The ALA was initiated by ESSAE in 2004 to further the professional education of current and emerging association executives. The Academy is unlike any other professional development program offered in New York State. The courses are specifically targeted to address the unique business challenges faced by association executives. 

Between 2005 and 2015, ESSAE graduated 150 students from its Academy. These graduates have helped their associations meet society's changing and growing needs by bringing the highest level of professionalism to their association work. They have proven that education specifically designed for association professionals is vital to succession planning, helping to ensure that new executives are prepared, innovative and forward thinking as they seek opportunities to better serve their constituents. 

The Association Leadership Academy offers a unique learning experience over a series of monthly educational forums led by accomplished association and corporate leaders. Participants will emerge with knowledge and critical decision-making ability on timely and significant topics relevant to association management.

The Association Leadership Academy is open to all ESSAE members and non-members. . The program typically includes eight courses.

We invite association executives, senior association staff, support staff with management potential or interest in studying association management, and current and aspiring Certified Association Executives (CAEs) to enroll in the program.

The majority of the courses will be held at the New York State School Boards Association training center in Latham, New York. From time to time, education sessions may be offered offsite. Participants will be notified well in advance of venue changes.


Topics may inclide:

  • Effective Association Management Practices
  • Creating Community Through Membership
  • Communications and Marketing
  • Advocacy, Politics and Grassroots Campaigns
  • Human Resources Management
  • Strategic Planning and Benchmarking
  • Development of a Personal Leadership Strategy
  • and more!

The ALA Committee is currently hard at work to confirm industry leaders to share their knowledge during these focused educational sessions. ESSAE encourages you to join the ranks of ALA graduates and chart your course for your future! To learn more, please contact Vanessa at [email protected].

ALA Committee

Chair: Rita Lashway, CAE
Co-Chair: Barbara Bradley, CAE, Deputy Director-Online Communications & Project Planning, NYS School Boards Association
Vanessa LaClair, CMP, Executive Director, Empire State Society of Association Executives

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