• A celebration of dedication and long-time contributions to the association sector.

    CSAE’s Association Excellence in Leadership Award recognizes a member who has volunteered for CSAE in a prolonged, effective, and significant manner. The recipient of this award is an accomplished leader who has demonstrated their commitment to the association sector and the CSAE community through the advancement of association excellence.


    The nominator must be a member.

    The nominee:

    • Is a current CSAE member and has maintained a continuous CSAE membership for at least ten years.
    • Is employed as a CEO or Executive Director in an association, within an organization serving the association sector, or a combination of both for at least 10 years.
    • Has volunteered for CSAE for at least ten years (consecutively or non-consecutively).
    • Is a CAE.


    • Self-nominations.
    • Nominations for current members of CSAE’s Board of Directors.
    • Nominations for current members of CSAE’s Awards and Recognition committee.
    • Nominations from current members of CSAE’s Awards and Recognition committee.

    Selection Criteria 

    Each application is reviewed by two to four 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 recipient. All applications will be reviewed based on the following selection criteria using this evaluation rubric.

    • Leadership: The nominee has demonstrated outstanding leadership in their organization and within CSAE’s community by empowering, motivating, and mentoring colleagues and association members.
    • Creativity and Innovation: The nominee has demonstrated their ability to leverage creative and innovative solutions and initiatives to propel the association sector forward.
    • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: The nominee has demonstrated a sustained commitment to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in their organization and the association community.
    • Collaboration and Teamwork: The nominee has demonstrated a sustained commitment to fostering collaboration and teamwork among colleagues and in the association community. 
    • Trust and Integrity: The nominee has demonstrated a sustained commitment to promote trust and integrity among colleagues and in the association community.
    • Engagement: The nominee has demonstrated their dedication and commitment to advancing association excellence through their long-time volunteer engagement and contributions to the sector.
    • Competencies for Association Executives: The nominee has demonstrated leadership performance across the competencies for association executives.
    • Performance: The nominee consistently exceeds all selection criteria.

    Celebration and Entitlements

    The leadership awards are celebrated virtually during National Volunteer Week in April.

    One nominee may receive this award in any given year.

    Association Excellence in Leadership Award recipients will receive:

    • An electronic certificate.
    • A personalized image that can be shared on social media.
    • A digital badge.
    • Recognition across communications and within CSAE’s community.

    CAE® Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

    Credit is granted to the nominator for a complete award’s application. Leadership Awards, based on 0.5 hour per complete award nomination (maximum 2 hours 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.

    Past Recipients

    2023 – Barbette Igonia, CAE

    Learn More

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

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