• CSAE’s Aspiring Leader Bursary assists emerging professionals wishing to pursue careers in the association sector.

    The Aspiring Leader Bursary is presented in honour of Donna Mary Shaw. Donna Mary Shaw was among the first female Board Chairs in CSAE. She was an extraordinary leader and mentor and continues to be recognized in society, within CSAE, and her organizations.


    CSAE members may nominate any promising emerging association leader from within their professional network. As the nominator, you commit to mentoring the aspiring leader for a period of one year while CSAE will support the bursary recipient with professional development and networking opportunities.

    The nominator:

    • Must be a current CSAE member.
    • Complete no more than one nomination per year.
    • Commit to providing the bursary recipient with mentorship throughout the year.

    The nominee:

    • Is 35 years of age or under.


    • Is employed in a full-time capacity within the association sector and have worked in the association sector for no longer than 5 years.


    • Is enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or post-graduate student from a Canadian university or college program.

    Selection Criteria

    Each application is reviewed by volunteers in accordance with the judging guidelines. Volunteers review each application independently and then meet as a team to review, discuss and come to an agreement on the final recipients. All applications will be reviewed based on the following selection criteria using this evaluation rubric.

    • Leadership: The nominee shows qualities or is striving to develop qualities that exemplify leadership and motivation in the association community.
    • Engagement/enthusiasm: The nominee has been or would like to be engaged in the CSAE community and association sector.
    • Achievement: Any notable achievements through the nominee’s involvement in the association community and/or their academic accomplishments.
    • Performance: The nominee consistently exceeds all selection criteria.

    Application Requirements

    • A current CV for the nominee, a link to their LinkedIn profile, or proof of enrollment in a full-time undergraduate or post-graduate Canadian university or college program.
    • letter of recommendation describing why the nominee is deserving of this bursary.
    • mentoring plan outlining the steps planned to provide mentoring for the recipient during the course of the year.


    Up to six nominees may receive this bursary in any given year:

    • Two from British Columbia, Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and/or Manitoba
    • Two from Ontario
    • Two from Québec and/or Atlantic Canada

    The prize distribution is determined by Statistics Canada’s latest estimated population size.

    Aspiring Leader Bursary recipients receive any two of the following:

    • One CSAE Membership
    • One registration for a CAE® Course
    • One registration for a CSAE event
    • One registration to CSAE’s annual conference

    Bursary entitlements can be claimed up to 12 months following the recipient being awarded the bursary.

    CAE® Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

    Credit is granted to the nominator for a complete bursary application. Bursary applications, based on 0.5 hour per complete nomination (maximum 1 hour per two-year reporting period).

    Become a Judge

    The leadership awards and recognition committee is a working group focused on the development and advancement of CSAE’s leadership awards, bursaries, and recognition initiatives.

    This volunteer opportunity is available to CSAE members. Applications open during the fall with annual appointment. Click here to learn more about the volunteer community and opportunities to get involved.

    Learn More

    For bursary inquiries, connect with Casey Pope, CAE, volunteer relations specialist at casey@csae.com.

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