Recipients of the Life Member Award are nominated by their peers and selected by the association’
“Joan Verplanck embodies everything this award stands for,” said Mick Fleming, President of ACCE. He added, “She ran a great shop everywhere she worked; she influenced the profession and the ways business people participate in public policy, and she mentored willingly, without regard to chamber size or title.”
Verplanck served business constituencies for 34 years, having led chambers in Rhode Island and New Jersey. Her most recent post was leading the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. Her work on behalf of the state chamber for the past 16 years advanced opportunities for New Jersey companies and promoted economic policies to make the state more business friendly. She was also instrumental in creating the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Several programs of the foundation are nationally acclaimed and replicated by organizations around the country.
Joan’s prominence in New Jersey is well recognized. She ranked No. 58 on the Politics NJ Power List, and was named one of the state's 10 most powerful women in business by the Star-Ledger and one of five “business power players” by New Jersey Monthly magazine.
Today, as senior director of commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., Joan serves on the boards of the Center for Civic Responsibility, the Clean Communities Council and on the board and executive committee of the National Chamber Foundation in Washington, D.C. She previously served on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and she was the first woman to chair the National Board of Trustees of the Institutes for Organization Management.
Fleming also noted the influence Joan had on women striving to enter a profession in which the upper echelons were overwhelmingly male. He went on to say that many women in the profession today may not even realize the impact of Joan’s entry into the top ranks of civic-business leadership. “She never made a big deal out of it, but Joan was 20 years ago, and is today, a working symbol of what is possible for gifted women who care passionately about the importance of private sector enterprise.”
The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) is a national association serving individuals involved in the management of chambers of all sizes. ACCE's mission is to support and develop chamber professionals to lead businesses and their communities. ACCE currently has over 7,000 professional members in 1,200 chambers of commerce from across North America.