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Michelle Mason, FASAE. CAE

President & CEO

Association Forum

Michelle joined Association Forum as President and CEO in September 2014. She provides strategic leadership, fiscal responsibility, and successful delivery of member value.


Association Forum is the “association of associations” in Chicago. Founded in 1916. The association community in Chicagoland represents more than 1,700 associations, which in turn serves nearly 29 million individual members and spends an estimated $10.3 billion annually on meetings alone in the Chicagoland area. Next to Washington, DC, Chicago is the nation’s largest association headquarters city. Additionally, more healthcare associations are headquartered in Chicagoland than anywhere else.


Prior to Association Forum, Michelle served as a managing director at the American Society for Quality (ASQ). In this role, she concentrated on strategy, innovation, business development, membership development and engagement, advocacy, corporate social responsibility, and process improvement.


Prior to ASQ, Michelle served as vice president of strategic and future focused research programs for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in Washington, D.C., where she served as lead for the best selling publication, Seven Measures of Success:  What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t.


Michelle is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Six Sigma Champion and Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA). She is an ASAE Fellow and an Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow. She is a graduate of the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute.  Michelle served as an examiner with the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence. She has a BA, MBA and MS.


Michelle has strong board experience including, American Society of Association Executives Board of Directors, ABSI, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, and Visit Milwaukee.  She was appointed by the Mayor of Milwaukee to serve as vice-chair of the City's Green Team. Michelle is currently a member of the Choose Chicago Board of Directors, Mentor for the Chicago Urban League, and Coach for One Million Degrees.


Michelle is a Chicago Business Journal Women of Influence Honoree 2019, Chicago Defender Women of Excellence Honoree 2019, and the CEO Update Professional Society CEO of the Year 2020.  She also received the 2012 WSAE Association Leadership Award and was recognized by Associations Now as an “A Lister: Someone Who Makes Associations Work.”