Press Release

Smithbucklin Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Robin Rone, Named 2022 Woman of Influence Recipient

Feb. 14, 2022

CHICAGO – Smithbucklin is pleased to announce Robin Rone, head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, is the recipient of the 2022 Woman of Influence award, presented by Association Forum.

The Association Forum Woman of Influence award honors trailblazers in the association industry who have demonstrated a proven track record of innovation, impact, coaching, mentoring, and service to others. Rone was chosen from a select group of talented women in recognition for her efforts to cultivate diverse and inclusive workplaces for Smithbucklin and the associations, societies, and communities it serves.

In her role as Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Smithbucklin, Rone leads the development and implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion policies across the company. Her responsibilities include helping to ensure progress on anti-racism strategies, engaging executive directors in support of client diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and helping to shape the company’s strategy to attract and promote diverse talent to drive an inclusive culture of personal, professional and association growth. Rone is chair of Smithbucklin inCouncil, an advisory group that champions change, progress, and accountability toward achieving a culture of inclusion.  

“The Woman of Influence Award reflects Robin’s leadership, contributions, and outcomes of advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within Smithbucklin as well as with our clients,” said Matt Sanderson, president and CEO, Smithbucklin. “Our culture is defined by inclusive, solution-oriented values and Robin is instrumental in making a difference within our diversity, equity, and inclusion journey.” 

Rone is also the executive director for Apra, an association of professionals who drive their institutions' philanthropic missions through prospect development and research, data analytics and management, annual giving, advancement, and special gifts. She has over 25 years of experience in not-for-profit and association management. 

“Association Forum is delighted to present this award to Robin. Through her leadership roles, she is a changemaker in her work of diversity, equity, and inclusion within her organization and the association community,” says Suzanne Berry, Interim President and CEO, Association Forum. 

The award will be presented to Rone at the 10th Annual Women’s Executive Forum on March 2, 2022 at the W Chicago-City Center. Rone will also serve as a keynote speaker, offering reflections on her career as well as advice for other women.

The Woman of Influence award is presented annually by the Association Forum and Rone joins the ranks of previous Woman of Influence recipients Mary Lynn Fayoumi, president and CEO, HR Source; Deborah Bowen, president and CEO, American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE);  Kathleen O’Loughlin, executive director, American Dental Association (ADA); and Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO, National Restaurant Association. 

Headshots available upon request. 

About Smithbucklin

Smithbucklin empowers associations, societies, and communities to enrich and move industries, fields, and professions forward. Working together, we help organizations reimagine solutions to nurture growth, advance missions, and achieve lasting impact. From complete association management solutions, to a full array of expert capabilities, to staff resources propelled by talent, versatility and positive energy, we strive to amplify our clients’ causes.


For media inquires and interview, headshot, and photo requests, please contact:

Ande Leslie