Marla Weston, CEO, American Nurses Association
Hometown: Hermitage, PA
Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere there is hiking, biking, swimming and sailing
Power Lunch Spot: Power Breakfast (!) at The Blue Duck
In a sentence or two, what was your career path to becoming a CEO? As a registered nurse, my career path was through hospital executive leadership roles to my own consulting business. I then began to give back to my profession through association executive leadership.
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping association CEOs up at night? How to continue to innovate and remain contemporary in a rapidly changing, digitally connected world that is transforming everything.
Career advice you’d give to your 20 year old self? Be even more bold! It will be fun!
Rick Helfenbein, CEO, American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA)
Hometown: Harrison, New York
Favorite Vacation Spot: Positano, Italy
Power Lunch Spot: Capital Grille
In a sentence or two, what was your career path to becoming a CEO? Started as a trainee, wanted to learn everything I could. Kept getting promoted and kept working harder. Always wanted to be the first one in the office and the last one out. Graduating from Wharton was a huge help!
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping association CEOs up at night? Disruption in the way people transact business, coupled with the current disruption in Washington, has association members seeking more answers to ever changing questions.
Career advice you’d give to your 20 year old self? Work hard every single day. Pay attention to the bigger picture, so that you don’t end up micro-managing your area of expertise.
Robert Cresanti, CEO, International Franchise Association
Hometown: Wiesbaden, W. Germany
Favorite Vacation Spot: Bavaria
Power Lunch Spot: Equinox
In a sentence or two, what was your career path to becoming a CEO? My first job after college was at National Association of Realtors managing their systems development that ultimately led to the modern-day MLS, multiple listing service. After my law degree and more than a decade on Capitol Hill, I began working for a series of high tech trade associations. My trade association work was interrupted by a two-year stint working for President George W. Bush and in two private sector businesses before returning to the trade association world.
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping Association CEOs up at night?Extremely challenging regulatory environments on the state, local and federal levels create pressure on business models that increase likelihood of business failure and economic disruption. Technology on every level, from AI to robotics, is changing the world around us at an ever-greater rate. No business or job will stay unaffected by this trend.
Career advice you¹d give to your 20-year-old self? Stay the course and try harder for a work life balance!
Michael Dykes, D.V.M., CEO, International Dairy Foods Association
Hometown: Glensfork, KY
Favorite Vacation Spot: Italy
Power Lunch Spot: BLT
In a sentence or two, what was your career path to becoming a CEO? I have been passionate about food and agriculture all of my life. Growing up on a small family dairy and tobacco farm, I learned the value of hard work, responsibility and team work. I also learned that education was my road to a different life with many more options.
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping association CEOs up at night? We will experience tighter member company budgets and consolidation in the Trade association industry.
Career advice you’d give to your 20 year old self? Remain focused on delivering results and commitment to teamwork.
John Bode, CEO, Corn Refiners Association
Hometown: Easton, MD
Favorite Vacation Spot: Anywhere on a sailboat.
Power Lunch Spot: Taberna del Alabardero
In a sentence or two, what was your career path to becoming a CEO? I was helped greatly by mentors during my government service, particularly as an Assistant Secretary at USDA. Then, I represented food and agriculture trade associations and companies regarding policy and regulatory matters during 24 years of practicing law.
As we head into 2018, what should be keeping association CEOs up at night?Aligning resources and maintaining a highly productive culture.
Career advice you¹d give to your 20 year old self? Work hard, play hard.