Education and Membership Growth On Agenda
For NYSAE’s New Chair—Lester N. Shafran, JD

By Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE

Click image to enlargeThe Passing of the GravelStephen Crane (right), outgoing Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the American Thoracic Society, passes the gavel to newly installed NYSAE Chairman of the Board Lester N. Shafran (center), Executive Director of the Independent Public Payphone Association of New York and President and CEO of SABD Ltd. Also pictured is NYSAE President & CEO Joel A. Dolci, CAE.
Click here for more pictures from the "Welcome Summer Reception Cocktail.

At an evening reception overlooking Grand Central Terminal and midtown Manhattan, Lester N. Shafran was installed as NYSAE's 2014-15 Chairman of the Board. Though some might know him only as the Executive Director of the Independent Public Payphone Association of New York (IPANY), Shafran is much more than that. He's a Renaissance man, who is well suited to his new role leading NYSAE.

A former high school teacher with the New York City Public Schools, Shafran has more than 40 years of progressive, executive level experience as an administrator, legal counsel, and policy and decision-maker. He has worked as Associate Counsel to the New York State Legislature's Minority Leader, as Deputy Bureau Chief of the New York City District Attorney's Office in Queens, and in New York City government with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the Parking Violations Bureau. He has been a Professor at both Queens College and Adelphi University, and he is also the current President and CEO of SABD Ltd., a marketing, consulting, and public relation firm, which specializes in green energy, bio-med, senior care/assisted living facilities, credit unions, transportation and high-technology companies.

NYSAE Chairman of the Board Lester N. ShafranNYSAE Chairman of the Board Lester N. Shafran, Executive Director of the Independent Public Payphone Association of New York and President and CEO of SABD Ltd.

Lester joined NYSAE in 1993 and has been involved ever since. Two other passions of his are his volunteer work on the Advisory Board of the Metropolitan Jewish Hospice, which has honored him two years in a row at its annual fundraiser at Lincoln Center, and as a Facilitator with Great Decisions, a national program of the American Foreign Policy Association (AFPA). "Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs," explained Shafran. For two hours on Sunday mornings, Shafran presents a lecture and discussion program at the JCC in Sherman, Connecticut, on one of the eight topics selected by AFPA. "This year, we are tackling such critical issues as Islamic extremism, energy independence, food and climate, the relationship between Israel and the United States, and China's foreign policy."

Lester is also a proud family man, who will celebrate his 48th anniversary later this year with his lovely wife Beth. This father of three daughters and sons-in-law and grandfather of nine is also a history buff, who does a lot of writing, and the caretaker of a giant koi pond.

Despite being a top-level negotiator in both the public and private sectors, he is quite modest. "I am honored and humbly accept the role of Chairman of NYSAE. I accept knowing that I am the beneficiary of 95 past years of achievement due to the efforts of those leaders who came before me," said Shafran.

What's on the Agenda for NYSAE?
Membership growth is a priority. It is the lifeblood of a healthy organization. "NYSAE is comprised of very talented aggressive thinkers and doers, who have reached top of the ladder in the association and nonprofit management field. When you join NYSAE, you wind up with not just associates, but with friends," said Shafran. Indeed, it's the number one reason that people join and stay members of NYSAE—for the sense of community.

NYSAE's outstanding professional development and effective work with government regulators are two more benefits of membership. "It is so important to stay abreast of what's happening in the world of association and nonprofit management, and NYSAE offers phenomenal education to make us all better managers and better leaders," said Shafran.

"In addition, Joel and the NYSAE staff have done a great job of expanding the MeetNY program—the premier meeting supplier-hosted event which features outstanding education, a trade show and reception, lots of networking, and an evening topped off by a Broadway show. With the help of the MeetNY Committee, we look forward to growing this event further in the coming year."

Pet Programs
Two NYSAE initiatives that Shafran is particularly passionate about are NYSAE's Mentorship Program and relaunching the Nonprofit CEO Forum. "I am eager to continue our outreach to colleges and universities in our area to help spread the word about career paths in association and nonprofit management," said Shafran. He has already set up a meeting with the Director of Career Development at Queens College to begin that process. "We need to think about the future labor force for our profession. We need to put these young people to work, providing them with additional educational opportunities, perhaps scholarships, and even internship programs within our association and nonprofit community."

The Nonprofit CEO Forum, introduced in 1994, has served to bring together New York's key nonprofit CEOs. "It's a cauldron for development and formulation of new ideas that can influence and shape key policy issues," said Shafran. "It's a goal that the Board and I share."

Ultimately, he concluded, it's all about building a sense of community. With the help of NYSAE's committee members, other volunteers, and professional staff, I am confident that next year at this time we will all be very gratified with the results.

New Officers
Joining Shafran on the NYSAE Board of Directors are newly elected officers:

  • Michael L. Weamer, CAE, Executive Vice President, American Heart Association, Chair-Elect;
  • Gerard M. Thiers, CAE, Executive Director, ASAH, Vice Chair; and
  • Susan Hennig, CTE, Sales Manager, Eastern USA & Canada Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Expositions (MICE) United, Treasurer.

Newly Board members, elected for three-year terms expiring 2017, include:

  • Marsha S. Block, CAE, CFRE, Chief Executive Officer, American Group Psychotherapy Association;
  • Michael R. Borden, Executive Director, New York State Podiatric Medical Association;
  • Mary Jane Eimer, CAE, Executive Director, Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies;
  • Holly Koenig, Vice President, The Kellen Company; and
  • David Murphy, MBA, CPA, Sr. Vice President-Wealth Management, UBS.

Other Board members include: Richard Amato, Vice President; Hotel Association of New York City; Joanne S. Barry, CAE, Executive Director, New York State Society of CPA's; Gregory Boroff, Executive Director, Friends of Hudson River Park; Stephen Crane, PhD, Immediate Past Chair, NYSAE, and Executive Director, American Thoracic Society; Joel A. Dolci, CAE, President & CEO, NYSAE; Eric Hertz, Senior Vice President, Director of Education, International Council of Shopping Centers; Ingrid Montecino, President & CEO, Arthritis Foundation Northeast Region; Neil Mullanaphy, Conventions Manager, American Traffic Safety Association; Charles M. Riotto, President, International Licensing Industry; and James Woehlke, Esq., CPA, COO and General Counsel, MBL Benefits Consulting.

Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE, Managing Editor of InView, is President of Millman-Falk Communications, LLC, providing strategic communication services for trade associations, professional societies, and donor-based organizations. She can be reached at 201-652-1687 or through her website at