Heidi Brock
President and CEO
American Forest & Paper Association

As President and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA), Heidi Brock serves as the chief advocate for paper and wood products manufacturers. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recyclable resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative — Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future.

Brock joined AF&PA in 2019, establishing a strategic vision for the organization that has strengthened AF&PA’s advocacy mission and increased membership. Brock guided AF&PA throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with a steadfast focus on workplace safety and ensuring manufacturers can continue to deliver essential products. Under Brock’s leadership, AF&PA launched an award-winning website and earned 3 ASAE Silver Awards for efforts to promote the forest products industry. In 2022 and 2023, Brock was named one of Washington’s 500 Most Influential People by Washingtonian Magazine. She was awarded the John H. Graham IV Association Executive Award in 2023 by the Boy Scouts of America, National Capital Area Council.

Brock serves as the Vice President of the International Council of Forest & Paper Associations (ICFPA) and Chair Elect of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and Chair of the ASAE Research Foundation Boards of Directors. She serves on the steering committees for the Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries (ACSFI) and the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Council of Manufacturing Associations (CMA) Board of Advisors. Brock sits on the University of Puget Sound Board of Trustees, the Bryce Harlow Foundation Board of Directors, the U.S. Chamber’s Committee of 100, and the DC Central Kitchen Board of Directors. She is also an active fellow of the US-Japan Leadership Program. In 2018, Brock was awarded the CMA Leadership Award to recognize her work to promote sustainability and manufacturing.

Prior to joining AF&PA, Brock served as President and CEO of the Aluminum Association from 2011-2019, where she led two significant and successful trade enforcement cases for the aluminum industry while also achieving record membership levels. Brock previously served in various roles during an 18-year tenure at Weyerhaeuser, including Vice-President of Federal and International Affairs. She also served on the staffs of former U.S. Senators Dan Evans and Slade Gorton. 

Brock received a bachelor’s degree in English literature and economics from the University of Puget Sound and a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University. She is married to the Reverend Charles Brock, and they have a son, Samuel.


Jay Younger
President & CEO
McKinley Advisors

We can’t help but notice that Jay Younger’s reputation often precedes him. It has to do with his uncanny ability to advance board and staff relationships, his constant state of calm, his skill in crunching numbers on the most complex spreadsheets and the rumor that he can keep up with the best of them at late night ASAE events. Back in the office, Jay is the president & CEO who makes sure that McKinley is one of the best places his employees have ever worked while earning the loyalty of his clients who seek his guidance again and again.

During Jay’s twenty-plus years in the association industry, he has become widely known as an expert in strategic planning, dues restructuring, governance, membership, organizational development and branding. He has a consistent track record of helping clients tackle challenging issues and arrive at unprecedented successes. He has extensive experience working with the staff and volunteer leadership of associations and is an accomplished facilitator and strategist. Jay is known for his uncanny ability to ensure that all participants feel they have been heard and included and to unify disparate audiences to proceed towards a common goal. In addition to his direct work with McKinley’s clients, Jay brings a wealth of expertise, experience, and positive energy to our project teams, supporting McKinley’s senior staff in their efforts to deliver exceptional client value.

Jay is an ASAE Fellow, and chaired ASAE Business Services Board of Directors in 2021. He also served on its Membership Section Council from 1999-2005, with a stint as chair in 2004-2005. Jay is a frequent presenter, author and contributor to a wide range of industry events and publications. At home, Jay is the quintessential family man, trading in his golf clubs for his kids’ ballet recitals, trips to the playground and countless early mornings. A native Washingtonian, Jay holds a B.A. in English from Duke University.


Robin Bowen
Senior Vice President of External Affairs
Plant Based Products Council

Robin J. Bowen is the Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Plant Based Products Council (PBPC), a group of businesses and agriculture organizations working to guide the global economy toward more sustainable and responsible consumer products and packaging through greater use of plant-based materials. Robin manages PBPC’s engagement with federal and state policymakers on legislative and regulatory issues as well as other agriculture, industry, and public policy organizations.

Robin also serves as Senior Vice President of External Affairs for the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), the trade association representing the corn refining industry. Robin manages CRA’s government relations and stakeholder engagement and leads CRA’s Government Relations Committee.

Robin has over 20 years of experience in public policy advocacy and education. Previously, she served as Director of Federal Outreach for a university-based research center, Government Affairs Counsel to an association of alcohol beverage producers, Legislative Director for an insurance trade association, and Senior Legislative Assistant in the U.S. Senate. She has developed and managed numerous public policy education programs.

Robin and her brother are the sixth generation to call the family homestead farm in south central Kentucky home. Robin earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Transylvania University in 1990 and her Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law at The American University in 1999. Robin also practiced law for nine years at a global law firm and clerked for the Honorable Eugene Siler on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Allison Cunningham
Senior Director
American Gas Association

Allison is Senior Director, Governmental Affairs and Public Policy for the American Gas Association, where she leads federal legislative efforts on issues such as end use, climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable natural gas, hydrogen, and other key issues for natural gas utilities. During her time at AGA, she has cultivated new bipartisan support for continued role of natural gas direct use in a clean energy future. Allison works to maintain AGA’s role as the leading natural gas authority in Washington and has positioned herself as the industry’s lead on gas stoves, gas appliance bans, and the role of natural gas distribution systems in a clean energy landscape. These efforts resulted in the introduction of multiple bills in the House and Senate to support the continued role of natural gas in an affordable, clean energy future, with 2 bills passed out of the House on a strong bipartisan basis.

Prior to re-joining AGA, Allison was Director, Federal Government Affairs for NGVAmerica, where she led the natural gas vehicle industry’s federal lobbying efforts, overseeing successful extension of key clean transportation tax credits and surface transportation reauthorization. Prior to NGVAmerica, Allison spent time at Spectra Energy (now Enbridge), AGA, and on Capitol Hill, where she departed as Deputy Chief of Staff. Allison was named one of The Hill’s Top Lobbyists for 2021 and 2022. 

Allison has a master’s degree in Democracy, Politics, and Governance from the Royal Holloway, University of London and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Oklahoma State University. 

Allison is an Alumni of the American Council of Young Political Leaders, having served as a delegate to Ghana and South Africa in 2014, a delegation escort to Japan in 2018, and an alumni delegate to Japan in 2023. Allison is also an alumni of the inaugural Woodrow Wilson Center Foreign Policy Fellowship for Senior Capitol Hill staff and the American Gas Association’s Next Level Leadership Women’s Program. 

Allison also founded “Don’t Fence the Capitol”, a nonpartisan group of citizens whose advocacy led to removal of the Capitol security fence and prevented a permanent security perimeter around the US Capitol.

Allison and her husband, Richard, live on Capitol Hill with their French Bulldog, Spud. 

Jillien Flores
Executive Vice President, Head of Global Government Affairs 
Managed Funds Association

Jillien Flores serves as Executive Vice President, Managing Director, Head of Global Government Affairs at Managed Funds Association (MFA). 

Flores joined MFA after six years at Vanguard, one of the world’s leading asset managers. There, she advocated before Washington policymakers on a range of issues related to US capital markets, tax, and retirement policy. Leveraging policy depth, strategy, and relationships, Flores achieved policy outcomes beneficial to Vanguard’s clients on issues including equity market structure, ESG and corporate governance, and systemic risk. 

Throughout her career, Flores has sought opportunities to advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the financial services sector, serving in leadership roles of related efforts at Vanguard. 

Prior to joining Vanguard, Flores was Director of Government Relations at Porterfield, Lowenthal, Fettig & Sears, where she represented clients before Congress and the federal financial regulators in the asset management, insurance, securities, and biotechnology sectors. She was involved in the legislative and rule-writing process for several financial services laws and regulations, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. 

Flores earned a B.A. from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

David Hickey
Vice President of Advocacy
International Sign Association

David Hickey is Vice President of Advocacy for the International Sign Association (ISA), where he oversees and coordinates ISA’s legislative, regulatory and legal efforts – including ISA’s two amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court for the Austin v. Reagan case. David and his ISA Advocacy team have educated nearly 9,000 local government officials on issues important to the sign and graphics industry and have helped hundreds of jurisdictions across the United States develop effective and beneficial sign regulations.


Ashley Hodak Sullivan
Director, Membership & Marketing
National Association of College and University Attorneys

Ashley has spent her entire professional career in association management, with more than 15 years of experience in membership, marketing, governance, technology, and strategy with both trade associations and professional societies. She currently serves as director of membership and marketing for the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), where she is responsible for the oversight and execution of all membership, marketing, and sponsorship activities for the association, along with special projects related to awards and board nominations. 

Prior to joining NACUA in 2018, Ashley was an account executive with the association management firm Kellen, where she represented Garden Communicators International as deputy executive director and Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association as executive director. Additionally, Ashley spent seven years in the legal association realm, serving as chief operating officer for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and marketing and communication manager for the Maryland Association for Justice.

Ashley has been an active member and volunteer with ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership, serving on the Young Association Professionals Committee, Executive Management Council, and Membership Professionals Advisory Council, where she served as council chair 2022-2023, In June 2023, she earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential. She has also presented and moderated at several national conferences, covering topics including professional development, membership engagement/retention, strategy, and technology. In 2017, she was honored with Association Forum & USAE’s Forty Under 40 Award. 

Ashley is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College, where she earned both her BA and MBA with honors (magna cum laude) in 2008. She is a proud, life-long Marylander and lives in Bowie with her husband Ian and daughter Wren. 

Doug Hoekstra
Director, Digital Content
Financial Executives International

Doug Hoekstra, a seasoned professional in the realm of digital marketing, joined Financial Executives International (FEI) in 2011, and serves as the Director of Digital Content, leading transformative efforts in the association’s marketing strategies. Doug’s vision and leadership have steered FEI towards a cutting-edge digital-first approach. This strategic shift encompassed a comprehensive overhaul of the association’s marketing practices, harnessing the power of social media, web retargeting advertising, and highly targeted email campaigns.

One of Doug’s key accomplishments was the establishment of a pioneering sponsored retargeting program, which has not only been instrumental in generating sales exceeding $100,000 but has also delivered an impressive gross profit margin of 91.5%. These remarkable achievements highlight Doug’s exceptional acumen in leveraging digital tools for business growth.

Before embarking on his journey with FEI, Doug amassed valuable experience in marketing and public relations. His noteworthy tenures included roles with a National Association of Realtors’ chapter and the corporate office of Weichert, Realtors, where he honed his skills and contributed to these organizations’ success.

Doug’s academic journey led him to the University of Maryland, College Park, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. His background in psychology complements his digital marketing expertise, providing him with a deep understanding of human behavior that enables him to connect with and engage audiences.

Katie Goodman
Vice President, Education & Leadership Programs
American Council of Engineering Companies

Katie Goodman has been an integral member of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) for more than 10 years. As Vice President of Education and Leadership Programs she oversees the implementation of ACEC’s leadership development education programs, including the Business of Design Consulting, Pathways to Executive Leadership, and the Senior Executives Institute. She also oversees the Young Professionals Forum, for which she designs and presents quarterly webinars and annual seminars for early career professionals within ACEC’s member firms. Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Policy Studies from Syracuse University.

Shari Sally
Vice President of Sales and Business Development
Consumer Technology Association

Shari Sally is the Vice President of Sales and Business Development for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), producers of CES, the world’s most powerful tech event. She is responsible for exhibit and sponsorship sales for CES representing 3,500+ exhibitors in over 2 million net square feet of exhibit space.

With over 15 years of experience in the tradeshow industry, Shari started her career at CTA holding various positions within the sales department. Raising through the ranks, she is known for her relationship building and strategic selling having worked with various Fortune 500 companies on creating valuable experiences at the annual CES. During her tenure, CES has grown its footprint by 45%. Shari is credited for building the vehicle tech category at CES, catapulting CES to be recognized as one of the most influential auto events of the year. In 2018, she was named one of the inaugural ‘Women to Watch’ by Trade Show Executive magazine. 

Shari received a bachelor’s degree in communications from George Mason University. She lives in Fort Washington, MD and can be found most weekends supporting her husband, Tyrone who is the head coach of Alexandria City High School’s basketball team.


  • 2023 – Melissa Hockstad
  • 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



CEO Update has recognized 27 executives as exceptional leaders in the nine years of the Association Leadership Awards. The honorees for each year are listed in order of trade association CEO, professional society CEO and association lobbyist.

Steve Caldeira—Household & Commercial Products Association
Patricia Blake—Heart Rhythm Society
Jennifer Hatcher—FMI—The Food Industry Association

Leslie Sarasin, FMI—The Food Industry Association
Johnny C. Taylor Jr., Society for Human Resource Management
Kristin Bass, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association

Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation
Michelle Mason, Association Forum
Kevin Keane, American Beverage Association

Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers
Barbara Byrd Keenan, Endocrine Society
Mike Graham, American Dental Association

Dawn Sweeney, National Restaurant Association
Abe Eshkenazi, Association for Supply Chain Management
Jim Clarke, ASAE

Susan Neely, American Beverage Association
Steve Lieber, Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
Jerry Giovaniello, National Association of Realtors

Steve Anderson, National Association of Chain Drug Stores
Chris McEntee, American Geophysical Union
Aric Newhouse, National Association of Manufacturers

Tom Kuhn, Edison Electric Institute
Arlene Pietranton, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Jade West, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
John Graham, ASAE
Bruce Josten, U.S. Chamber of Commerce