Scott Steen, the executive director of The American Ceramic Society, has announced that he will be leaving the Society to become the chief executive officer of American Forests, the nation’s oldest nonprofit conservation organization, located in Washington, D.C.
“I have had a fantastic experience over the past four years at ACerS that has coincided with a resurgence in ceramic and glass science and engineering,” says Steen. “It has been my pleasure to work with an incredible group of volunteer leaders and staff during my tenure. We have accomplished a lot together, including enhancing the Society’s financial picture, introducing many new programs and offerings, expanding member benefits, improving its online presence and strengthening its relationship with industry.”
ACerS President Edwin Fuller praised Steen for his leadership in the Society. “Scott fulfilled his pledge to help us increase the organization’s standing in the materials science and engineering community, and expand its value as a resource for our members and the broader materials community. He will be greatly missed.”
“Scott brought outstanding leadership, organizational and communication skills to ACerS,” said Past President L. David Pye. “Through his strong support of volunteers and staff, his outreach programs to industry and other groups, and his leadership in long-range planning, he leaves the Society well-poised for moving to its next level of excellence.”
Steen’s data-driven approach to association management was praised by Katherine Faber, who served as the Society’s president when he was hired. “In his first months on the job, Scott led us through a major member research initiative resulting in a sound strategic plan based upon what we learned about our members, and we benefited greatly,” she says.
David Johnson, board parliamentarian and another past president of ACerS, says Steen and he had become friends and that he feels deeply about the loss for the Society. “Scott has a unique mix of technical society know-how, organizational skills, communication skills and people-caring that made him the right person for the job when he was hired. He leaves the Society in a healthier position than he found it and will do the same for American Forests.”
Steen will leave ACerS in mid-November. Fuller said that the Society’s board is already working on transition plans and a process to fill the vacancy, and he expects details to be announced in a few weeks.
Steen came to ACerS in 2006 from the American Society of Association Executives & the Center for Association Leadership where he served as chief knowledge and strategy officer.
Steen said he wasn’t looking to leave ACerS, “But when I got the call from the recruiter, American Forests seemed like a perfect fit. I have been involved in forest conservation for nearly a decade and AF has a huge impact. This new position offers me the chance to work for a cause in which I deeply believe in and a location that I love. This kind of opportunity doesn’t come around very often.” He said that the move would allow him to return to Washington, a place he lived for 16 years before moving to ACerS headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.
Marina Pascucci, who will became president of the organization in late October, notes that leaders across ACerS know that Steen was the right person at the right time for the Society. “From the very beginning, he encouraged us to critically assess the role of the Society’s ability to meet the needs of our members and the broader materials community. Under his leadership we have embarked on successful new initiatives, including new meetings, publications and a dynamic web presence. And, his implementation of workshops for our volunteer leaders has led to insightful and productive discussions about how to best position the Society for the future. He has clearly laid out a path for us to follow,” says Pascucci.