ASAE Announces Individual Honors for Exceptional Leadership

July 26, 2021

WASHINGTON—ASAE today announced the three recipients of the Individual Honors for Exceptional Leadership which are bestowed upon professionals who have demonstrated exemplary support of ASAE, the association community and society at large. The 2021 winners include Michelle Mills Clement, FASAE, CAE, RCE, CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, who is recognized with this year’s Key Award; Donald Dea, FASAE, CoFounder, Fusion Productions, digitalNow, who received the Academy of Leaders Award; and Vicki Deal-Williams, MA, FASAE, CAE, Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, who is honored with the Professional Performance Award.

“On behalf of ASAE and our association community, congratulations to this year’s Individual Honors recipients. Our committee received a record number of nominations and applications representative of the enormous depth and talent within the association community,” said Matthew R. D'Uva, FASAE, CAE, CEO of American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD), chair of the 2021 Awards & Recognition Selection Committee. “This year’s honorees embody the broad, meaningful impact that association leaders are having on a local, national and international scale. Their contributions to their organizations, industries and the association profession is clear and profound.”

The Key Award is presented to chief staff executives of associations who demonstrate exceptional qualities of leadership and a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations. Michelle Mills Clement, the 72nd recipient of the award, is an experienced, dynamic association leader. As CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, she has been recognized both locally and nationally for her work, in the real estate industry including her passionate voice for fair housing and antiracism in the real estate industry. Mills Clement has been an important voice in the association profession within ASAE as an ASAE Fellow and Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar, and in Association Forum, where she serves on the board of directors. She serves as a co-founder and host of Texts to Table: A Conversation About Race and Leadership.

The Academy of Leaders Award is given to consultants or industry partners who have demonstrated exemplary support of ASAE and the entire association community. Donald Dea, FASAE, is the 34th recipient of the award. As Co-founder of Fusion Productions and digitalNow, Dea has been at the forefront of preparing association leaders for the challenges and opportunities that new technologies have had on association business models. Over his extensive career, Dea has been active in ASAE including serving as chair of the Membership Section Council and the Industry Research Advisory Group, and as a member of the ASAE Board of Directors. Dea is also an ASAE Fellow. He currently serves as chair of GuideDog Foundation/America's VetDogs, Treasurer of the Board of Trustees at Excelsior College, and on the Board of Directors at HIMSS Media. Through his work, Dea continues to fulfill his mission of vitalizing and fortifying America’s associations in the critical work they do for society.

The Professional Performance Award recognizes invaluable contributions made by association executives who are at the top level in their organizations but do not serve in the role of CEO. Vicki Deal-Williams, the 47th recipient of the award, has served as Chief Staff Officer for Multicultural Affairs at ASHA for decades. In this role, Deal-Williams oversees an extensive portfolio for one of the largest professional associations in the United States. Deal-Williams has held numerous leadership roles within ASAE including serving on the ASAE Board of Directors. She is also an ASAE Fellow. Deal-Williams has earned numerous individual and organizational honors for her work providing multi-faceted leadership and continuous program improvement in the areas of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, professional development, and strategic planning and execution.

The Individual Honors for Exceptional Leadership will officially be presented during ASAE’s Annual Meeting & Exposition, August 13-18, 2021. To learn more about ASAE’s Individual Honors criteria and selection process, visit the ASAE Individual Honors website.


MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Vest, CAE, 202-626-2798,


About ASAE

ASAE is a membership organization of more than 48,000 association executives and industry partners representing 7,400 organizations. Since it was established 100 years ago, its members have and continue to lead, manage, and work in or partner with organizations in more than a dozen association management disciplines, from executive management to finance to technology. With the support of the ASAE Research Foundation, a separate nonprofit entity, ASAE is the premier source of learning, knowledge, and future-oriented research for the association and nonprofit profession and provides resources, education, ideas, and advocacy to enhance the power and performance of the association and nonprofit community. Visit ASAE at