The Empire State Society of Association Executives Association Leadership Academy Master’s Level offers a unique, executive-level cohort learning experience over a series of five monthly educational sessions led by accomplished association and corporate leaders. Our three-hour sessions will lectures, interactive discussions, and 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 leadership.


I had a great time learning from experienced association professionals while meeting and interacting with association peers who are facing many of the same opportunities and challenges I am right now. It was a uniquely beneficial experience that I am thankful to have been a part of. - Brian Fessler, Director of Governmental Relations, NYS School Boards Association

Participating in the Leadership Academy presented a unique opportunity to meet, engage with and learn from other association professionals. The thought-provoking information provided by the various speakers offered insight into valuable and timely topics. - Kate Kennett, Vice President, NYS Trucking Association

If you've been an association professional for any length of time, put ALA Masters on your list of continuing ed. Hear from subject matter experts on the topics most relevant to association management, participate in a workgroup to design a capstone project, and expand your network. You can never have enough resources. - Heidi Longton, CMM, CMP, DES, Director of Convention & Events, NYS School Boards Association

ALA Leadership Academy includes a small group project that is an excellent way to learn by working with others from the ESSAE community, and it was really great fun getting to know my group. - Tim Atkinson, Executive Director, NYSVMS 

The ALA Masters program addressed those areas of interest in everyone's mind. The presenters were incredible and the takeaways just what I needed to move our organization forward. - Georgi Bailey, Executive Vice President, AIA NYS


All sessions are typically held once a month on a Friday. Additional time is included for networking and idea-sharing amongst participants. Due to the interactive, cohort-based nature of the program, active participation was required and only those able to attend all sessions should register. 


ALA Master's Level has been designed specifically for ALA alumni, executive and senior-level professionals 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 keep 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 and present your project for the final session. 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. Contact ESSAE at [email protected] or (518) 463-1755 for details.


CAE candidates, and/or current CAEs, who attend 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:


We understand you may need financial help when it comes to professional development. ESSAE has established a scholarship program to ensure the continued professional growth of colleagues who represent and are dedicated to our profession. Details can be found online:


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