Phase 2 Executive Summary

Leadership is the thread that ties together the digitalNow model Value/Strategy/Structure. In observing a growing pattern from executive search criteria for the new association CEO, the “Super CEO” is the new benchmark. Feedback from aspiring future leaders tells us that work life balance is a must consideration in career decisions. And emerging CEOs and newly minted CEOs point to the importance of multiple mentors and an inner circle as key to success. Putting these conversations together, Pamela Kaul, Joel Albizo, and Don Dea joined forces to address these 3 questions:

  • What core competencies are indispensable to the association CEO of the future?

  • What do volunteer leaders view as key issues, challenges, and competencies that will inform their search/hiring considerations?

  • How do emerging leaders view the leadership role, and what can be done to support their development?

Following research with experts in executive leadership; and interviews, surveys, focus groups with association CEOs, emerging leaders, and volunteer leaders, the research survey was conducted with all of the key stakeholder groups that are involved in the association leadership supply food chain.

Advisory Team

  • Scott Wiley, CAE; President & CEO, The Ohio Society of CPAs

  • Arlene Pietranton, Ph.D., CAE; Chief Executive Officer, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

  • Paul Pomerantz, CAE; CEO, American Society of Anesthesiologists

Volunteer Leaders

  • Mary Lynn Fayoumi, CAE, GPHR; Chair, Board of Directors, Association Forum of Chicagoland

  • Otha Thornton; President, National Parent Teacher Association

  • Carol Finn; Past President, Board of Directors, American Geophysical Union

  • Scott McLean; Past Chair, Board of Directors, Health Information Management Systems Society

  • Elizabeth Pullen; Past Chair, Board of Directors, American Industrial Hygiene Association


  • Mark Dorsey, CAE, FASAE; Executive Director & CEO, CSI

  • Bergitta Cotroneo, FACMPE; Deputy Chief Executive Officer & EVP; Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine

  • John Bournas; President & CEO, International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering

Emerging Leaders

  • Mila Thomas Fuller, Ed.D., CAE; Deputy Executive Director, National Council of Teachers of English

  • Rita Fujisawa; Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, California Association of Health Facilities

  • Karen Gonzales, CMP; Executive Vice President, Sales & Business Development, Destination Marketing Association International

Our next steps are outlined in the Phase 2 Executive Summary. We appreciate your support and participation in helping advance the next generation of association nonprofit leadership and governance.


Pamela Kaul, President & Founder, Association Strategies, Inc
Joel Albizo, FASAE, CAE, Executive Director, Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards
Don Dea, Co-founder, Fusion Productions/digitalNow

Download these documents from al2020


Leadership 2020 CEO Core Competencies Survey

Thank you for your interest in the Leadership 2020 CEO Core Competencies Survey. The preliminary findings were shared with digitalNow CEO Roundtable and presented at the closing General Session on May 21, 2014 at digitalNow in Nashville. The session featured Pam Kaul, President, Association Strategies; Mark Dorsey, CAE, Executive Director and CEO, American Snowsports Education Association; Steve Miranda, Managing Director,Center for Advanced HR Studies (CAHRS), Cornell University ILR School and; Don Dea, Co-founder of Fusion Productions, co-sponsor of the study.