2021 Trendy Awards Contest

2020 Executive of the Year

2020 Partner of the Year

2020 Young and Aspiring Professionals

2020 Leading Association Lobbyists


Matthew R. Shay, President & CEO

National Retail Federation

As president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, Matthew Shay serves as chief advocate and spokesman for the nation’s largest private-sector industry employer, responsible for supporting one in four U.S. jobs — 42 million working Americans — and generating $2.6 trillion in annual GDP. Since his arrival in 2010, Shay has transformed NRF into Washington’s most powerful voice supporting the retail industry. Under his tenure membership has grown by more than 150 percent, including more than 18,000 companies; revenue has more than doubled; and the organization’s influence has grown significantly in Washington, across the United States and globally.

Shay has led the organization to new levels of effectiveness on policy issues, including tariffs and sales tax fairness. Shay has also been at the forefront of shifting and framing the narrative about the current state of retail, particularly its digital evolution and vibrant, multichannel future.


Gayathri Kher, President and Co-Founder

Gayathri is Co-Founder and President of fusionSpan. She has extensive experience evaluating business processes and technology infrastructures and assisting associations in implementing solutions that are scalable based on future needs. Prior to co-founding fusionSpan, Gayathri spent over 10 years working in the association industry. Gayathri has a Master of Science Degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Gayathri is an active participant in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and currently serves as the Chair of the ASAE Technology Council.


The six recipients of the 2019 Leading Association Lobbyists award also were honored at the 2019 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.


The six recipients of the 2019 Young & Aspiring Association Professionals award also were honored at the 2019 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 2019 class.


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 2018 All Media Contest attracted more than 300 entries from 150 organizations. Judges selected 66 gold, silver and bronze winners in 23 categories. All winners were honored at the 2019 Salute. The Pinnacle award also was announced at the Salute, and the winner was National Funerals Directors, the gold winner in the Best Video category. See all of the winning entries at