Mary E. Power, CAE, ASAE Fellow

President & CEO

Mary E. Power, CAE, ASAE Fellow, is the president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation.

Power has a strong background in both association management and corporate management. She is both a Certified Association Executive and a Fellow with the American Society of Association Executives, as well as a Certified Meeting Planner with the Convention Industry Council. She graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in Hospitality Business, and worked for more than 20 years for two major hotel chains – Sheraton and Intercontinental.

In 2001, she left the corporate world to become president and CEO of the Convention Industry Council, a federation of 34 associations serving the hospitality industry. Among her many accomplishments in her five years heading that association: she brought the organization out of debt, exceeded revenue goals, built up reserves to an impressive level, and significantly expanded the Certified Meeting Planner program. When she took over CIC, there were 2,000 Certified Meeting Planners in three countries; six years later there were more than 12 thousand CMPs in 33 countries. In her position as CEO, she served as the international spokesperson, and led major PR campaigns after 9/11 to promote the meetings industry. She also created an Accepted Practices Exchange, which is a “best practices” discipline for the profession, and raised $2.3 million to fund it.

In 2007, Power became Executive Director of the HR Certification Institute, an association with 126,000 certificate holders and a $16 million budget. During her tenure, she increased certifications by 15% and increased the recertification rate from 60% to 88% in over 100 countries. She served as international spokesperson, implemented a rebranding campaign, launched two new global certification programs in 49 countries, led a strategic planning initiative, spearheaded aggressive investment in IT systems, and cultivated a strategic partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management and other national and international HR associations.

Power has numerous awards to her credit, including: “Outstanding Female Executive of the Year” by the American Society of Association Executives, “Hall of Leaders” by the Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business, and one of the “Top Five Outstanding Women Industry Executives” by the New York Society of Association Executives. She was also named one of the “25 Most Influential People in the Meeting Industry” by Meeting News Magazine and one of the “Most Influential Women in the Meetings Industry” by Tradeshow Week Magazine.

Power is an active person who swims, runs and plays golf (or, as she says, to be more accurate, flails with a club). She’s an avid reader, in one longstanding book club and now in the CBBB staff book club, as well. In the past, she’s been a reader for Lighthouse for the Blind, and she also volunteers for breast cancer prevention causes. She and her husband are the proud puppy parents of a Springer Spaniel who they hope will settle down enough to be a volunteer therapy dog for wounded warriors.