will roll up their sleeves and stay until the job is done. Congratulations to the 2016 class:

Richard Brown,
Business Manager and Account Executive
Center for Fine Arts Education

Paula Eichenbrenner, CAE,
Executive Director, AMCP Foundation, Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy

Melissa Garcia, CAE,
Senior Director, Digital & Information Strategy, Society for Neuroscience

Kendra Pheasant, M.S., CAE,
Account Executive, Association Resources

Adrienne Segundo, IOM,
COO/Chairman, Limitless Association Solution

2016 All Media Contest

The annual All Media Contest brought in another round of amazing winners this year. The contest honors the best and most unique marketing and communications programs by organizations. The 2016 All Media Contest attracted more than 400 entries from 150 organizations. Judges selected 66 gold, silver and bronze winners in 23 categories. All winners were honored at the 2016 Salute and in a special print edition of TRENDS. The Publisher’s Choice award also was announced at the Salute, and the winner was the National Recreation and Parks Association, the gold winner in the Best Advocacy Campaign category. See all of the winning entries at