Association Forum Announces 2024 Woman of Influence™ 

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CHICAGO (December 11, 2023) — Association Forum is pleased to announce Wendy-Jo Toyama, MBA, CAE, FASAE, CEO of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (a client of the Association Management Center), as the 2024 recipient of the Woman of Influence Award.  

This honor is awarded to trailblazers in the industry who have a proven track record of innovation, impact and paying it forward through coaching, mentoring and service to others.   

Being named the 2024 Woman of Influence reflects Toyama’s commitment to the association community as well as her dedication to the advancement of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Toyama found her calling in the nonprofit sector as a marketer in 1995. Her focus shifted to associations when she joined the staff of the American Dental Association (ADA) in 2003. In her 11-year tenure with the ADA, she led a 53-person division that included several departments, including membership marketing, database management, call center operations, and more. During this time, Toyama made notable contributions to the organization by increasing both membership and revenue. She also transformed ADA diversity and inclusion efforts, leading to the development of an organization-wide Diversity and Inclusion Plan and an historic Diversity Summit that brought together four national ethnic dental associations and fostered ongoing collaboration. 

From 2014-2020, Toyama served as executive director of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association (ACPA). There, Toyama built a strong team, grew both membership and revenue, and again leaned into DEI initiatives. Since 2020, Toyama has worked for Association Management Center (AMC), serving as CEO of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM). 

“I am passionate about working in associations because, at their heart, associations are about belonging—connecting people and building community,” Toyama says. She adds, “I love working for mission-driven organizations, seeking organizations that align with my values of creativity, service, courage, justice, and family.”  

Part of Toyama’s commitment to DEI is using her voice to share her experience and what she’s learned. She was a keynote speaker at Association Forum’s annual meeting, Forum Forward, is a regular presenter at American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) Annual Meeting, and has contributed written articles to several publications (most recently, the winter 2023 issue of FORUM Magazine). 

“Wendy-Jo’s commitment to this industry is inspiring,” says Artesha Moore, FASAE, CAE, President and CEO of Association Forum. “She is not only dedicated to mission-driven organizations, but she is also passionate about creating space for diverse voices and she weaves DEI initiatives throughout all of her work,” she adds. 

“I am grateful to those who supported me, and commit to doing the same for others,” Toyama says. “As a single, working mother it was a challenge to be involved in my professional association. There were few leaders who looked like me. I encourage all association professionals to get involved in their association early,” she adds. 

“Wendy-Jo embodies true leadership, excelling in her work while uplifting and inspiring those around her. The association community is fortunate to have her,” says Greg Heidrich, CEO of the Society of Actuaries and chair of the Board of Directors of Association Forum. 
  
Toyama will be presented the award at Women’s Executive Forum™ on March 15, 2024, at Convene Willis Tower in Chicago. She will also make a presentation at the conference, offering reflections on her career as well as advice for other women. The Women’s Executive Forum is an annual assembly of women association CEOs, C-Suite executives and emerging leaders designed to facilitate candid conversations around specific challenges and opportunities. Learn more about Women’s Executive Forum here.

The Woman of Influence Award was previously awarded to Jacqualine Price Osafo, MBA, CAE, Executive Director of the Society of American Archivists;  Robin L. Rone, Executive Director of Apra International and Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Smithbucklin; Mary Lynn Fayoumi, CAE, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, President and CEO of HR Source; Deborah J. Bowen, FACHE, CAE, President and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Executives; Kathleen T. O’Loughlin, DMD, executive director of the American Dental Association and to Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. 

The 2024 Woman of Influence Award is powered by Delcor.  

About the Author

The mission of Association Forum is to advance the professional practice of association management. Founded in 1916, Association Forum serves 3,000 association professionals whose efforts serve more than 27 million members and generate $10 billion in global annual expenditures. Visit www.associationforum.org for more information.

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