Annual Membership Meeting & Awards Celebration

For nearly two years, we have been pressed to pivot and innovate, in more ways than we may have imagined, in order to adapt and meet the challenges the pandemic has presented for our industry. While we could not have predicted the impact that COVID has had on our personal and professional lives, we have worked harder and continue to meet the crisis head-on, bringing more value to the table to meet our member's needs. 

Now is the time to share YOUR success stories!

The ESSAE Annual Awards program provides our members with the opportunity to highlight and celebrate our community and the invaluable work and contributions of associations and industry partners around the state.

The awards celebration honors the outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals in the areas of leadership and professionalism, enriching lives, creating a competitive workforce, preparing associations for the future, and driving innovation.

There are six (6) individual awards: The George Burton Memorial Award, Distinguished Association Member of the Year, Associate Member of the Year, Associate Organization of the Year, Rising Star, and Volunteer of the Year. In addition, there are seven (7) Association Excellence Award categories, including: Professional Development & Education, Government Relations, Marketing & PR, Meetings & Expositions, Member Engagement, Publications, and Industry Innovation.

The Annual Awards program helps to:

  • Promote awareness of the innovative, results-oriented programs, services, and initiatives undertaken by your association.
  • Attain validation of your activities that you can share with your association’s membership, volunteer leaders, and other stakeholders.
  • Justify continued investment in programs and activities that are related to the core mission or purpose of your association.
  • Showcase for others how your association helps advance the industry or profession you represent.

The Annual Awards Celebration offers you the chance to showcase the work that you, your colleagues, and your association have accomplished in the past year to take your organization’s mission and vision farther, exceed expectations, and make an impact in the community you serve.

ESSAE is now accepting entries for all award categories. Take a look at the 2021 Guidelines and nominate yourself or someone you know today. The winners will be formally recognized at the Annual Awards Banquet in February 2022. Nominations should be submitted online. A separate submission is required for each nominee. 

Nominations will be accepted on a continuing basis but should be received no later than Friday, December 17, 2021. Completed forms will be shared with and reviewed by the Awards Committee. 

While we may continue to be challenged, now is the time to celebrate your successes so that others can be inspired and learn new ways to provide value to their own membership base. 

Let us celebrate YOUR achievements!

We're working on the details for our in-person awards celebration coming in February 2022! 

In the meantime, take a walk down memory lane and watch our 2021 event which took place on Facebook and YouTube Live!


Congratulations to our 2020 Individual Award Winners 


THOMAS J. COTE, MBA, CAE, Founder & President
NextGen Management Consulting, LLC
This award recognizes the initiative and innovation by an ESSAE member in promoting the interests and serving the needs of ESSAE, demonstrated through the development of new projects, ideas or procedures, as well as improvement of current programs. George Burton Award recipients serve ESSAE, contribute to other voluntary membership organizations, and participate in civic and community affairs. They exemplify the best in association management by continually bringing credit to the association management community.


JAY SIMSON, CAE, President & CEO
American Council of Engineering Companies of NY
This award recognizes an association professional, and active ESSAE member, who has made exceptional contributions to their association, provided all-around leadership both within his or her association and to the field at large, and has demonstrated abilities for continued high levels of achievement in the field of association management.


AMANDA GRACE WING, Deputy Executive Director
Association of School Business Officials
This award recognizes an ESSAE member who has demonstrated extraordinary potential for future leadership in association or hospitality management. The Nominee goes beyond the call of duty, encourages participation among fellow members and non-members, and exemplifies qualities of leadership and professionalism within the organization.


ADDY WALDIE, CMP, Director of Development & Marketing
Trinity Alliance of the Capital Region
This award recognizes an ESSAE Member for outstanding volunteer attributes such as being results-driven, having a collaborative mindset, and dedication to the “cause”. This award winner should also show the ability to think creatively, be eager to take initiative, and be humble about their work. They should be a leader that others wish to emulate.

Congratulations to our 2020 Association Excellence Award Winners

Association Excellence Award for Professional Development
NYS Association of Independent Schools

Association Excellence Award for Government Relations
Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS)

Association Excellence Award for Marketing & Public Relations
New York State Association of REALTORS

Association Excellence Award for Meetings & Expos
NYS School Nutrition Association

Association Excellence Award for Member Engagement
The Business Council of New York State, Inc.

Association Excellence Award for Industry Innovation
American Council of Engineering Companies of New York

Association Excellence Award for a Publication or Magazine
New York Library Association

Special Thank You to Our Awards Committee

Join us in celebrating the efforts of our awards committee! 

There are five (5) individual awards: The George Burton, Distinguished Member of the Year, Associate Member of the Year, Rising Star, and Volunteer of the Year. In addition, there are seven (7) Association Excellence Award categories, including: Professional Development & Education, Government Relations, Marketing & PR, Meetings & Expositions, Member Engagement, Publications, and Industry Innovation. This year 22 nominations were received! The awards committee, comprising past award recipients and ESSAE members, review all nominations and make the final determination for award recipients. 

Chair: Kim Hodge, National Sales Manager, The Sagamore Resort

Jennifer Bruce, CMP, Association & Meeting Management Consultant, CCi Consulting
Jim Calvin, President, NY Association of Convenience Stores
Amber Carpenter, Managing Director, NYSAPLS, Inc.
Donna Denley, CAE, Director of Finance, NYS Academy of Family Physicians
Kathy Gormley, CMP, Director of Conference Management, LeadingAge New York
Debby Goedeke, Convention Services Manager | Albany Film Commissioner, Discover Albany
Mary Jo Janis, Vice President/Convention Sales and Services, Discover Saratoga
Shannon Licygiewicz, CEM, Director of Sales, Albany Capital Center
Linda Persico, CMP, Retired
Ashley Ranslow, NY Assistant State Director, NFIB
Patricia Wood, Retired

Check out our Past Award Winners