The Empire State Society of Association Executives’ Association Leadership Academy Master’s Level offers a unique, executive-level learning experience over a series of five monthly educational sessions led by accomplished association and corporate leaders. Each three-hour session will include a lecture and interactive discussion and/or exercises to promote strategic thinking, engagement and peer collaboration. Participants will emerge with enhanced knowledge and critical decision-making ability on timely and significant topics relevant to association management.



ALA Master's Level has been designed specifically for executive and senior-level professionals, including ALA Alumni, from all association practice areas, as well as industry partners.

Take advantage of education specifically designed for executive and senior-level association professionals! It is vital to keeping abreast of the ever-increasing and changing opportunities and challenges ahead.  Executives cannot rest on their laurels and must constantly demonstrate leadership to staff, boards and members. The ALA Master’s Level will help participants hone skills, anticipate problems, seek resolution and plan for the future. It also will support new executives, helping to ensure that they are prepared, innovative, and forward thinking as they seek opportunities to better serve their constituents.

Enrollment in the Association Leadership Academy Master’s Level is a commitment to learning and professional development in the association management field. To be recognized as an ALA Master’s Level graduate, you must attend all five sessions. Participants who are unable to fulfill the full attendance requirement in one year may apply for consideration to make up missed sessions the following enrollment year. Call ESSAE (518) 463-1755 for details.

All Master’s Level graduates will be recognized for their achievement and commitment to excellence at ESSAE’s annual conference where they will be awarded a certificate and graduation pin, then listed on the ESSAE Academy website by graduating class. Each class will be asked to evaluate the program and be part of shaping the program’s future.

Three CAE credits will be awarded for each session. CAE candidates, and/or current CAEs, who have attended the full program will obtain 15 credits toward their CAE or CAE recertification. ESSAE is a CAE approved provider, formally registered with the CAE program and committed to providing education that meets the CAE Commission's standards for helping individuals earn or maintain the Certified Association Executive credential. CAE Approved Providers have received guidance on such standards and pledged to properly represent course eligibility for CAE credit. Details on how to track your points/clock hours, visit:


Co-Chair: Rita Lashway, MBA, CAE (retired)
Co-Chair: Barbara Bradley, CAE, Deputy Director, New York State School Boards Association
Vanessa LaClair, CMP, Executive Director, Empire State Society of Association Executives
Jeffrey Keller, CAE, Executive Director, NYS Rural Housing Coalition
Jeanine Santelli, PhD, RN, AGPCNP-BC, FAAN, Executive Director, ANA-NY

Board Liaisons: Georgi Ann Bailey, CAE, Executive Director, AIANYS and George Swain, Associate Director for Evaluation and Accreditation, NYS Association of Independent Schools

Vanessa LaClair, CAE, CMP, Executive Director
Empire State Society of Association Executives, Inc.
1A Pine West Plaza | Albany, NY 12205 | (518) 463-1755 | @EmpireStateSAE | #ESSAEALA