Guess Who Came to Lunch?
NYSAE’s 2014 Synergy Award Winners!

By Gina Ryan, CAE

NYSAE's April 23rd Annual Synergy Awards Luncheon recognized outstanding service, leadership, websites, and special achievements. The program, held at the University Club, was in conjunction with NYSAE’s Technology Institute and Vendor Showcase. "This annual program," said Carter Keithley, Immediate Past Chair of the Board, and President, Toy Industry Association, "is dedicated to honoring those who have demonstrated leadership, service, and special achievements that benefit the association and not-for-profit management profession and allows NYSAE to pay tribute to our colleagues who give so much of their time, talents, and energy to our association, and to their own." NYSAE presented the 2014 awards for: Outstanding Association Executive; Outstanding Associate Member; Distinguished Service; Outstanding Committee Chairperson; Website Excellence, and Outstanding Information Technology Leadership.

Click image to enlargeNYSAE Outstanding Association Executive Award - Jack LundJack Lund (center), President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York, received NYSAE’s 2014 Outstanding Association Executive Award. Presenting the award were Carter Keithly (left), Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of NYSAE and President of the Toy Industry Association, and Joel A. Dolci, CAE, NYSAE President & CEO.

First To Be Seated:
Jack Lund, Outstanding Association Executive
If I could invite five dream guests to lunch, Jack Lund would be at the top of my list. As head of New York City’s largest private youth-serving organization, the YMCA of Greater New York, Jack works to strengthen the foundations of communities in New York City through programs that benefit children and youth, improve the well being of individuals and communities, and address some of New York City’s most challenging social problems.

Jack has pioneered programs in education, civic engagement, and immigrant services. Under his leadership, the Y has launched signature programs addressing the academic achievement gap for children living in poverty, the epidemic of youth obesity, and disconnected young people who have dropped out of school and aren’t working.

In his role as president and CEO, Jack has built upon the organization’s 160+-year tradition of volunteerism. During his tenure, Jack has attracted some of the City’s finest civic leaders to join the board of directors, making the Y board one of the most effective not-for-profit governing bodies in New York City.

Jack has played a key role in cultivating talent and growing the YMCA movement both domestically and internationally. In New York City, he launched a comprehensive professional development program for the Y’s 4,500 staff members with a strong focus on organizational culture. On the global stage, Jack has chaired the YMCA World Urban Network, a network of YMCA CEOs from the world’s largest cities.

He is active in the community outside of the YMCA, serving on the Board of Directors of New York’s Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, and the National Winter Sports Education Foundation.

This Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native received his BA in political science from Philadelphia’s LaSalle University and his MEd in community leadership & development from Springfield College, where he also received an honorary doctorate in 2011.

NYSAE’s Outstanding Association/Non-Profit Executive Award is given to the association executive who demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership and service, not only in his or her own association, but also in the volunteer and professional community as a whole. More than any of NYSAE's awards, this one is wide-ranging and externally oriented. While the other awards focus on contributions, service, and performance in relation to NYSAE, the Outstanding Association/Non-Profit Executive Award considers more broad-based criteria, with the focus on overall excellence in the profession. Congratulations to Jack Lund on receiving the NYSAE 2014 Outstanding Association Executive Award!

Click image to enlargeNYSAE Outstanding Associate Award -Dean D’AnnaDean D’Anna (left), Associate Director of Sales, Group, and Business Development for North American for Starwood Resorts and Hotels, received NYSAE’s 2014 Outstanding Associate Member Award. He is pictured with Carter Keithly, Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of NYSAE and President of the Toy Industry Association.

Guess Who Else Was There?
Dean D’Anna, Outstanding Associate Member
The Outstanding Associate Member Award is bestowed on an individual who: makes contributions to his/her organization that have significantly improved, promoted and benefited their company; actively supports and promotes NYSAE programs and services; and makes contributions to community, professional, civic, charitable and service organizations.

Dean, another of NYSAE’s dream guests, is Associate Director of Sales, Group, and Business Development for North American for Starwood Resorts and Hotels. The recipient of NYSAE’s 2014 Outstanding Associate Member Award is a straight shooter. When asked about his contributions to NYSAE, he replied: The MeetNY Committee’s goals were to increase attendance and provide excellent education. Our Committee accomplished our goals; we increased attendance and we provided excellent education. Assignment given; mission achieved!

As Chair of the MeetNY Committee, he has been responsible for assembling the pieces that make NYSAE’s Meet New York event the envy of all other SAEs, many of whom are now copying our format. This outstanding buyer-hosted event has focused on such current educational topics as holding green meetings, crisis planning for meetings, and negotiating hotel and travel contracts. These programs have been followed by NYSAE’s name in neon lights on Broadway at the Hard Rock Café, where a buyer hosted show and reception was held. And to top off each Meet New York—a top Broadway show…Motown, Once, Anything Goes!

Dean, who has been with Starwood for almost 11 years, runs one of Starwood’s best global sales offices. Not only does he hire and train his staff very effectively, he forges strong partnerships with his many key accounts. He is a true customer advocate, making sure that he understands his clients’ business first and foremost. Prior to his career at Starwood, Dean was a national sales manager for Hyatt Hotels for nine years, and was a convention services director with the Plaza Hotel before that.

Dean earned a BASc and a BS in international business from Quinnipiac University in 1983.

Congratulations to Dean D’Anna, the 2014 Outstanding Associate Member!

Click image to enlargeNYSAE Distinguished Service Award - Jeffrey FaganNYSAE’s 2014 Distinguished Service Award was presented to Jeffrey Fagan (left), CASE, CMP, Global Account Executive with Marriott Global Sales, by Carter Keithly, Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of NYSAE and President of the Toy Industry Association.

How Could We Resist Inviting This Man to Lunch?
The 2014 Distinguished Service Awardee, Jeff Fagan
NYSAE’s Distinguished Service Award recognizes the significant contribution of an NYSAE member with 15 or more years of service to NYSAE. The criteria for this award include: a proven track record of innovative work to support NYSAE programs and activities; active participation on NYSAE committees; service as a leader and mentor to the association community; and being a role model for NYSAE members.

Meet New York and its predecessor, We Love New York Day, have been integral parts of NYSAE for decades. And since joining NYSAE, our 2014 Distinguished Service Awardee—Jeffrey Fagan, CASE, CMP, Global Account Executive with Marriott Global Sales—has been an integral part of the committees that have driven those events. He has either chaired, co-chaired, or been a member of those committees since 1998, and spearheaded the design team that re-configured We Love New York Day into today’s MeetNY, a successful hosted buyers’ event built around a fun day of education, a reception, and a Broadway show.

Jeff served on the NYSAE Board of Directors from 2002-2005, and was a member of the Golf Committee from 1998-2003. He was named the Outstanding Associate Member in 2002 and received the Outstanding Committee Chair Award in 2006. His organization, Marriott International, won the Social Responsibility Award in 2001 and 2009.

"Being part of NYSAE has catapulted my career and opened doors of opportunity for me," comments Jeff. "Being part of NYSAE is like being a member of a family. It is a close, tight-knit community where all members like to help each other out. I would not be as successful as I am in my job if I was not a member of the NYSAE community."

Jeff has accepted leadership roles not just in NYSAE, but also with the American Society of Association Executives, Meeting Planners International (PCMA), and the Professional Convention Management Association. He served as President of the NY Chapter of PCMA from 2007-2008.

Since 1998, Marriott International has been fortunate to have Jeff as a global account executive with their global sales organization. For the past 16 years, Jeff has been building relationships and consulting with top association executives, helping them to select the ideal venues for their meetings and conventions. He is a trusted partner, resource, and influencer with 33-years experience in the New York City market, allowing him to open doors and find business-to-business opportunities for his clients. Marriott has recognized Jeff with their Chairman’s Award four times, and the Pinnacle Award for being in the top five-percent in sales achievement. He has been a master at promoting and building awareness for Marriott International in the New York City association market.

Jeff is a man for all seasons. His wide-ranging interests include golf, tennis, skiing, cooking, travel and cars. He can find something in common with just about anyone. Causes that Jeff cares about include economic empowerment, children, and education. He is a supporter of the National Academy Foundation, a leader in the movement to prepare young people for college and career success

This talented man extends his broad outreach with his ability to speak Spanish fluently, and French with a working proficiency. Jeff certainly speaks NYSAE’s language. Congratulations to Jeff on winning the NYSAE 2014 Distinguished Service Award!

Click image to enlargeNYSAE Outstanding Committee Chair Award - Holly KoenigNicole Millman-Falk (left), CAE, Chair of NYSAE’s Awards Committee and President of Millman-Falk Communications, presents the 2014 Outstanding Committee Chair Award to Holly Koenig, Chair of the Executive Women in Association Management SIG. Koenig is a Vice President with Kellen Company.

No Guest List is Complete Without a Woman at the Table!
The 2014 Outstanding Committee Chair, Holly Koenig
Along with Jeff Fagan, Holly Koenig is one of only four distinguished NYSAE members to receive the triple crown of awards. Besides being recognized as the 2014 Outstanding Committee Chair, she was named Outstanding Association Executive in 2010, and received the Distinguished Service Award in 2012. Holly currently serves as the Founder and Chair of the NYSAE Executive Women in Association Management SIG guided by a savvy 10-member Steering Committee.

The SIG, which meets every other month, provides a forum for senior women staff leaders of not-for-profit associations. Holly manages the promotion, guest facilitation, and registration for the exclusive group. Among the group’s multiple objectives is support for NYSAE’s member recruitment and retention goals. More than 60 women have participated since its first meeting last April. In addition to chairing the Executive Women’s SIG, Holly also serves on the NYSAE Education Committee.

Holly relates, "I’m truly thrilled and honored to receive the Outstanding Committee Chair synergy award for the development of NYSAE’s Executive Women’s SIG. I absolutely adore attending those…being with everyone…listening to everyone’s smarts…leaving with great tips. It’s really not work at all; it’s my fun time and balance to the other world."

Since 1987, Holly has been Vice President of Kellen Company.  Before her 26 years with the Kellen Company, Holly worked in TV and radio production for D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles.

Holly’s passions include coaching and mentoring. She shares her time and expertise with the Mentoring USA advisory board, and with the New York City Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society where she serves as a board advisor.

Holly studied advertising design at the Fashion Institute of Design and advertising at the School of Design. She also did a stint as a standup comic, and true-to-form, mentions Pig Latin as one of her languages.

Congratulations to Holly Koenig, the 2014 Outstanding Committee Chair!

Click image to enlargeNYSAE New Star Award - Tim BaerTim Baer (second from left), Vice President of business development for American Technology Services, received NYSAE’s 2014 New Star Award. Also pictured (left to right): Joel A. Dolci, CAE, President & CEO, NYSAE; Carter Keithly, Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of NYSAE and President of the Toy Industry Association; and Nicole Millman-Falk, CAE, Chair of NYSAE’s Awards Committee and President of Millman-Falk Communications

The Newest Member at the Awards Table!
The 2014 New Star Awardee Tim Baer
The New Star Award is given annually and recognizes the significant contribution of a new NYSAE member (regular or associate) with less than three years of service made to NYSAE in the areas of committee work, special projects, and new programs.

Kudos to Tim Baer, Vice President of business development for American Technology Services (ATS) headquartered in the metro DC area, for all his hard work as a member of the NYSAE Technology Committee. Tim has been indefatigable as a new NYSAE member over the past year, traveling to New York City almost monthly keeping his commitments as a member of the committee, recruiting speakers for Technology SIG events and attending all those events, and even writing for InView.

As a member of the Technology Committee, Tim had considerable impact on the development of the agenda for the Technology Institute, and was involved in the project to redesign the NYSAE website.

Tim has more than 30 years experience in marketing and sales, including the last 10 years with ATS. In prior years he worked at PwC, KPMG Consulting, and CLR FastTax. He has been active in the association community for many years as an ASAE member and past member of the ASAE Technology Section Council.

Tim grew up around Philadelphia, but he has been a resident of the Washington area for more than 40 years. Tim graduated from Catawba College with a BA, and holds an MPA from American University. He and his wife, Wendy, a long time association executive, reside in the Mount Vernon area of Northern Virginia.

Congratulations to Tim Baer, the 2014 New Star awardee!

Gina Ryan, CAE, is President of CEO Pathways/Creative Executive Options, a firm offering interim executive director services and transition management to newly formed or recently challenged associations. Ryan is a former NYSAE board member and is the Vice Chair of the Awards Committee. She can be reached at or 917-971-7524.