Susan Sarfati, the outgoing CEO of The Center for Association Leadership and executive vice president at the American Society of Association Executives, will join the Boston-based speakers bureau, The American Program Bureau, starting September 1. Sarfati made the announcement yesterday at the ASAE annual meeting in San Diego, running August 16-19.

Sarfati, who tendered her resignation in April from ASAE and The Center, effective August 31, thanked the appreciative audience for their dedication, support, and friendship over the years. "You have made me feel, in a small way, that I have been able to connect with people," she said to a standing ovation of over 6,200 attendees at Monday's general session. "My guiding light has been to be significant in the lives of others, and I hope I have achieved that."

In her new position, she will launch APB's Washington, D.C., office and spearhead the company's effort to establish and grow a platform of speakers on social responsibility, sustainability, and women's issues. Sarfati will work to provide speakers on those issues for associations, corporations, and universities, she said. Also, Sarfati will launch her own consulting business, Beyond Excellence, working with organizations on social responsibility–related issues. In this side venture, she will take on only one or two projects a year, she said.

More change is in the air at ASAE and The Center. A governance task force, appointed in April in the wake of Sarfati's resignation announcement to assess the efficiency of the linked organizations’ governance, delivered some initial recommendations to ASAE and The Center boards at a meeting on August 15. One key recommendation is to have one CEO for both ASAE and The Center. Currently, there are two, John Graham and Sarfati, respectively. A second recommendation is to have the two boards populated by the same people; currently, each board has its own distinct membership. The recommendations are preliminary. The task force will meet again over the next few months to submit a final report to the boards in November. If changes are approved, they wouldn't go into effect until the next fiscal year, which begins September 2009.

The meeting in San Diego was attended by 6,236 attendees, down from last year's record-setting 7,000 attendees in Chicago, but up from two years ago in Boston. However, the San Diego conference set a record for exhibitors, with some 900 in attendance.