In the world of association professionals, there is no higher honor than the Shapiro Award, given annually by the Chicago-based Association Forum.
This year, that prestigious award goes to APA’s Chief Executive Officer James M. Drinan, JD.
Drinan joined APA as its executive director in July 2014, and his career in association management has spanned a quarter century.
“I am incredibly proud,” Drinan said in an interview. “It is the highest award available in the field of association management. I’ve sat in that room for 20 years and seen the people who have been selected for that award. They are people that I admire: what they do, how they do it, the organizations that they’ve been part of.”
The Samuel B. Shapiro Award for Chief Staff Executive Achievement recognizes outstanding service and accomplishments in association and nonprofit management. The award is named after the past chairman of the Association Forum and the American Society of Association Executives, and it recognizes achievements in association executives’ professional and personal lives.
The 2017 award was announced March 29. Drinan will be honored in a June 28 ceremony in Chicago, where he’ll be joined by APA President Cynthia Bowen, AICP, LEED-AP.
“Jim has listened carefully to APA’s leadership and has worked alongside the APA Board to chart a direction to move APA forward, ensuring that we are a strong membership organization well into the future,” says Bowen.
“Jim’s ability to clearly communicate with leaders and members — and to think strategically about APA’s operations, particularly as they relate to the Development Plan — has allowed the APA Board to make wise decisions about how to not only efficiently and effectively manage the organization, but also to lead important efforts in the field of planning.”
The award, Drinan says, represents far more than personal achievement. He acknowledges the mentors, colleagues, and friends he has learned from along the way, as well as the support and trust from the leadership, members, and staffs of the associations he’s led, including APA. “I am incredibly fortunate and appreciative of APA to have given me this opportunity,” he says.
“What I see the award meaning, here at APA as well as at the other organizations I’ve been with, is that I’ve been part of successful teams — groups that include staff and members. That’s what I’ve tried to do each time I came into a leadership position and it’s what I said I would do at APA. This is an affirmation of that.”
About the Author
Meghan Stromberg is APA's editor in chief.