This is a special episode of Conversations by Association, we thought it was important to have a conversation about racial inequality in real time, and what our association leaders can do to support their teams, their organizations, and themselves on this journey. George Floyd’s death was a catalyst to reignite change, a catalyst for very important and often difficult conversations that are now in our daily lives and work. To help all of us consider how to lead well in these times of rapid change, we return to two thoughtful leaders and guests from last season, Michelle Mills Clement at Chicago Association of Realtors and Michelle Mason, President and CEO of Association Forum.
Throughout this authentic and honest conversation our guests discuss the emotions they have felt in their own leadership and the skills they’ve had to call on to help themselves and others take action. Listen for guiding steps forward, and the many opportunities to step up to lead your teams, organization, and self toward positive changes.
“Most importantly about leadership, it’s not about preparing a statement, it’s action, about creating sustainable action.”
Michelle joined Association Forum as President and CEO in September 2014. She provides strategic leadership, fiscal responsibility, and successful delivery of member value.
Prior to Association Forum, Michelle served as a managing director at the American Society for Quality (ASQ). In this role, she concentrated on business development, membership, component relations, innovation, advocacy, social responsibility, and process improvement efforts.
Prior to ASQ, Michelle served as vice president of strategic and future focused research programs for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in Washington, D.C. She also worked at formerly Chemical Manufacturers Association, now the American Chemistry Council.
Michelle is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Six Sigma Champion, and a Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA). She is an ASAE Fellow and an Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow. She is a graduate of the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute (2016). Michelle formerly served as an examiner with the Wisconsin Center for Performance Excellence. She has a BA, MBA and MS.
Michelle has strong board experience including, ASAE Board of Directors, ABSI, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin. She was appointed by the Mayor of Milwaukee to serve as vice-chair of the City’s Green Team. Michelle is the founding chair of the ASAE Innovation Grants Program. Michelle was the project lead for the bestselling publication, Seven Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t.
Michelle received the 2012 WSAE Association Leadership Award and was recognized by Associations Now as an “A Lister: Someone Who Makes Associations Work.”
“That’s the key. Find your voice and use it, because you can really make an impact.”
Michelle Mills Clement is the CEO of the Chicago Association of REALTORS®, the “Voice for Real Estate in Chicago.” An experienced association executive for more than thirteen years, Mills Clement previously served as president and CEO of the Commercial Brokers Association (CBA) and association executive for the Washington State Commercial Association of REALTORS®. Prior to joining CBA, Mills Clement served as the Executive Director of NAIOP Washington State Chapter, the Commercial Real Estate & Development Association, where she implemented best practices in board governance and volunteer management.
Mills Clement was very active in the Chicagoland association industry prior to her move to the Pacific Northwest. She was employed with the Association Forum of Chicagoland as the Senior Manager of Member Communities & Programs. She previously held positions with the largest association management company in the world, SmithBucklin Corporation, serving both healthcare and trade association clients. Prior to SmithBucklin, she held fundraising and volunteer management positions with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Boy Scouts of America, where she consistently exceeded fundraising and membership goals.
She is an Association Forum Board Member and active member of ASAE: The Center for Association Excellence and the Association Forum of Chicagoland. In June 2013, she was named an American Society of Association Executive’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar, a prestigious executive leadership program awarded to only twelve executive-level association management professionals per year. She was also awarded the Young & Aspiring Association Professional Award from Association TRENDS in 2013, named a Forty Under 40 Award recipient by the Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE in 2014, and most recently received the Women of Excellence in Male-Dominated Careers by the Women of Color Empowered & Northwest Asian Weekly for her work in the commercial real estate industry in the pacific northwest.
She is a native Chicagoan and enjoys political campaign fundraising and volunteer management. She was integral in the election of Congresswoman Robin Kelly (DIL) from Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District in Illinois. When not with her family, she volunteers her time as President for the Bradley University Black Alumni Alliance. She is also an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. where she serves on the National Social Action Commission, a commission responsible for setting the legislative agenda for the 300,000+ women’s organization.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from Bradley University in Peoria and her master’s degree in nonprofit management from DePaul University. She has a certificate in commercial real estate from the University of Washington and earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) certification from ASAE.
She enjoys traveling with her family, volunteering, and cheering on the Chicago Bears (when they’re winning). She resides in Chicago with her husband Brace Clement, and their son Broyce.