WASHINGTON, D.C. — Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive officer of the American Beverage Association (ABA), was recognized by the Washington Business Journal last evening as one of this year’s 25 “Women Who Mean Business.”  Neely is profiled in today’s edition of the Washington Business Journal.

“I am honored to be among the distinguished list of women leaders who have received this recognition,” Neely said.  “I strongly believe that women can make a difference in their industries, professions and communities, and that their efforts will have impact across gender and generations.” 

In its 11th year, the Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Awards program has more than 280 alumnae, including some of the most powerful in Washington.  The program is designed to honor influential women from every industry and profession – including women who have made a difference in their communities, blazed a trail for other women and are leaving a mark on business in the nation’s capital.  The new class of honorees is selected every autumn by the Washington Business Journal.  This year, they were honored last night at an awards program at the Four Seasons Hotel. 

Neely has served as ABA president and CEO since 2005. The association is the leading policy and public education advocate for the non-alcoholic beverage industry which employs more than 233,000 people across the country with a direct economic impact of $141.22 billion.  During her tenure, Neely has worked with ABA membership to further industry’s longstanding commitment to being part of the solution to childhood obesity.  With innovative industry initiatives, ABA members have shown their commitment to this national public health challenge is significant and will have a lasting and measurable impact.  Notably, the industry has voluntarily reduced calories from its beverages sold in schools by 90 percent through its national School Beverage Guidelines.  In support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, the industry announced its Clear on Calories initiative, voluntarily placing clear calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack they produce.  The ABA and its member companies also were part of Mrs. Obama’s launch of “Drink Up!,” the initiative of the Partnership for a Healthier America.  Most recently, in partnership with President Clinton and his Alliance for a Healthier Generation, industry announced a nationwide initiative to reduce calories consumed from beverages in Americans’ diets.  This is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity.

Neely’s professional background encompasses government service in both the executive and legislative branches of federal government, as well as state government, and significant health care policy and advocacy experience.  A native of Iowa, Neely holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and French civilization from the University of Iowa and a master’s degree in public administration from Drake University.  She has been elected the first woman president of both the 102-year-old Washington Rotary Club and the 110-year-old University Club of Washington, D.C.  She currently serves as chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100, chair of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and president of the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America.  Neely also serves as a director on the boards of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Recently, she was recognized as the TRENDS 2014 Association Executive of the Year and also received the 2011 Global Citizen of the Year Award from the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University.  Neely is the mother of two children, Eve (age 17) and Ben (age 14).


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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.  For more information on ABA, please visit the association’s Web site at www.ameribev.org or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.