The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) announced that IFT CEO Christie Tarantino-Dean has been named the Samuel B. Shapiro Award winner for Chief Staff Executive Achievement. The highest honor bestowed on an association professional by Association Forum, the Award is presented to the chief staff executive for outstanding service and accomplishments in association/nonprofit management. 

Tarantino-Dean has worked in association management for more than 30 years, beginning her association career as membership services director with the Alabama State Bar Association. She then served as the associate vice president of member relations at the Professional Convention Management Association before ascending to executive director roles with the Academy of General Dentistry as well as the Association Forum of Chicagoland.

“I have long admired those who have won this prestigious award over the years and I’m incredibly humbled to follow in the footsteps of those mentors and colleagues who have helped shape the leader I am today,” says Tarantino-Dean. “Working with so many purpose-driven leaders throughout my association career has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, and I feel so honored to be a part of this wonderful community.” 

Tarantino-Dean earned her Bachelor of Science degree in political science and her Master of Public Administration degree from Auburn University at Montgomery. Tarantino-Dean has also earned her CAE (Certified Association Executive) and FASAE (Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives).

“No one is more deserving of this recognition than Christie. She has brought immense value to IFT through her leadership in the association community, helping elevate IFT and how it serves its members through modern, successful association management practices. Christie invests in her staff and all of our IFT members, advocates for those who are underrepresented or underserved, and her philanthropic efforts have made a tremendous impact on numerous individuals and communities throughout her career,” notes IFT President Sean Leighton.  

Tarantino-Dean will be recognized at Association Forum’s annual Honors Gala, which is being held June 20 at Chicago’s Theater on the Lake.

“Serving in her current role since 2014, Christie continues to be mission- and vision-driven in all programs, services, and activities. A lifelong professional, she has dedicated her career to advancing the mission of organizations and developing others to fulfill their potential. Association Forum is proud to bestow her with its highest honor,” concludes Association Forum President and CEO Artesha Moore, FASAE, CAE.