Louise Ristau Appointed CBA Executive Director

Issued: December 28, 2022

The Cord Blood Association has named veteran association executive Louise Ristau, CAE, as its next executive director. She succeeds Alan Leahigh, the association’s founding executive director, who is retiring as of December 31.

Louise Ristau

The appointment of Ms. Ristau, announced by CBA President Joanne Kurtzberg, concludes a robust search process that began early this year when Mr. Leahigh announced that he would retire at the end of 2022. Ms. Ristau has been onboarding since attending the Cord Blood Connect international congress in September.

A search committee led by Marcie Finney, CBA treasurer and executive director of the Cleveland Cord Blood Center, evaluated a dozen association management companies that responded to a request for proposals to manage CBA. The Board of Directors accepted the committee’s recommendation to retain Association Management Center (AMC), based in Chicago, which manages more than 20 health care-related organizations and other trade associations.

25 Years in Management

Ms. Ristau, who has been employed by AMC since 1999 and holds the designation of Certified Association Executive (CAE), has provided strategic leadership to associations for more than 25 years. Her experience with board governance, planning, financial management and operation execution have helped organizations exceed their strategic goals.

Ms. Ristau is described by her colleagues as a goal-oriented leader who inspires her team to aim high with programs and initiatives that help association volunteers reach their full potential. “Asking thoughtful questions and truly listening to the answers is the best way to understand a client’s industry and goals,” Ms. Ristau says.

Lifetime Achievement

Mr. Leahigh, who has been CBA’s executive director since its founding, is retiring after five decades of association management that began in public relations for the American Dental Association in 1971.

He was the first executive director of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) from 1996 until his first retirement in 2010.  During that time he was also chief executive officer for the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and The NetCord Foundation, an association of public cord blood banks. He came out of retirement to help organize CBA in 2014.

At this year’s Cord Blood Connect international congress, Mr. Leahigh was presented with CBA’s annual Lifetime Achievement Award.

New Headquarters

As of January 1, the Cord Blood Association’s headquarters address will be 8735 West Higgins Road, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60631-2738 USA. The CBA phone number will remain (630) 463-9040. E-mail inquiries can be sent to [email protected].