NYSAE’s Chair Michael Weamer
Sees Nimble and Magical Opportunities

By Nicole Millman-Falk

Click image to enlargeSuccess Under StressMichael Weamer (right), CEO of the Marfan Foundation, newly installed Chair of the Board of the New York Society of Association Executives, is joined by Outgoing Chair Lester Shafran (left), Executive Director, Independent Payphone Association, and Joel A. Dolci, CAE, NYSAE President & CEO. Installation of NYSAE's new officers and directors was held at a special reception on the rooftop of the American Heart Association, sponsored by Kalahari Resorts & Conventions.

"What remains a great strength of NYSAE is its vibrant core," said Michael Weamer, newly installed Chair of NYSAE and newly named CEO of the Marfan Foundation. "Our Board of Directors is strong and focused on the health of the organization, and our volunteer membership is committed to seeing that we thrive." Weamer is a long-time member of NYSAE, and previously served as its Chair from 1998–1999.

There’s no doubt, Weamer acknowledged, that NYSAE is in a different place than it was when he was originally Chair. At that time, the organization had well over 1,000 members, and its educational centerpiece was We Love New York Day, a full-day program of seminars, exhibits, and an awards luncheon that highlighted the best associations had to offer to our community.

"Our essential purpose, however, has not changed," said Michael. "NYSAE is still focused on leading in advancing and serving the profession of association and nonprofit management. We have a tremendous opportunity to build a different, but an even stronger organization today."

Among his goals for the year are to expand membership, bring newer members into leadership roles and to rekindle the CEO Forum. Michael also wants to see NYSAE re-establish a premier member-based event, similar to but different than We Love New York Day.

"MeetNY is the best buyer-hosted event in our community and will continue to be so," said Michael. "We also have a tremendous opportunity to bring together members in a multi-tiered educational forum that focuses on the networking NYSAE has been known for," said Weamer. Reimagining such an event is already underway. "NYSAE’s officers and board, as well as our CEO Joel A. Dolci, CAE, and his staff are committed to this program succeeding," added Weamer.

To thrive in our new economic order also requires an agile organization. "I believe as an organization NYSAE can be nimble and proactive," said Michael. "If you put enough educational offerings on the table and layer that with social opportunities, we will undoubtedly do well."

Before moving to the area, Michael had been active in Chicago’s Forum (the local allied society for ASAE). "When I came to New York in 1990, Joel immediately reached out and told me I needed to get involved in NYSAE. He was so right! Within six months, NYSAE opened up an amazing network of professional and social contacts."

In fact, Michael credits his NYSAE connections for many accomplishments and friendships, including the beginning of American Heart’s Go Red for Women movement and his latest position as CEO of Marfan. A number of years ago, Michael was introduced by Eric Hertz, CAE, who at the time was the Executive Director of the Fashion Institute, to Karen Murray, who is now Chairman of the Board of the Marfan Foundation. "At the time, Karen’s son Michael had recently been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome and we became lifelong friends. Karen went on to be a volunteer leader of the AHA, and I became a volunteer for the Marfan Foundation. Karen served in a number of leadership roles and was one of the creators of the Go Red for Women movement, bringing awareness to the number one killer of women—heart disease. In fact, the entire Go Red movement and my love affair with Marfan might not have happened if I hadn’t been introduced through NYSAE to Eric and to Karen."

Being touched by Karen also led to Michael’s serving as a Board advisor and Board member for the Foundation for 15 years and subsequently to his being named CEO in February. The Marfan Foundation is the only nonprofit organization in the U.S. that funds research, provides patient support, and conducts public and medical education to create a brighter future for everyone affected by Marfan syndrome and related disorders. Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue.

"Part of the magic of NYSAE are the relationships. People might join for professional reasons, but it’s the personal relationships that are so special and keep us connected to it," Michael says. "We have the ability to build great educational content and layer it with networking and social programs and continue creating that magic within NYSAE."

Since 1990, Michael served as the Executive Vice President of the American Heart Association (AHA) and led its Founders Affiliate serving the northeast eight states. The Founders Affiliate has a $74 million budget, 17 regional Boards and over 300 employees. Prior to joining AHA, Mike was President of the National Society to Prevent Blindness and also served as an affiliate Executive Director of the National Easter Seal Society, administering rehabilitation centers that provided physical, speech and occupational therapy for physically disabled children and adults as well as pre-school education programs in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York.

A member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Black Cardiologists, he also served as Vice Chairman of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Treasurer of the Hudson Guild Settlement House, and as a Director of the International Council of Shopping Centers Foundation. Michael also served as Chairman of Health Power, a nationally unique nonprofit organization committed to minority health improvement.

In addition to receiving NYSAE’s Inspiration of Excellence Award, Outstanding Association Executive Award, and Distinguished Service Award, Michael was awarded the Hero with a Heart Award by the National Marfan Foundation. In his spare time, Michael is a licensed Coast Guard Captain.

Michael is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a degree in human development. He and his wife Karen have four children, Mollie, Caitlin, Sean, and Daniel, and a grandchild Max. And, Jackson Louis Weamer—the family puppy!

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

  • Gerard M. Thiers, CAE, Executive Director, Association of Schools and Agencies for the Handicapped, Chair-Elect;
  • Charles M. Riotto, President, International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association, Vice Chair; and
  • Neil Mullanaphy, Conventions Manager, American Traffic Safety Services Association, Treasurer.

New Board members elected for three-year terms expiring 2018 include:

  • Louis J. Coletti, President & CEO, Building Trades Employers Association;
  • Jeffrey P. Fagan CMP, CASE, Global Account Executive, Marriott Global Sales Organization;
  • Amish Mehta, CPA, Partner & Director of Not-for-Profit Services, Friedman LLP;
  • Barry Melancon CPA, CAE, President, American Institute of CPAs; and
  • Marian T. Thielsen, Associate VP, Sales & Marketing, American Pet Products Association

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; Marsha S. Block, CAE, CFRE, Chief Executive Officer, American Group Psychotherapy Association; Michael R. Borden, Executive Director, New York State Podiatric Medical Association; Joel A. Dolci, CAE, President & CEO, NYSAE; Mary Jane Eimer, CAE, Executive Director, Association for Behavioral & Cognitive Therapies; Eric Hertz, Senior Vice President, Director of Education, International Council of Shopping Centers; Holly Koenig, Vice President, The Kellen Company; and David Murphy, MBA, CPA, Sr. Vice President-Wealth Management, UBS.

NYSAE 2015 Welcome Summer Reception

Nicole Millman-Falk is President of Millman-Falk Communications, LLC, providing content development and strategic communication services for trade associations, professional societies, and donor-based organizations. In addition to her own company, she serves as Editor for Apogee Publications, which provides turnkey association newsletters, magazines, and membership directories. She is Editor of NYSAE's InView and Chair of the Awards Committee. She can be reached at 201-652-1687; nicolemillmanfalk@gmail.com; or through her website at www.millmanfalkcommunications.com.