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IFAI announces retirement of president and CEO Mary Hennessy

Company News, News, People | October 1, 2017 | By:

Mary Hennessy

The Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) has announced the retirement, effective June 1, 2018, of its president and CEO, Mary Hennessy. The IFAI Board of Directors has begun a search for her replacement and plan to name the person by May 1, 2018.

Steve Ellington, president of Trivantage LLC and chair of the IFAI Board of Directors, will lead a board-appointed committee to work with a private search firm to recruit candidates. Ellington said, “We are sad to lose our CEO, Mary Hennessy, but grateful that she has given us enough notice to afford sufficient time to find the next president of IFAI. IFAI is experiencing success with membership growth, staff competency and our financial position, so the next person to fill this job will be taking over a strong, well-run organization.”

Hennessy was named president in June 2012 after serving in the interim role for eight months. She has worked at IFAI since February 1988 and has been a long-time member of IFAI’s staff and leadership team, including 17 years as publisher of the IFAI magazines. Hennessy said, “It was a difficult decision to leave IFAI, the welfare of which has been my life’s work, but this is the right time for me and for IFAI. I know I am leaving it in good shape and in good hands.”

Katie Bradford, MFC, IFM, owner of Custom Marine Canvas and the immediate past chair of the IFAI Board of Directors, noted, “Our CEO took over leadership of IFAI at a difficult time. We set some pretty ambitious goals for Hennessy and the organization, and we are now pleased to say that all of them have been achieved.” Bradford echoed Ellington’s confidence, saying, “The association is healthy and prepared for the future.”

The ideal candidate for this position will have a minimum of 10 years in senior leadership at a nonprofit organization, experience with public speaking, team building, financial management and a sincere desire to be of service.

IFAI is a 105-year-old manufacturing trade association that serves many market niches within the textile industry. The organization publishes print and digital magazines, organizes trade shows and conferences, and manages 14 divisions and two country sectors that serve more than 1,500 member companies with a wide variety of programming. For more information, visit

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