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Episode Ten: Christie Tarantino-Dean

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In this episode of the CEOnly Podcast, Michelle Mason, CAE, FASAE, interviews Christie Tarantino-Dean, FASAE, CAE, the CEO of the Institute of Food Technologists. Tarantino-Dean was Mason’s predecessor at Association Forum, serving as president and CEO until 2014. The topic of discussion is diversity and inclusion, spotlighting the work that IFT is doing in supporting and growing their diverse membership, including the creation of a leadership pipeline.

This episode of the CEOnly Podcast is sponsored by:


  • Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE

    President and CEO, Association Forum

    Michelle Mason is the President and CEO of Association Forum. Association Forum is the “association of associations” in Chicago. Founded in 1916, it has nearly 4,000 members. These members represent more than 44,000 association professionals from nearly 1,600 Chicago associations. These organizations serve 27 million individual members, have 9 million donors and generate $10.3 billion annually in economic impact. She provides strategic leadership, fiscal responsibility, and successful delivery of member value. Prior to Association Forum, Michelle served as a managing director at the American Society for Quality (ASQ). In this role, she concentrated on business development, membership, component relations, innovation, advocacy, social responsibility, and process improvement efforts. Prior to she was Vice President of Strategic and Future Focused Research at the American Society for Association Executives (ASAE).

    Michelle is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Six Sigma Champion, and a Certified Quality Improvement Associate (CQIA). She is an ASAE Fellow (FASAE) and an Aspen Institute Ideas Fellow. Michelle completed the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute. She has a BA, MBA and MS. Michelle was the project lead for the bestselling publication, Seven Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do That Others Don’t.

    Michelle has strong board experience including, ASAE Board of Directors, ABSI, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, PAVE, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, MIAD, King's Academy Charter School, TEMPO, and Penfield Children’s Center. She is devoted to education and learning, Michelle has served as an adjunct instructor at Mount Mary University in Wisconsin and Strayer University in Washington, DC.

  • Christie Tarantino-Dean

    Christie Tarantino-Dean joined the Institute of Food Technologists in April 2014 after more than 20 years of association management experience. Prior to IFT, Christie led the Association Forum of Chicagoland whose members represent more than 46,000 association professionals, giving her great exposure to the challenges and successes of the more than 1,000 professional societies and trade associations located in Chicago.

    Prior to her role at Association Forum, she served as the Executive Director of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), which has 35,000 members and 62 chapters. Tarantino-Dean also gained extensive experience in convention management as the Associate Vice President of Member Relations at the Professional Convention Management Association, and began her association career as Membership Services Director with the Alabama State Bar Association.

    She received a master's of public administration degree and a bachelor's degree in political science from Auburn University at Montgomery. She earned her Certified Association Executive designation in 2002 and was named a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives in 2013.