We Asked, You Answered: Leaders Who Get It Right

Association professionals take inspiration from all types of leadership. We wanted to know: What leader do you admire, and why? Here's how a few readers answered.

Commitment, passion, empathy, and integrity are just some of the traits of a great leader. We asked Associations Now readers to tell us about the leader they most admire, and why that person represents leadership at its best.

Tara BishoP, CAE

Deputy Chief Executive, National Council of University Research Administrators

Kim Moreland is the leader of the Grants and Contracts Division at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and she has always been one of my greatest inspirations. Providing outstanding service in how her institution provides administration for research is a complex and ever-changing journey. Within all of this, Kim is technically outstanding, and her unique value proposition is her commitment to people, communication, and civility. She has taught me that leadership is not about perfection. It is about setting an intention for each day, each conversation, each situation to be hard on the problem and good to the people. She is the epitome of intelligence and graciousness, and I have modeled my career and my commitment after her to bring the best of myself to everything and everyone I encounter.

My favorite leader never knows the word ‘no’ and never has a negative thing to say while still being a realist, an art form that I have rarely seen in my long life.

Elle Wiernik

Assistant Director, National Association of Subrogation Professionals

I’d like to shine a light on NASP’s past president and current CEO, Leslie Wiernik. Leslie epitomizes leadership. Aside from being extremely respected in the subrogation industry, with more than 35 years of experience, there’s also nothing she wouldn’t sacrifice for our association. Although her title is CEO, she’s also a board liaison, a meeting planner, a speaker of the house and senate committees, an educator, a master negotiator, and, most of all, a friend to her staff, board of directors, and membership. Leslie is a leader because she selflessly reaches back to pull people up beside her. Her passion and tenacity are obvious, and she inspires us all to live life with the same vigor.

Sharon Ross

Senior Specialist, Educational Products and Services, Association of Rheumatology Professionals

Leaders go all in all the time, even when it means sacrificing more of themselves in order for an organization, person, group, board members, or staff to succeed. Tami Brehm, executive director of ARP, is that leader. She is fearless and strong. Her leadership makes you feel ready to do the impossible. I know she puts on her superhero cape!

Angela Matherne

Director of Sales, Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau

The leader I admire most is someone who works for me. Her persistent optimism and enthusiasm are contagious. She faces a mountain of adversity in her personal and professional life. She is a strong African-American female in a profession dominated by Caucasian males and females. My favorite leader never knows the word “no” and never has a negative thing to say while still being a realist, an art form that I have rarely seen in my long life. My favorite leader allows me and others to be the “boss” while she leads us all to greatness. My favorite leader provides strength and kindness to everyone she meets, and she is always honest and trustworthy. I am proud to call Robin Jones my employee, my mentor, and, most of all, my friend.

Sigmund VanDamme

Membership Software Evangelist, Community Brands

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, is a super-successful business leader, and he has a philanthropic attitude that I admire. When Salesforce was in its infancy, he created the 1-1-1 program, where Salesforce would give away 1 percent of its money, 1 percent of its products, and 1 percent of its labor every year to make the world a better place. It was a small amount at first—but fast-forward to today where Salesforce is a $40 billion company, and what they give back is literally changing the world.

Tim McMullen

Program Manager, Certification Program, California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

My leadership hero is our chief operating officer, Ron Hynum. When they say “and other duties as assigned,” they always fall on Ron. He graciously accepts every curve ball that comes his way and approaches it with a smile on his face and a determination to get it done. He is Mr. Calm-Under-Pressure with a sense of humor thrown in!

(RyanKing999/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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