Colleen Lawler

As a CAE and IOM, it’s no wonder that Colleen Lawler, former vice president at the American Medical Association (AMA), serves as the executive director for the Society for Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists. Hailed as a speaker, facilitator, and influencer, Colleen’s skills span from strategic planning and operations to marketing and product development, which have enabled her to streamline processes, increase engagement and increase revenue in membership, event registrations and education products.

With a Bachelor of Business Administration from Robert Morris University, Colleen expanded on her education and her career by attending the Institute for Organization Management at the University of Notre Dame and obtaining her CAE at the American Society of Association Executives, before receiving a Certificate of Completion for Building and Implementing Growth Strategies at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Professionally, her education and hard work translate to delivering more than $350 million in revenue and managing the $45 million annual revenue at the AMA, as well as achieving a 25% increase in non-dues revenue at AAFP.

An experienced executive who has held positions as an executive director, a vice president, and a director; who managed up to 41 staff members and led international conferences with over 1500 participants present; what is the key to her stellar leadership? “When you spend hours working with your colleagues, it’s important to have fun. My teams have been successful because we always take time to recognize each other’s good work.”

Though the most important thing in her life is her family, Colleen is passionate about giving back, collaborating with others, and helping associations grow. She has served as a board member of the Association Forum, a member of both the Healthcare Community Committee and the Executive Member Section Council for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), and chair for the Corporate Outreach Committee for the American Academy of Family Physicians and KCSAE. One of her most striking success stories is turning around the AMA’s 40-year membership loss and increasing membership by 400% in 5 years.

Colleen is an expert in bringing leaders and staff together to act as a power team. “I’ve learned that to be successful you need to work at the speed of trust and be collaborative.”