Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

It’s been a long time! Here is your chance to commiserate over our pandemic experiences and explore what the association of the future will look like! This lively, interactive meeting will provide us the connections that we’ve missed, educational programs that will help us identify opportunities, plus those networking moments that make it all worthwhile. The NAW 2021 AEC Summer Meeting will be held at the Chicago Fairmont Hotel, July 19-21, 2021. Join us as we return to the world of meetings. 

This year’s focus on the future of the association is ideal for chief association executives as well as meetings and membership directors, or any team member engaged in strategy.   

The NAW AEC Meetings bring together association professionals in an informal atmosphere where executives can share information on the opportunities and challenges of leading a distribution association. These executives manage a diverse group of associations and can provide tremendous insights into association management. Attendees will experience programs rich with educational content and unparalleled networking.

The NAW AEC Meetings are open to chief staff executives and senior staff members of NAW member national associations. The chief executive officer must attend in order for senior staff to attend this meeting. If you have any questions, please contact Trish Lilly at

Hotel Accommodations - Book Your Room by June 26, 2021

The Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park 

Home to the NAW AEC Summer Meeting, the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park offers sophisticated, modern luxury in the heart of downtown Chicago. Overlooking Lake Michigan, Grant and Millennium Parks, and the legendary skyline, the Fairmont Chicago is the perfect backdrop for an urban escape or event. 

The Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park boasts some of the city’s most spacious and impeccably appointed guestrooms. Whether you are enjoying a city, park, or lake view, the sights of Chicago will take your breath away. Register and book your room by June 26, 2021. NAW’s special rate at the Chicago Fairmont is $209 per night. You may make your reservation by: 

  1. Using this NAW AEC Meeting link: 
  2. Placing an individual phone-in reservation request to Global Reservations Centre at 1-800-441-1414. Be sure to state that you are attending the NAW AEC Meeting.  

Getting to Downtown Chicago

Downtown Chicago may be accessed by flying into either O’Hare International or Chicago Midway International Airport. Midway is the closest airport to downtown Chicago.   

  • 13 miles – 30 minutes Chicago Midway International Airport 
  • 19 miles – 48-55 minutes O’Hare International Airport 

You may travel to the Chicago Fairmont by taxi, Uber or Lyft. From O’Hare, the subway also offers quick transportation to the downtown area. 

Weather and Wardrobe

The weather in Chicago, Illinois features July average temperatures in the mid-80s in the day and high 60s in the evening.  

Dress for the NAW AEC meeting is “business casual”—ties and/or jackets for gentlemen are NOT required for any event, and women will be comfortable in slacks, summertime skirts, and so forth. For business sessions, open neck shirts are appropriate. Keep in mind that meeting room temperatures can vary so a sweater or blazer might be appropriate. 

Event Information

NAW 2021 AEC Summer Meeting
July 19–21, 2021

NAW Meeting Venue

Fairmont Chicago – Millennium Park

200 N Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

Contact NAW

Our Office

1325 G Street NW, Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20005-3100

Contact Information

(202) 872-0885

Email NAW

Register now for the NAW 2021 AEC Summer Meeting, Sunday, July 18, 2021, until Wednesday, July 21, 2021.

Register and book your room by June 26, 2021

AEC Chief Staff Executive

Registration Fee: $650 

Register Now

AEC Association Staff

Registration Fee: $450 

Register Now

NAW 2021 AEC Summer Meeting Agenda

Monday, July 19, 2021

11:00 AM                               NAW Registration

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM         NAW AEC Opening Luncheon

1:15 PM – 4:00 PM            General Session

GENERAL SESSION  – The Future of Meetings: Meetings, Conventions and Trade Shows  


Michael Dominguez

President and CEO, Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI)

Join our guest presenter, Mike Dominguez, President and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), as we explore the pandemic effects that will linger for the meetings industry in the coming years. Mike became a familiar name during the pandemic with his weekly ALHI webinars focused on how the meetings industry was handling the crisis.

Meetings have traditionally been one of the largest revenue drivers for associations. However, reliance on meeting income proved one of the greatest challenges during the pandemic. How do we prepare for the future of our meetings?

We will meet in working groups to examine what the future looks like for venue contracts, meeting space and food and beverage needs, hybrid events, etc. We’ll take a deep dive into what we’ve learned and how we can better offer events in the new business normal. This session will be part presentation and part working groups as we focus together and learn from each other about the future of meeting design.

6:30 PM – 9:30 PM              NAW Evening Reception and Dinner 

Enjoy a fun evening catching up with your peers as the Chicago Fairmont hosts the NAW Association Executives.   

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

7:30 AM – 8:45 AM – NAW AEC Breakfast Meeting featuring Jade West!

Jade West

Chief Government Relations Officer, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

By popular request, Jade West, NAW’s Chief Government Relations Officer, returns to the AEC stage to provide her legislative and regulatory update. Learn more about the issues impacting wholesale distribution and more about the activities of the NAW legislative team during Jade’s high-energy program. 

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM                Break

9:00 AM – 11:45 AM               General Session 

GENERAL SESSION – An Interactive Morning – The Reimagining of Successful Association Strategy


Dean A. West, FASAE

President, Association Laboratory

Associations operate in a complex and dynamic environment that shapes the decisions of members, impacts association strategy, and requires focused, practical planning to be successful. The post COVID-19 environment will create both challenges and opportunities for association leaders.

Critical to success will be:

  • Understanding the changing nature of the business environment facing members.
  • Creating evolutionary strategic planning processes that allow your organization to be successful.
  • Modifying traditional governance structures to be faster and more effective.
  • Applying this knowledge to inform the development of more successful strategic value propositions.

Tuesday morning’s program introduces the key concepts identified through Association Laboratory’s association sector research, which highlights the changing business model of association strategy, strategic planning, and governance. You’ll be assigned to a working group to discuss these concepts with your peers and apply the knowledge you gain to create more effective value propositions for your association. Each working group will report out on lessons learned and knowledge applied.

Participants in this session will receive two complimentary publications from Association Laboratory.

  • A copy of Association Laboratory’s management guide, Essentials of Strategic Planning, which includes information on a modern process and sample materials.
  • An overview of the Looking Forward® data, the leading environmental scan of the association strategy environment. You’ll also receive a link to the Association Laboratory Looking Forward Dashboard, which features customized sector-wide data collected from more than 600 association leaders worldwide on the issues impacting association members and the challenges to strategy that these issues create.

Our guest presenter this morning is Dean A. West, FASAE, President of Association Laboratory. Dean a globally recognized thought leader and futurist for the association community. For more than 20 years he has researched what works and does not work in association strategy and leadership. Dean is a Fellow for the American Society of Association Executives, and he has served on the Board of Directors for the Association Forum of Chicagoland, is a Past Chairman of ASAE’s Professional Development Council, and is a past member of ASAE’s Membership Council. He is a former association chief staff officer with experience leading national and international associations.

12:00 PM – 12:45 PM           AEC Luncheon

2:00 PM – 4:30 PM             The Architectural Boat Tour

On Tuesday afternoon, we will enjoy an afternoon on the river soaking up interesting facts on Chicago’s fantastic architecture. Chicago’s architecture is known worldwide–and there is nothing like seeing it from all three branches of the Chicago River. More than 40 Chicago landmarks await you on this Architectural Boat Tour, from hidden architectural treasures to the city’s most famous landmarks. Expert guides will share how Chicago’s buildings, architecture and engineering made this city famous. 

6:30 PM                                   Networking Fun!

Join your colleagues for a fun evening!  Watch for details.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM            Breakfast and Discussion Roundtables

Join your colleagues for the always popular and valued discussion roundtables.  You’ll receive full details on topics prior to the meeting. These roundtables provide a great opportunity to learn from and share with your association peers. A do not miss session! 

NAW 2021 AEC Summer Meeting Speakers

Michael Dominguez

President & CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI)

Monday, July 19

The Future of Meetings
Meetings, Conventions and Trade Shows


Michael Dominguez is President and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI), a well-known hospitality industry leader.  Mike is actively involved in leadership roles in the Meetings and Events Industry including the executive committees for US Travel Association and Meetings Mean Business Coalition. He speaks in the industry often on topics of disruption, the state of the industry, the economy, behavioral lessons.  Michael was recognized in M&C Magazines survey of top industry speakers and was an invited speaker at South by Southwest in 2018.  

Jade West

Chief Government Relations Officer
National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors

Tuesday, July 20

NAW AEC Breakfast Meeting featuring Jade West!


Jade West is Chief Government Relations Officer for the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.

She also serves as Executive Director of the NAW Political Action Committee.  In that capacity, she serves on campaign steering committees for candidates for the U.S. House and Senate each election cycle.

Ms. West is the senior lobbyist for NAW, advocating the interests of the wholesale distribution industry in Washington both on Capitol Hill and with executive branch departments and agencies.  She is Executive Secretariat of the 1,000-member Tax Relief Coalition and of the LIFO Coalition.  She also serves on the Management Committee of Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (CDW), which led the opposition to organized labor’s effort to remove secret ballot elections from union certification campaigns and now works to promote legislative and regulatory policies that advance employer and employee interests in the workplace; of the Parity for Main Street Employers Coalition, which advocates on behalf of pass-through businesses; and of the Partnership to Protect Workplace Opportunity (PPWO), which led the business effort to oppose and then to improve the Labor Department’s Fair Labor Standards Act overtime rule.

Ms. West was named CEO Update’s Association Lobbyist of the Year for 2015, only the second lobbyist to receive that award.

Before joining NAW in 2002, Ms. West was a senior aide on Capitol Hill for more than twenty years.  She served first as Executive Director of the U.S. Senate Steering Committee for 14 years, directing the activities of a small staff which provided legislative and policy assistance to approximately twenty-five senators and their staffs.

She was then named Staff Director for the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, the 4th ranking Republican Leadership position in the Senate.  In that capacity she served as an advisor to the Republican leadership on legislative and technical procedural matters, and managed a staff of approximately 20, including 10 policy experts who provided policy analysis, research papers and talking points, and detailed legislative summaries to Republican senators and their staffs.

Dean A. West, FASAE

President of Association Laboratory

Tuesday, July 20

An Interactive Morning – The Reimagining of Successful Association Strategy


Dean West is the founder and President of Association Laboratory Inc. He leads client engagements and is a frequent speaker and facilitator for national and global association leadership meetings.

Mr. West is a former association executive with experience as executive director, chief operating officer, and chief financial officer for both national and international membership organizations. He has been a consultant to the association community since 1992, and has provided services to hundreds of state, national, and international organizations.

Dean West is a nationally recognized expert in association management. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives. Mr. West authored the chapter on Membership Research for the ASAE book, Membership Essentials and the chapter on Marketing Professional Development Programs in the ASAE book, Core Competencies in Professional Development.

Mr. West is an experienced volunteer leader familiar with the demands of volunteer leadership. He is Past Chairman of ASAE’s Professional Development Council and has served on the ASAE Membership Council and the Editorial Board for the ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership Journal of Association Leadership. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Association Forum of Chicagoland.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does my association have to be a Member of NAW to attend the NAW AEC Meeting?

If your association is a distribution association but not a NAW member, you must become a NAW member to be eligible to attend the NAW AEC. To join NAW, contact Trish Lilly at 202.872.0885 or

Are there discounts if I bring additional people from my association with me?

After the first AEC registers, additional staff pay a reduced fee of $450 per person.

What is the appropriate attire for this event?

The weather in Chicago, Illinois features July average temperatures in the mid-80s in the day and high 60s in the evening.  

Dress for the NAW AEC meeting is “business casual”—ties and/or jackets for gentlemen are NOT required for any event, and women will be comfortable in slacks, summertime skirts, and so forth. For business sessions, open neck shirts are appropriate.  Keep in mind that meeting room temperatures can vary so a sweater or blazer might be appropriate. 

Where is this meeting venue? How can I reserve a hotel room, and what are the rates?

Register and book your room by June 26, 2021.  NAW’s special rate at the Chicago Fairmont is $209 per night.  You may make your reservation by: 

  • Individual phone-in reservation request to Global Reservations Centre at 1-800-441.1414. We recommend that callers identify themselves as being with NAW Association Executives Council Meeting for ease of booking (Be sure to indicate you are attending the NAW AEC meeting.)  

What is the cancellation policy for this event?

Your registration fee will be refunded 100% up to July 1, 2021. After this date, there will be no refunds.

My question is not here. Who should I contact to have my questions answered?

Please direct your questions about the NAW AEC Meeting to Trish Lilly at