The Key Award is one of ASAE’s highest accolades, recognizing an individual for exceptional leadership. The 2023 Key Award has been presented to Mark Dorsey, FASAE, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the Construction Specifications Institute. Mark’s career in the world of associations is a testament to the incredible impact this profession can have on individuals, the members and broader communities they serve, and our country.
Mark Dorsey’s association journey began over 30 years ago when he took on the role of Marketing Director for the Ski and Snowboard Association. Mark didn’t know it at the time, but this foray into associations would shape the course of his professional life. The opportunities a career in associations presented to Mark, and how he took advantage of them, offer some important lessons for young professionals just begin their career journeys today.
His remarkable engagement with ASAE starting with a recommendation from a colleague to attend the Future Leaders Conference. Based past leadership in student associations at Lewis and Clark College, Mark leaned in to the chance to build on his conference participation by serving on various committees and eventually the ASAE Board. Mark credits his growth and progress to a range of mentors, including the late John Graham.
Mark’s perspective on associations and their role in society is both insightful and inspiring. According to Mark, associations possess a unique power to convene diverse groups with competing interests and address significant, complex problems. Their inclusivity, mission-focused nature, and advocacy for standards and practices make them powerful drivers of change.
For young professionals, Mark offers valuable advice: “Listen more, talk less.” Associations thrive on asking the right questions and actively listening to diverse perspectives. Mark’s own experience demonstrates that a career in associations can emerge from volunteering and finding a purpose that resonates personally and professionally.
Mark’s journey is a testament to the transformational power of associations. His leadership and dedication to ASAE and the wider association community have earned him this well-deserved recognition. As he continues to serve and inspire, Mark Dorsey exemplifies the impact that a profession in associations can have on individuals and society as a whole. Congratulations to Mark on this remarkable achievement.