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Excellence in Leadership
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Excellence in Leadership


Excellence in Leadership awards are presented to members whose efforts have exceeded several criteria: she or he created an important initiative, led it to a successful program over five years, and is handing it over to another generation. With the bar set so high, only four members have been awarded.

In 2017, Cindy Frewen, FAIA, PhD, and urban futurists, received APF's Excellence in Leadership Award for her 7 years of leadership as APF's chair. When Cindy came into leadership of APF, the association was in disarray. She fashioned an effective board, and built up a volunteer culture, where APF thrived through international gatherings, publications, task forces and new member meetups.  APF was nine years old but it had plateaued, the "founder to flounder" stage. The website was down, no events occurred, and the membership was frustrated.  Cindy saw over the horizon of disillusionment to create the 2nd generation of APF. She knew APF would turn the corner when she hosted the first 18-hour "follow the sun" Futures Festival in October 2011 and a 100 futurists gave their time and shared brilliant, hard-learned lessons. From there, APF kept going up. It began to host biannual international gatherings, regional events and professional development workshops wherever futurists gathered at larger conferences. Further milestones during the Frewen era was a major re-branding of APF's online identity through a new website that featured member profiles. During Cindy's final year APF had grown from 170 members in 17 countries to over 400 members in 40 countries. It hosted 11 events on five continents (Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America), with an annual Futures Festival led by a diverse new generation of futurists.  Cindy shifted the founding culture of APF from "we are not them" to a dynamic global "this is who we are" as professional futurists.


In 2012, Verne Wheelwright, Personal Futures, was recognized for creating and implementing the Student Recognition Program. With the Student Recognition Program, Verne developed a program that has introduced the APF to students and opened the APF to talent emerging from universities around the world. Verne’s initiative defines the Excellence in Leadership award which is why he was the first to receive it.


In 2015, Maree Conway and Ken Harris were recognized for their service.

Maree Conway, Thinking Futures, took APF’s membership data from an unruly mess of several lists and incomplete information to a full-fledged database that links profiles and engagement to financial and membership for each member. The fully integrated back-end enabled members to maintain and access their own data. Furthermore, Maree nurtured the program through the first five years, communicating with members and managing their questions and concerns. Maree’s work put the APF on firm footing as a proficiently-run organization.

Ken Harris, The Consilience Group and Tech Cast, founded the Most Significant Futures Works awards program in 2007 which recognizes excellent publications in professional futures works. Initially a virtual book club, under Ken’s leadership, MSFW grew to an annual program with awards in three categories: methods, content, and images of the future. Ken managed heated differences with smooth leadership, practicality and evidence. This award was presented posthumously to Ken’s widow. Ken is deeply missed in the APF community.