Honors Gala

We can wait to see you August 5, 2021 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. More information coming soon on table and ticket purchases. 

About Honors Gala

Honors Gala is a celebratory tradition for Chicagoland associations and the premier fundraising event for the Association Forum Foundation.

2021 Honorees

On behalf of Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, the Awards & Scholarship Committee, and the entire Association Forum team, we are proud to  recognize these honorees in 2021.

Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Staff Executive Achievement

The highest honor the Association Forum bestows on an association professional, the Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Staff Executive Achievement, is presented to the chief staff executive (e.g. CEO, executive director, or equivalent level) for outstanding service and accomplishments in association/nonprofit management. The award is named after Samuel B. Shapiro, CAE, as past chairman of the Association Forum and the American Society of Association Executives. Recipients of this award have made outstanding accomplishments in their professional and personal lives.

The 2021 honoree is:

Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, DMD
Executive Director
American Dental Association

Samuel B. Shapiro Award partner:

John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award
The John C. Thiel Distinguished Service Award is presented for outstanding service to the Association Forum by an individual association or supplier partner member. This award has been presented for exceptional, long-term, volunteer service to the Association Forum, primarily through committee service or similar contributions. “Unsung hero” or “above and beyond the call of duty” are two ways to describe past recipients. This award is named in memory of the late John C. Thiel, CAE, the Association Forum’s chairman-elect in 1990-91. In 2010, the Thiel Award was expanded to include both association professionals and supplier partners.

The 2021 honorees are:

Jay Carino, MBA, CAE
Vice President of Member Services
Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals
Association Professional


Francine P. Pepitone, CMM
Vice President of Business Development
InnerWorkings, Inc.
Supplier Partner

Association Professional Achievement Award
The Association Professional Achievement Award is presented to an association professional member (not a Chief Executive Officer) for exemplary service and outstanding accomplishments in association management. This award reflects a high level of commitment to professional growth and personal pride in the association management industry.

The 2021 honoree is:

Cie B. Armstead, DBA
Director of Diversity & Inclusion
American College of Healthcare Executives

Association Professional Award partner:
Inspiring Leader Award
The Inspiring Leader Award is presented to an individual who has established a culture leading to employee satisfaction, motivation, engagement and achievement.

The 2021 honoree is:

Rob J. Paterkiewicz, CAE, MBA, IOM
Executive Director and CEO
Selected Independent Funeral Homes

Welcoming Environment® Organizational Award

The Welcoming Environment® Organizational Award is awarded to an association that has demonstrated exemplary outcomes in providing an inclusive and welcoming environment and culture.

The 2021 honoree is:

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

We look forward to recognizing more exceptional members of the association community in 2022! Stay engaged for future updates!

For the full list of the 2020 partners click here