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ASHA Announces CEO's Plans to Retire

April 29, 2021

(Rockville, MD) Arlene A. Pietranton, PhD, CAE, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) for the past 17 years, will retire near the end of 2021, the organization announced today.

Based in Rockville MD, ASHA is the professional, scientific, and credentialing association for over 218,000 audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; and student, international and support personnel affiliates.

During her years as CEO, Pietranton has guided ASHA through significant growth and change, along with the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic. Also, membership increased by more than 90% (from 114,000 to 218,000); the operating budget by 85% ($34 million to $63 million); and the staff by 36% (224 to 305). To keep up with such growth and better serve its members, ASHA built a new National Office that was among the first LEED certified green buildings for non-profit organizations in Maryland.

“ASHA’s accomplishments during Arlene’s time as CEO speak for themselves,” ASHA President A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP said. “Under her leadership, ASHA transformed and expanded services and resources to its members and enhanced its position as a leader in health care and education policy. On behalf of ASHA’s entire board of directors, we are grateful for Arlene’s exemplary stewardship. We will miss her leadership, strength, and vision, and we hope to honor her legacy by building upon the standard of excellence she has fostered.”

Williams added that “Arlene is held in high regard by her peers in association management,” an assessment that is shared well beyond ASHA. Pietranton is the current Past Chair of the Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives (CESSE) and a former Chair of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). In 2018, she was presented with ASAE’s Key award which honors the association CEO “who demonstrates exceptional qualities of leadership” and “a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations as a whole.” That same year, Pietranton was recognized as Association Executive of the Year by Association Trends and in 2015, as the Professional Society CEO of the Year by CEO Update. She is one of only two individuals to have received all three awards.

“I am grateful for the privilege and honor to serve ASHA members,” Pietranton said. “What has been achieved during my time as ASHA CEO reflects a remarkable team effort—the thoughtful and dedicated work of thousands of ASHA volunteers and staff. The best part of my job has been working with such good, talented, and committed people.”

Pietranton will continue as CEO for the foreseeable future while the search for her successor gets underway. For that, ASHA has engaged the executive search firm Spencer Stuart, Washington, D.C, contact: Leslie Hortum.

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 218,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.


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