March/April • Volume 43 • Issue 3

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Congratulations to Janet Astner on Her 40 Years at ASA

Janet Astner

After ASA Council’s winter meeting on February 7, 2015 Council members and ASA Executive Office staff in attendance celebrated a truly impressive milestone with a small reception—Janet Astner’s 40th year at ASA! When Astner came to ASA in 1975, right out of college with a degree in music, she was ready to pitch in with many of the Executive Office’s functions. She began as a part-time assistant to the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP). Over the years she has worked in governance with sections and committees and then in the meetings department. In 1984 she became Director of Meeting Services, and in 2004 she added office operations to that title. No longer responsible for meeting services, Astner is now Deputy Executive Officer for Administration and Technology, responsible for the smooth running of the ASA Executive Office on a daily basis with regard to human resources, hardware and software, and helping to coordinate office operations with governance, programs, and budgeting.

“The Curl” by Thomas L. Van Valey, sculptor and emeritus sociology professor

At the February 7 reception, Sally T. Hillsman, ASA Executive Officer, introduced William V. D’Antonio, a past ASA Executive Officer (1982-1991) and now Senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America. D’Antonio poignantly and humorously recalled a particularly trying set of circumstances in planning for the 1985 Annual Meeting when the venue had a fire a week before the Annual Meeting was scheduled He said he “shall be forever in awe of Janet’s leadership and the ASA staff’s willingness to do whatever was needed to make that Annual Meeting a reality, much less the great success it was. On behalf of all the ASA presidents who worked with Janet during the years of my tenure, I am honored to have this opportunity to offer our warmest words of appreciation for her quiet, demanding, and stellar leadership.”

Hillsman then read words of tribute from professional colleagues in the meeting services industry who had worked with Astner over the years, including Cari Auger from Connections Housing, who stated that “Janet has always been a constant professional and full of kindness which I have admired and needed over the years. You are not only a wonderful client but a priceless friend.” And Karen Batman, former sales manager at the Hilton San Francisco who is now at ConferenceDirect, added that “I applaud Janet’s ‘stick to it’ attitude, her professional demeanor, and her ability to look at all sides and never seem to get her feathers ruffled. I will be celebrating my 30 years in this industry this year, and hope that in my 40th year, I can look back and say that I accomplished half of what Janet has accomplished!” 

Toward the end of the reception, Hillsman presented Astner with a small token of appreciation for her milestone, a beautiful, original sculpture made by longtime ASA member, retired professor and now accomplished artist Thomas Van Valey. Hillsman remarked that “Leaders, members, and staff have all been very fortunate to have Janet as a colleague and friend. Her phenomenal institutional memory is legendary and her wisdom regarding all things ASA is hard to match. So too is her quiet wit and her unflappable response to any and all catastrophes. We are grateful for Janet’s service to the discipline and profession and applaud her fortitude.”

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