Association TRENDS announces the 2017 Association Executive of the Year: Dawn Sweeney, CEO, National Restaurant Association

Contact: Jamie Herring
Phone: (240) 235-0271

BETHESDA, MD (November 29, 2016). – Dawn Sweeney, CEO, National Restaurant Association, Washington, is the TRENDS 2017 Association Executive of the Year. 

“Dawn Sweeney embodies what a successful association executive is: a driven professional who is constantly striving for excellence of herself and staff for her industry. This has translated to great success for all the associations she has worked for. And she has not gone unrecognized for her professionalism. Though she has attained the TRENDS 2017 Association Executive of the Year, we fully expect even greater workplace accomplishments from her," TRENDS Publisher Emily Howard said.

As president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, Dawn Sweeney has been instrumental in focusing the mission of the Association through a unique, multi-year strategic plan, highlighting key areas of opportunity within the restaurant industry.

Since taking the helm at the end of 2007, Sweeney has led the Association in a wide-range of policy issues, while offering services and products that promote the industry and help individual operators and large multi-unit companies succeed.

Sweeney has realigned the Association’s priorities and structure to strengthen its core operations, including consolidating its Foundation around a mission to develop a strong workforce and build the next generation of industry leaders.

Before joining the National Restaurant Association, Sweeney was president and CEO of AARP Services, the wholly owned taxable subsidiary of AARP. She grew annual revenues from $175 million to $785 million during her tenure – serving 11 million AARP members annually. Her 25+ years of marketing, advocacy and policy experience also include leadership positions at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a membership organization of consumer-owned electric utilities, and the International Dairy Foods Association, the trade association for the nation's dairy foods industry, where she played a major role in the launch of the “milk moustache” advertising campaign.

Sweeney has been named one of the perennial top association CEOs in the country for the past several years. She serves on the boards the U.S. Travel Association and the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and is an active member of the U.S. Chamber’s Association Committee of 100, the International Women’s Forum, and the Committee of 200, an international network of female executives. She is also a charter member of Child Obesity 180, an initiative of private, public, non-profit and academic leaders committed to helping prevent childhood obesity through evidence-based initiatives.

Sweeney will be honored at the TRENDS 2017 Salute to Association Excellence, February 23rd, at the Capital Hilton in Washington. Details: Also to be honored at the TRENDS Salute will be the 2017 Association Partner of the Year, Loretta DeLuca, DelCorTechnology Soultions;; the 2016 Young and Aspiring Association Professionals; the 2016 Leading Lobbyists and the winners of the 2016 TRENDS All Media Contest, the most watched and respected competition for association communications in the country. For more information on the Salute, visit

For a complete biography, go to

About Association TRENDS: TRENDS has provided "seriously useful news & information for association leaders" in print and online since 1973. TRENDS is a division of Columbia Books & Information Services, which also publishes, The Original U.S. Congress Handbook and, among other important resources.