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2015 Award Winners Announced

Wednesday, December 3, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Wednesday, November 25, 2015


2015 GSAE Award Winners Announced

The Stephen Styron Award is presented annually in honor of one of GSAE’s past presidents. This award is given to the volunteer leaders the current chair feels have done the most outstanding job.


2015 Recipients: Spence Downs, Solutions Advisor, MemberClicks, and Amy Kane, CAE, Director, Awards and Grants, Rheumatology Research Foundation 


Not only have they helped new members become excited about and engaged in GSAE as Co Chairs of the Member Orientation Committee, Spence and Amy have also examined the orientation program structure and made significant suggestions to improve the experience. Their enthusiasm and support of GSAE is contagious and helps us engage new members and guests in an authentic, personal way.


Chair Jim Fowler, CAE noted in his comments that Spence and Amy have set the bar high for future membership engagement programs. Spence and Amy have both served additional roles in GSAE land - as event photographer and as the Emerging Professional Shared Interest Group Co Chair, respectively.

Renamed in 2010, the Skelton-Massey Award recognizes the member who sponsors the most new members, strengthening GSAE in size and effectiveness. We hope the award, named after two legendary recruiters and GSAE past presidents, inspires members to promote GSAE’s value and benefits loudly and often.


2015 Recipient: Natalie Nardone, CMP, CAE, President, Nardone Consulting Group


Natalie is being honored for her promotion of GSAE membership and involvement to her professional staff and others in our community. Natalie is currently serving on the GSAE Board of Directors, and supports several of her staff members who are equally active in GSAE – as facilitators, committee and SIG chairs, and as ad hoc volunteers. Natalie has not only sent a Nardone staffer to each Leadership Academy class, she also has hosted the CAE Study Group at her office for several years running.


For helping GSAE grow in strength and size, please join us in thanking Natalie Nardone, CMP, CAE.

The Chair’s Award is presented to the member that the chair feels has made a significant contribution to the Society, advancing the aims, ideals and standards of GSAE and association management.


2015 Recipient: Mary J. Wheatley, IOM, CAE, Executive Director, Rheumatology Research Foundation


Mary is well known in GSAE for her enthusiasm and strategic vision. She was the Sharon Hunt Emerging Leader Award recipient in 2010, the year after she graduated from the inaugural GSAE Leadership Academy.  Mary is a past member of the GSAE Board of Directors and served as the lead volunteer organizer of last July’s Millennial Infusion event. This year, she is Chair of the Professional Development Committee.


Mary is being recognized for her contributions to help GSAE create inspiring and engaging experiences for all our stakeholders.  Chair Jim Fowler, CAE understandably used adjectives like energetic and amazing when he described why he found Mary such a worthy recipient this year.

The Sharon Hunt Emerging Leader Award is presented to an association executive with ten years or less of experience in associations who demonstrates leadership through service to GSAE, their own association and to their community. The award was named in 2014 to honor past president Sharon Hunt, CAE, who mentored a generation of association leaders during her career.


2015 Recipient: Jacob Wilder, Director of Communications and Technology, Building Owners and Managers Association of Georgia


Jacob joined GSAE and quickly became engaged and influential in our Emerging Professionals community. From taping GSAE promos and participating in the Millennial Infusion event to co-chairing the EP Shared Interest Group this year, Jacob’s contributions to GSAE have been numerous in quite a short time! He serves on the membership renewal campaign, on our Web Warriors Committee (assigned to Facebook), presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting, and has been a workshop panelist. A lifelong learner, he earned his Membership Management Certificate and Association Management Week certificate and completed the Florida Society of Association Executive’s (FSAE) Qualified Association Specialist (QAS) certificate program.


Jacob is a member of Cartersville First Baptist where he serves on the Church Men’s Ministry and the Audio-Visual Team. He is active in the church’s community missions, assisting in home repair, cleaning and moving. Since joining BOMA Georgia in 2010, Jacob has participated in the association’s Community Service Construction Project. He also has volunteered his time with BOMA Georgia’s chosen charity, Hillside, and participated in their annual Fleming’s Fundraiser and Holiday Party.


Jacob is being recognized for the depth and breadth of his contributions to GSAE, to BOMA Georgia, and to his community.

The Peggy Seigler Corporate Member of the Year is presented to the corporate supplier member who has demonstrated outstanding and continuous service to the association community in Georgia. Named in 2015, the award honors the many contributions of Peggy Seigler, MPA, CDME, a beloved and valued member of the community.


2015 Recipient: Cheryl DB Talley, Sales Manager, Hyatt Regency Savannah


Cheryl has been with the Hyatt Regency group her entire career. She is well-known as an expert at helping client associations solve problems, create fantastic experiences, and fill downtown Savannah with happy meeting attendees. A true highlight of the 2005 GSAE Annual Meeting in Savannah was the jaw-dropping reception Cheryl helped organize to show off their renovations and the increased functionality of their space.


Said one of the members who nominated her “…… Cheryl is always ready with a smile and a hug, and she has been a great resource when I need help understanding the hotel sales world. To me, a person like Cheryl is what associations are all about - she is warm, friendly, knowledgeable, professional, trustworthy and just plain ‘ole fun to be around. People like Cheryl are why members renew their membership – to keep coming back for more.”


It is so fitting to us that Cheryl, who epitomizes the warm and welcoming spirit of GSAE, is the first recipient of the newly named Peggy Seigler Corporate Member of the Year Award.

The Alan R. Johnson Award, established in 1994 and named in memory of a past chair of the GSAE Foundation, is given to an association executive in Georgia who has demonstrated qualities of teamwork, vision and servant leadership'


2015 Recipient: Mike Pennington, CAE, Senior Account Executive, Kellen


Mike has served the GSAE community on the GSAE Board of Directors and is currently Immediate Past Chair of the GSAE Foundation Board of Trustees. He has worked on several committees and is currently active with Professional Development, Web Warriors, Table Hosts and Peer Connections. He has either participated in or facilitated a session in every GSAE Leadership Academy class since its inception. He is a well-regarded facilitator of the summer CAE Study Group sessions. Mike was the 2012 recipient of the GSAE Chair’s Award for his help to develop GSAE’s tiered dues structure,  which has resulted in GSAE expanding our reach throughout the association community.


A leader in his local community as well, Mike is on several committees and groups at his church: Executive Committee, Administrative Council, Men’s Ministry, Missions Committee, Finance Committee, and he chairs the Stewardship Committee and serves as the Usher Captain. He is involved with youth sports, coaching and assisting with soccer, football and baseball teams.


Through his service to GSAE, his church and his community, Mike demonstrates all the best characteristics of teamwork, vision and servant leadership.

The Clifford M. Clarke Award is GSAE’s highest recognition, bestowed upon a Georgia association executive who has demonstrated exemplary personal leadership and service. The award honors outstanding accomplishments and service in association management. Established in 1969, the award is named for the late Clifford M. Clarke, President Emeritus of the Arthritis Foundation. Mr. Clarke was the first Georgian to serve as Chief Elected Officer of ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership. Mr. Clarke served two terms as president of GSAE and was widely recognized as one of the “deans” of association management.


2015 Recipient: Lori K Spear, CAE, Executive Vice President, SAIS


Wrote one of the members who nominated Lori for this year’s award: “I don’t know of a soul (other than current staff) who has consistently embodied the spirit of servant leadership as relates to GSAE than Lori K. Spear, CAE. She has been recognized in the past with the Sharon Hunt Emerging Leader and Alan R Johnson Awards, served on the Board of Directors and then as president of the association in 2009, served probably every committee that ever existed, and so much more. The icing on the cake for me was the insanely selfless and phenomenal act of donating herself as de facto staff for the 2015 Annual Meeting in Charleston. While she may not know it, she is a mentor to so many in the industry, including me. She leads by example and seems to live with a philosophy of ‘let’s find a way.’”


Lori earned her Certified Association Executive designation in 2006. She is the recipient of several association awards including the Alan R. Johnson Award, The Sharon Hunt Emerging Leader Award, Affiniscape’s Most Valuable Partner Award, and two design awards from ASAE. She was named one of GSAE’s 90 Movers & Shakers in 2007.


Lori’s commitment to her local community is evident, particularly in historic preservation, including roles as a docent, event volunteer, and board member of organizations as varied as the Atlanta Preservation Center, Oakland Cemetery and Rhodes Hall. Her love of music is apparent to all who know her, and she is a frequent volunteer at Red Clay Theatre. She’s also served as a mentor or panelist through several youth organizations including Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Future Business Leaders of America and Year Up Atlanta. Finally, she’s also found time to serve as an event chair for the DeKalb League of Women’s Voters and to participate in a 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk.


Lori’s accomplishments and active community service make her such a worthy recipient of GSAE’s highest honor, named for one of GSAE's most inspiring and influential members, Clifford M. Clarke.

Featured Members
Jeff Sabourin2017 Peggy Seigler Corporate Member of the Year Award
Jim Moody2017 Clifford M. Clarke Award
Lori K. Spear2017 Chair's Award

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