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Event Info

What are the dates and times of the event?

An invitation-only VIP reception will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. The Honors Gala officially begins with a reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the main awards program beginning at 6:30. Dancing and networking conclude the evening, which will end at 10:00 p.m.

Where is the event located?

Morgan Manufacturing 401 N. Morgan Street, Chicago, IL 60642. Housed in a renovated historic building in the Fulton Market District, the venue excites attendees with soaring ceilings, unique spaces, and beautiful exposed glass, steel, and concrete.

How should I get there?

It is recommended to take a cab or rideshare service to the venue. If driving, there is no onsite parking at the venue. We recommend using parking lots and garages in the vicinity, including:

  • 1029 W. Carroll Ave.
  • 333 N. Green St.
Who is being honored?

Association Forum’s Honors Gala provides accolades and recognition to outstanding association professionals and supporting partner members of Association Forum for their outstanding achievements in advancing the association management profession. The award categories include:

  • Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Staff Executive Achievement
  • John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award
  • Inspiring Leader Award
  • Association Professional Achievement Award
  • Woman of Influence Award
  • Welcoming Environment Organizational Award


What does this fundraising event support?

The Honors Gala is the premier fundraising event of the Association Forum Foundation, which was founded in 1987 as a separate 501(c)(3) organization with the purpose of enhancing Association Forum's programs and services through new education, research, and scholarship initiatives.

What is the recommended attire?

This event will celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of the most notable leaders in our industry. The event is formal (suits, dresses, etc.) but not black tie. We encourage attendees to consider dressy attire that is also paired with stylish and comfortable footwear…helping ensure everyone can participate in the dancing and celebration following dinner. (Note that while sneakers are encouraged, they are not required; any footwear may be worn.)

Will coat check be available?

Yes. Attendees will have access to a complimentary coat check.

Who should attend the Honors Gala?

The entire association community is invited to participate in the Honors Gala. This event attracts association professionals who support and promote the association management profession and those who celebrate the achievements of the Honorees and others. We invite staff at all levels and from all facets of the industry to participate and honor these industry icons...and have a fantastic time networking with their peers (and making new friends!) at this incredible annual event.

Who should I contact about dietary restrictions or other special accommodations?

Association Forum is committed to a Welcoming Environment® and ensuring that all attendees are supported in having a positive experience. Please contact us at 312-924-7000 or education@associationforum.org so we can make any arrangements necessary.

Registration & Cancellation 

How do I buy tickets?

Click on the “Buy Tickets” item under the "Tickets" heading on the top right of the webpage. Next, please enter your email and click the Search button to begin. You must click on Search so your membership record can be found and obtain the proper ticket prices. If you have a profile account with Association Forum as a member or nonmember, you will need to enter the email address associated with your account to start registration. If an account was not found with your email address, click ‘New Registration’.

What types of tickets can be purchased?

Tickets can be purchased individually or as reserved tables. There are two reserved table options: Table Supporter (half-tables of 5 people each), and Premier Table Supporter (full tables of 10 people each). If purchasing a half table, 5 additional people will be seated at your table. Both Table Supporters and Premier Table Supporters will receive priority table position, reserved seating, and organization recognition before, during, and post-event. Please access our fees page here. New at the 2023 Honors Gala, a limited number of Emerging Leader ticket types are available. See the following questions for additional information about this new ticket type. In addition, organizations may choose to purchase an extra ticket to be donated to individuals who do not have the financial resources to participate. For more information about this opportunity (as a donor or a recipient), please see the question and answer below.

What is the Emerging Leader ticket type?

New for 2023! To make the Honors Gala accessible to all segments of the community, a limited number of tickets are available to Emerging Leaders at a significantly reduced registration fee. Emerging Leaders are those association professionals who hold positions with job titles of Director or below. The goal of this new ticket type is to welcome Association Forum members who wouldn’t typically have the resources to participate in the Honors Gala and we ask for the community’s integrity in ensuring that these tickets are directed to the proper participants. Association Forum reserves the right to deny the Emerging Leader pricing to any attendee, even after purchase, if the purchaser does not meet the intended criteria for this discounted ticket. A limited number of Emerging Leader tickets are available and once they’ve sold out, no additional Emerging Leader tickets will be made available. Please note that the Emerging Leader ticket can only be purchased as an individual ticket. The pricing for reserved tickets (Table Supporter for 5 tickets or Premier Table Supporter for 10 tickets) is fixed regardless of whether those tickets are given to someone who might qualify for an Emerging Leader individual ticket.

Are organizations able to buy a ticket to donate to others? Can I sign up to receive a ticket donated by someone else?

New for 2023! Organizations may choose to buy an extra ticket to be donated to individuals who do not have the financial resources to participate. Organizations that wish to buy and donate a ticket can do so during the normal registration process. Individuals wishing to be considered to receive a donated ticket should add their names to the list here. Adding a name to the list is not a guarantee that a ticket will become available. Association Forum will match the donated ticket with a recipient, and both entities will be notified of the match. Unfortunately, ticket donors are not able to specify to whom their tickets should be donated.

How do I update my contact information and other registration details?

Click on “Ticket Management” item under the "Tickets" heading in the top right of the webpage. To log in, use the email address associated with the registration. You can find your password in your confirmation email. Once inside your registration, edit any details pertaining to your registration and save it.

When is the early bird registration deadline?

The early bird registration rate expires on June 1, 2023. Beginning on June 2, prices increase by approximately 15%.

Can I buy tickets on-site?

Although we strongly encourage advance registration to ensure a seamless event experience, yes, attendees may register onsite on the day of the program.

How will I receive my name badge?

Attendees will receive their name badges upon arrival at the venue. Those who are seated at reserved tables will receive instructions about the location of the reserved table.

Who can I contact about questions or problems regarding my registration?

If you have questions regarding your registration, please contact education@associationforum.org

What is the cancellation and refund policy?

Payment is due in full at the time of registration. Due to the nature of the event and the fundraising objectives of the Association Forum Foundation, ticket purchases are non-refundable. Refunds will not be issued in the event of a no-show.

What is the substitution policy?

Substitution requests can be made through the Ticket Management link on the website through June 16, 2023. After June 16, any substitution requests must be submitted to education@associationforum.org or made on-site.


I have questions regarding Association Forum membership.

In advance of Honors Gala, contact membership@associationforum.org. Onsite you may speak with any Association Forum staff member who would be happy to tell you more about the benefits of membership.

I have a question regarding the event program or the Honors Award recipients.

Contact us at education@associationforum.org.
How do I book a hotel reservation?

Association Forum has negotiated a discounted rate of $239 at the Crowne Plaza West Loop, located approximately 10 blocks from the event venue. To make a reservation, call 800-972-2494 or book online. Reservations must be made by May 26 and may sell out prior to that date.

There are many hotels in downtown Chicago depending on rate and brand preference. other hotels near the event venue include:
To browse other hotel options, visit the Choose Chicago site and select “Book Your Trip” in the top right corner.