Gary A. LaBranche, FASAE, CAE
President & CEO
Gary LaBranche, FASAE, CAE, currently serves as president & CEO of the Association for Corporate Growth. Prior to joining ACG Global in 2008, his more than 30 years of experience includes work with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), as well as serving as president & CEO of the Association Forum of Chicagoland.
Recognized as one of the most influential and innovative association professionals in the world, Association TRENDS named him the 2012 Association Executive of the Year. LaBranche was also profiled as an innovative leader in the book "Hope: How Triumphant Leaders Create the Future" by Andrew Razeghi and received the 2007 ASAE Key Award for his career achievement as an association CEO.
He is the 2013-2014 Board Chairman for ASAE’s for-profit subsidiary, ASAE Business Services, Inc., and serves on the 2013-2014 ASAE Board of Directors and the Board of the Institute for Exceptional Growth Companies. In addition, he is a member of the U.S. Chamber’s Association Committee of 100.
A much sought-after speaker, LaBranche has authored more than 350 podcasts and articles, and has consulted with over 300 associations around the world.
Chief Financial Officer
Since 2008, John O’Loughlin has served as CFO for ACG Global. His purview extends to all finance, accounting, risk management and administration of ACG Global and its subsidiaries in the UK, Hong Kong and China.
Prior to joining ACG Global, O’Loughlin held senior financial positions with companies in the U.S., Europe and Africa, including PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM, Diageo plc, Engineering Animation, Inc., Transora and Financial Intelligence Inc. He earned a Bachelor in Business Studies from Trinity College Dublin in Ireland and is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in London.
Prior to joining ACG, Kristin was Director of Marketing & Communications at the American Public Gas Association (APGA) in Washington, DC. She marketed all APGA programs, products and services and communications & media efforts. She was also responsible for promoting the benefits of natural gas to Congress and helped to lead a major effort to re-brand the image of natural gas with policymakers, media and other strategic targets.
At APGA, and previously at the DC Chamber of Commerce and the American Society of Interior Designers, she was involved in a wide array of public policy activities such as developing strategy, managing coalitions, tracking legislation, organizing grassroots campaigns and managing lobbying registration. She has been a registered Federal lobbyist and has prepared testimony and talking points for Congressional hearings & briefings, developed op-eds, public service announcements and managed media relations.
Gomez is a graduate of the University of Illinois and a certificate from the Buckley School of Public Speaking. She is a member of ASAE - the Center for Association Leadership and Association Media & Publishing. Find her online on Twitter (@kristingomez) and LinkedIn (kristingomez).
Christine Melendes, CAE
Vice President, Conferences and Partnerships
As vice president, conferences and partnerships, Christine Melendes, CAE, spearheads ACG Global’s efforts in delivering content, learning experiences and all ACG’s signature events. She also leads the organization’s partnership & sponsorship programs.
She joined ACG Global in 2012 as vice president, communications & marketing. Under her direction, she launched a new communications strategy, including the monthly digital publication, Middle Market Growth, intensified public policy efforts to establish ACG as the voice of the middle market and published Driving Growth: The Impact of Private Capital on the U.S. Economy. The latter is the first of its kind, graphically depicting this important data for each Congressional district.
Before ACG, Melendes’ experience included the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), where her strong strategic marketing initiatives grew revenues, membership and retention.
Melendes is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with degrees in English and mass communications. She also received a certificate in Strategies in Nonprofit Management from the University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies. In addition, the Second City Improv program served to strengthen her public speaking.
She is a member of Association Forum of Chicagoland, ASAE - the Center for Association Leadership, Professional Convention Management Association and Association Media & Publishing.
Find her online on Twitter (@camelendes) and LinkedIn (christinemelendes).
Leslie Whittet, CAE
Vice President, Chapter Operations
Leslie Whittet, CAE, has been with ACG since 2002. She began her career at the association as the executive director of ACG Boston before moving to Chicago in 2005 to take the newly created role of VP, chapter operations, for ACG Global. In her current role, Whittet manages and facilitates all facets of chapter operations, from leadership development to governance to website and technology support – all focused on fostering growth among ACG’s 56 chapters across the globe.
Whittet has brought her more than 15 years of experience as an association professional to bear at ACG, building upon her successes to help drive middle-market growth within each individual chapter. As an executive director, she nearly tripled the membership of ACG Boston from 350 to 950 and doubled the number of annual events. As VP, she works primarily with the volunteer chapter leaders, helping develop efficient leadership and governance practices, and effective strategic planning to ensure continued growth. Her team provides all of the necessary technological support to power the chapter’s success.
Prior to ACG, Whittet worked with the Massachusetts Electronic Commerce Association, in a variety of capacities, amassing an impressive skill set and expertise that continues to benefit her team and ACG as a whole.
She is an active member of Association Forum of Chicagoland and American Society of Association Executives. Find her on Twitter (@lwhittet