Emerging Leaders Program


Emerging Leaders Program

Registration for the 2022 Emerging Leaders Program is now open!  The program will launch January 28!

Register Now

The Emerging Leaders Program provides an unique opportunity for association professionals under the age of 35.  This program highlights influential and powerful techniques that teach young professionals how to take the next steps to success using conventional and non-conventional methods while creating an exclusive cohort where young professionals learn together over the course of six months.

Kicking off in January 2022, the Emerging Leaders will get to know each other and be recognized for the upcoming program. During the program, Emerging Leaders will share ideas with each other, read  and present a to an executive panel. In addition, each Emerging Leader will have access to an association executive mentor.  The program will conclude at Forum Forward 2022.  

Emerging Leaders can expect to:
  • Strengthen communication and leadership skills
  • Learn from industry executives and receive one-on-one mentoring
  • Develop professional relationships with peer leaders
  • Attend two Association Forum Virtual Events: Forum Forward and Holiday Showcase
*Please note that this year, if needed, we will substitute face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings for your health and safety. If we should meet physically, Association Forum is committed to adhering to the appropriate CDC and State of Illinois Guidelines for in-person gatherings.

Questions? Please contact Membership@associationforum.org

Sponsored by: 

Session Descriptions



Candace Washington

The Emerging Leaders Program kicks off with an opening orientation with Candace Washington, the Chief Executive Officer at Pivotal Impact. She will debut our new capstone project which will assist participants to identify and authentically navigate in their strengths. 

A Day in the Life of a CEO

Steve Smith, MS, CAE, FAAMSE
CEO, Association Management Center

Emerging Leaders will have the extraordinary opportunity to learn from the Chief Executive Officer of one of the most successful Association Management Companies in the country. 

Managing Change and Conflict

Donna Brighton
Chief Ideas Officer
Brighton Leadership Group

Led by Donna Brighton, a world class expert in leadership, culture and change, this session will focus on managing conflict and becoming an influencer to bring about necessary change within your association.

Executive Presence and Personal Branding


Gregory J Fine, FASAE, CAE


Cynthia Mills, FASAE, CAE, CMC, CPC, CCRC
Founder, President & CEO
The Leaders’ Haven

Welcoming Environment

Debbie Trueblood, MSW, IOM, CAE
Senior Consultant, Association Management Center

Emerging Leaders will talk about where implicit bias comes from and why it happens. We will cover related terminology and address the implications of bias in the workplace. 

Capstone Presentation

Students will be given a 6-8-minute time slot to present to an executive panel on their Capstone Project. Participants will be provided guided questions, activities, and resources that step them through the capstone development process.


2020 Emerging Leaders

Thank you and congratulations to the 2020 Class of Emerging Leaders!

Alyson Whittlesey - American Association of Endodontists
Samantha Luebbering - American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Evan Summers - American College of Prosthodontists
Joseph DeAngelis - American Planning Association
Mr. Andy Krakos - American Planning Association
Kerry Lennon - Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
Eric Fall - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Ms. Kara Ferguson, CMP,MSHTM - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Kyle  Kane - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Dana Karstensen, IOM,MBA - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Krzysztof Litewka - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Jordan McGahan - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Alexis Smith - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Mr. Michael Thill - American Society of Anesthesiologists
Virgina Graves - Association Analytics, Inc.
Emily Harris, MBA - Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals
Abby MacCormack - CCIM Institute
McAllister Cox - Chicago Association of REALTORS
Nancy Elizondo - Chicago Association of REALTORS
Cory Hall - Chicago Association of REALTORS
Ms. Jakeeva Lee, AHWD,CIPS - Chicago Association of REALTORS
Brianna Bingham - Cremation Association of North America
Alicia Belcaster, MS - Emergency Nurses Association 
Sarah McNulty - Emergency Nurses Association 
Mr. Drew Whalen - Executive Director, Inc.
Claire Brown - National Association of Personal Financial Advisors
Lindsey Powell - Society of Gynecologic Oncology