• A celebration of social innovation, emerging trends, and thought leadership in the association sector.

    CSAE’s Social Innovation Leader Award recognizes a member who is focused on developing innovative and creative strategies and initiatives to leverage CSAE’s community and the association sector. The recipient is a thought-leader dedicated to exploring new ideas and promoting sustainable, inclusive, and collaborative practices.

    Find CSAE Members in the member directory.


    • All members, in good standing, are eligible for this award.
    • Preference is given to CAEs.
    • The nominator must be a member.


    • 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 a set of established criteria using this evaluation rubric.

    • Achievements: The nominee has demonstrated a focus on key project management targets and goals while taking ownership for deliverables that have succeeded in notable achievements and emerging trends in the association sector. 
    • Creativity and Innovation: The nominee consistently challenges assumptions, looks at things from a different angle and considers options that were previously not presented.  
    • Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: The nominee has demonstrated a sustained commitment to promoting equity, diversity and inclusion in their organization and the association community. 
    • Leadership: The nominee is a thought-leader dedicated to exploring new ideas and consistently applies new learning to advance the association sector.

    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.

    Social Innovation Leader 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

    2024 – Beth McMahon
    2023 – Aviva Rotenberg

    Learn More

    For awards inquiries, connect with Olivia Wild, specialist, engagement at olivia@csae.com.

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