2020 Honorees

On behalf of Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, the Awards & Scholarship Committee, and the entire Association Forum team, we are pleased to announce our 2020 honorees!

Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Staff Executive Achievement

The highest honor the Association Forum bestows on an association professional, the Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Staff Executive Achievement, is presented to the chief staff executive (e.g. CEO, executive director, or equivalent level) for outstanding service and accomplishments in association/nonprofit management. The award is named after Samuel B. Shapiro, CAE, as past chairman of the Association Forum and the American Society of Association Executives. Recipients of this award have made outstanding accomplishments in their professional and personal lives.

The 2020 honoree is:

Steve Smith, MS, CAE, FAAMSE
Association Management Center

Samuel B. Shapiro Award partner:


John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award
The John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award is presented for outstanding service to the Association Forum by an individual association or supplier partner member. This award has been presented for exceptional, long-term, volunteer service to the Association Forum, primarily through committee service or similar contributions. “Unsung hero” or “above and beyond the call of duty” are two ways to describe past recipients. This award is named in memory of the late John C. Thiel, CAE, the Association Forum’s chairman-elect in 1990-91. In 2010, the Thiel Award was expanded to include both association professionals and supplier partners.

The 2020 honoree is:

Daniel Borschke, MA, FASAE, CAE
Executive Vice President
National Association of Concessionaires

John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award partner:


Association Professional Achievement Award
The Association Professional Achievement Award is presented to an association professional member (not a Chief Executive Officer) for exemplary service and outstanding accomplishments in association management. This award reflects a high level of commitment to professional growth and personal pride in the association management industry.

The 2020 honoree is:

Lindsey Nelson, CAE
VP of Operations
United Benefit Advisors (UBA)


Inspiring Leader Award
The Inspiring Leader Award is presented to an individual who has established a culture leading to employee satisfaction, motivation, engagement and achievement.

The 2020 honoree is:

Kari Natale, CAE
Senior Director, Planning & Governance
Illinois CPA Society

Senior Director
CPA Endowment Fund of Illinois


Welcoming Environment® Organizational Award
The Welcoming Environment® Organizational Award is awarded to an association that has demonstrated exemplary outcomes in providing an inclusive and welcoming environment and culture.

The 2020 honoree is:

Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)

Welcoming Environment® Organizational Award partner:


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