The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) announced that Vicki R. Deal-Williams, MA, CCC-SLP, FASAE, CAE, will be ASHA’s next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). She will succeed Arlene A. Pietranton, PhD, CAE, who has been CEO since 2004 and will retire at the end of this year.
“I am very grateful to the ASHA Board of Directors for the honor and privilege of serving in this role,” Deal-Williams said. “Like most professional associations and society in general,” she continued, “ASHA is presently operating amidst constant change and much uncertainty, which pose substantial challenges. However, those challenges also come with significant opportunity to rethink what we do and how we do it, and to reinvent ourselves.
“ASHA members and staff are among the most committed, caring, and creative individuals I know. I am confident that working together, we will adapt and forge new paths forward to help those we serve achieve their goals and improve their quality of life and move ASHA closer to realizing our vision of making effective communication, a human right, accessible and achievable for all.”
Deal-Williams has been a member of ASHA’s executive leadership team in the role of Chief Staff Officer, Multicultural Affairs, for nearly 25 years. During that time, she has continually provided visionary, innovative, and impactful leadership in numerous areas including member engagement; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); strategic and change management; budgeting and resource allocation; and professional development.
An ASHA-certified speech-language pathologist and Fellow, Deal-Williams is a frequent presenter, panelist, and widely cited subject matter expert on DEI. She has been honored for her work by ASHA, the National Black Association for Speech-Language and Hearing, and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), among others. Recently, ASAE recognized her with its 2021 Professional Performance Award, which honors those who “distinguish themselves every day and make exceptional contributions to their associations and the association management field.”
“The ASHA Board conducted a very thorough hiring process over the past several months,” ASHA 2021 President A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP said, noting that Spencer Stuart, a Washington, DC-based executive search firm, was retained. “We did an exhaustive national search and interviewed a number of highly qualified candidates. To gain input on the desired CEO qualities in the position description, Spencer Stuart held several member focus groups that represented diverse practice areas, interests, and backgrounds. Ultimately, Vicki’s deep experience and substantial history of achievement, including a proven track record of advancing DEI, along with her extensive qualifications overall to lead the Association in a post-COVID world, made her the ideal candidate to be ASHA’s next CEO. On behalf of the Board, I am delighted to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Vicki and share our excitement about the choice we have made.”
ASHA CEO Pietranton, who was not involved in the hiring process, expressed her strong support for the ASHA Board’s decision. “I have worked closely with Vicki for many years and seen first-hand the commitment to member service and the multifaceted leadership skills she unfailingly delivers each and every day,” she said. “As I prepare to leave my role, it is very reassuring to know that ASHA members will be well served by someone of Vicki’s caliber. I have no doubt that a new era of positive and effective stewardship is in the offing.”
That era will begin January 1, 2022, when Deal-Williams will become the fourth CEO in ASHA’s 96-year history.