Thomas Bohn, CAE, MBA starts with the end game. He envisions what he wants to accomplish and then finds the means to attain it.
Tom joined ACG in December 2019, after overseeing unprecedented growth at the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC). At NAVC, Tom fostered operational change and organizational growth by bolstering staff resources and revenue returns. Within six years, he grew revenue from $11 million to $26 million.
Born in Queens, New York, Tom’s no-nonsense nature can be attributed to his NYC roots. Tom wields his straightforward management approach to drive exceptional growth through expansion of domestic and international presence; increase brand awareness and reach; and improve audience engagement via multiple revenue-producing media channels.
Familiar with the chapter association operational model, Tom views decisive open and active two-way communication with chapter stakeholders as critical to his future success at ACG. Applying data to understand user preferences and activation triggers has allowed Tom to build media platforms and tailored programming adept to his prior associations’ needs. He’ll use that same perpetual curiosity about audience and commitment to leverage technology to enhance ACG’s engagement.
Tom’s guiding principles for ACG include communication, transparency, innovation, focus on growth and customer service and provide him with the roadmap for successful chapter partnership, increased membership and retention, and event and media expansion.
Tom, his wife Jennifer and their two dogs will be moving to Chicago when his son, Hudson, enters college. Two of his favorite things to do outside of work: watch his son play lacrosse and listen to Bruce Springsteen on vinyl. He expects that he’ll soon become an 93XRT VIP.
Matthew Hickman, MBA
Chief Operating Officer
Matthew joined ACG in February of 2020 and brings 20+ years of experience from the media and publishing industries in corporate development and growth strategy. A leadership enthusiast at heart, Matthew believes in the power of empathy and creating a purpose for team members to create long-term and sustainable results.
Prior to his current role, Matthew served as the Vice President of Membership and Chapters at the American Academy of Optometry. He previously operated one of the largest special interest media groups in North America as Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Bonnier Corporation. At Bonnier, he led a team of 250 across marketing, sales and content and managed more than 20 event franchises associated with a niche brand portfolio. Matthew oversaw all operations and M&A activities for the company’s largest and most profitable business unit, increasing EBITA from ($2-mm) to +$7.5-mm between 2013 and 2017.
Matthew earned his M.B.A. at Rollins’ Crummer Graduate School of Business. He recently relocated from Orlando, FL to Evanston, IL with his wife and daughter, and in his spare time he enjoys traveling, boating, and health and fitness.
Chief Financial Officer
Lisa Harris, CPA (inactive) joined ACG as CFO in September 2020. A finance executive with over 25 years of experience in fashion/CPG, ecommerce, retail and wholesale, Lisa’s extensive background includes executive roles at large publicly held companies (Gap, Inc., Lucky Brand) as well as numerous founder-led start-ups in various growth stages (Tory Burch, Zac Posen, Dolce Vita). Lisa has led numerous M&A transactions, capital and debt raises, as well as all traditional areas of finance. She has hands-on experience in fundraising and diligence processes, strategic and long range planning, recruiting and developing talent, business integration, cost reduction and investor relations. She is also experienced in various ops and back of house functions and enjoys being a part of all aspects of the business.
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.
Vice President, ACG Media
Jackie D’Antonio heads up ACG Media, including the member-focused magazine Middle Market Growth, ACG’s new video channel GrowthTV, podcasts, special reports and more.
Jackie joined ACG in 2020 and brings nearly 20 years of media expertise to the organization. In addition to launching GrowthTV, which has seen views of the platform grow to more than 300,000 in just six months, Jackie is driving several other expansions for the media group to bolster communication and connection with ACG’s membership and beyond.
Prior to joining ACG, Jackie led the efforts to expand the media group at the North American Veterinary Community, launching several new platforms and products that helped grow and diversify the audience as well as the revenue streams for the organization.
Before moving to the association world, Jackie worked exclusively in media for 15 years, most notably leading diverse content teams that executed impactful multi-channel editorial plans, as well as the evolving integrated program development for one of the most profitable business units at Bonnier Corporation, a special interest media company with offices in Florida, Colorado, California, and New York.
She now lives in Oregon with her family and loves the outdoors, good food, good company, and of course, good stories.
Vice President, Sales
Harry Nikpour joined the ACG staff in September 2020 as Vice President of Sales. Harry comes to ACG from Arizent, formally known as SourceMedia, LLC where he was the VP of Capital Markets managing sales for a $20mm portfolio of financial b-b titles, including Mergers & Acquisitions Magazine, The Bond Buyer, Traders Magazine and a group of specialty newsletters. Harry brings 20 + years of experience in sales, developing and launching print, digital, events and research products, managing sales teams, identifying acquisition targets, divesting non-core titles and P&L responsibility. In addition, Harry has been an active member of ACG since 1999 and has partnered with local chapters and ACG Global.
Leslie Whittet, CAE
Senior 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 2008 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.
Chief of Staff
Every organization needs a compass. Shannon is that to ACG. Since 2010 she’s been a steadfast steward to board volunteers, chapter executives and staff. Shannon began her career in politics and government with the Illinois State Senate, then leveraged her governance understanding to serve the business community through the Illinois Commerce Commission. Shannon later joined Smith Bucklin as an association manager juggling myriad responsibilities, including ACG. When ACG transitioned to a staff-driven organization, Shannon was one of the first employees to join. Her governance experience is invaluable to ACG’s Global Board of Directors; her collaborative style and organization skills are unmatched - evidenced by successful implementation of ACG’s web and CRM platforms. Shannon ensures the senior management team is aligned with the board’s strategic objectives, and supports staff exceeding the expectations of internal and external stakeholders.