Melissa Hockstad, president and CEO of the American Cleaning Institute, answers questions from ACI member Matt Vander Laan.
How did your professional journey lead you to the role of an association CEO?
I was a materials engineer earlier in my career, and it eventually led me to work for trade associations that represented different parts of the chemical industry. When I became aware of the opening for the CEO position at ACI, I thought it was a great opportunity to work for an organization that had a strong reputation.
We made some tough choices about what to focus on and what to let go.
How is the job different than what you expected?
We had to work hard during my first year to prioritize the programs and issues we were working on. We made some tough choices about what to focus on and what to let go. Then, we focused on making sure we had the right skill sets to better execute on priority programs and enhance our efforts to showcase the benefits that our products and chemistries bring to consumers.
In an era where trust is declining, what are the most important things an association can do to serve as a credible voice?
At ACI, we need to continually demonstrate how we operate sustainably. Through a series of award-winning sustainability reports, ACI has described what our members and the industry at large have accomplished, and we’re planning to announce a broad set of goals for our members to strive for moving forward. ACI has also strengthened its voice on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures, reminding policymakers that hygiene and cleaning products contribute to healthy living in homes, offices, schools, and commercial and healthcare facilities. Our members also demonstrate transparency by clearly labeling what’s in their products. By proactively engaging stakeholders and consumers, ACI will continue to serve as a credible voice on science, safety, and sustainability.