1.10: Learning to Lead with Steve Smith

1.10: Learning to Lead with Steve Smith

Valuing growth, relationships, and your own strengths are just a few key lessons that executive Steve Smith shares on this episode. Steve is known for his ability to create successful teams, help others’ voices be heard, and build strong communities, but that doesn’t mean it always came easy. He shares how it took time to recognize those skills in himself and find the right fit where those skills create success. It’s hard not to get energized listening to Steve’s ideas on inclusive environments, and where the future of the association field might take us!

Steve Smith, MS CAE
CEO of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) &
Vice President of Client Relations at Association Management Center (AMC)

“These days in order to be a successful leader, you have to have really strong relationship and people skills.”


Steve Smith, MS CAE FAAMSE, best known for his life-long passion for working with older adults, is the CEO of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and a vice president of AMC client relations. He recognizes in his multifaceted role that strong relationships are key to an association’s success. Steve uses a combination of his strengths—including strategy, communication and positivity—to ensure his AAHPM colleagues and AMC’s other executive directors are connected and well supported so they can guide their clients in achieving their missions.

Steve sees his team as a group of diverse and talented individuals with unique assets and skills. Together, they have helped AAHPM navigate through more than a decade of unprecedented growth and development, increasing in both size and scope of work. Today, the team includes 20 dedicated and committed professionals who have expanded educational offerings, amplified the Academy’s voice in advocacy, created new member communities and improved the quality of care for patients and family living with serious illnesses. Steve hopes his work will help not only AMC’s association clients but also the staff that support their missions thrive and excel.

Steve’s fascination for healthcare and aging started as a small child during visits with his great-grandmother in a nursing home and continued through high school and college, where he initiated visitation programs to local nursing care facilities. One of these programs still exists more than 30 years later.

Steve turned his hobby into a career by earning a bachelor’s in public relations with a minor in gerontology before obtaining a master’s in organizational communication and aging services. Steve worked for the Alzheimer’s Association National Office and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation before joining his current team at AMC. As someone who truly lives his mission in working for AAHPM, he says, “It is an honor and a privilege to work with healthcare professionals who care so deeply for the most vulnerable and sickest patients day in and day out.”

Steve is a certified association executive (CAE) and a fellow of the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE) where he currently serves as board president. He is a frequent speaker, facilitator, author and podcaster, covering a variety of topics related to governance, team-building, decision-making and strategic planning.

Outside of AMC, Steve enjoys spending time with his wife and three sons, reading, skiing, and connecting with friends—both old and new.

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