December 14, 2017
    Association TRENDS 2017 Association Executive of the Year - Dawn Sweeney

    CEO, National Restaurant Association


    Dawn Sweeney is very well-regarded among peers and staff. Here she is discussing strategy with National Restaurant Association CFO Marvin Irby, a past CFO of the Year. (Photo: Chuck Fazio)

    Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, is the Association TRENDS 2017 Association Executive of the Year. 

    “Dawn Sweeney embodies what a successful association executive is: a driven professional who is constantly striving for excellence of herself and staff for her industry. This has translated to great success for all the associations she has worked for. And she has not gone unrecognized for her professionalism. Though she has attained the TRENDS 2017 Association Executive of the Year, we fully expect even greater workplace accomplishments from her," TRENDS Publisher Emily Howard said.

    Sweeney will be honored at the TRENDS 2017 Salute to Association Excellence, Feb. 23 at the Capital Hilton in Washington. Also to be honored at the TRENDS Salute will be the 2017 Association Partner of the Year, Loretta DeLuca, FASAE, founder and CEO of DelCor Technology Solutions; the TRENDS 2016 Young & Aspiring Association Professionals; the TRENDS 2016 Leading Association Lobbyists; and the winners of the TRENDS 2016 All Media Contest, the most watched and respected competition for association communications in the country.

    As CEO of the National Restaurant Association, 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. She 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-plus years of marketing, advocacy and policy experience also include leadership positions at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association 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. Retired IDFA CEO Connie Tipton is a past Association Executive of the Year.

    Sweeney has been named one of the perennial top association CEOs in the country for the past several years. She serves on the boards ASAE and the ASAE Foundation, U.S. Travel Association and the Women’s Foodservice Forum. She 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, nonprofit and academic leaders committed to helping prevent childhood obesity through evidence-based initiatives.

    For more details on the TRENDS Salute to Assocaiton Excellence, the independent associaiton event in DC, click here.

    Association TRENDS