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American Counseling Association CEO Richard Yep to Depart Organization After More Than Three Decades of Service

by Danny Le | Aug 09, 2021

Alexandria, VA — The American Counseling Association (ACA) CEO Richard Yep, CAE, FASAE has announced that he will leave the association when his current contract expires on June 30, 2022.  Yep informed the ACA Governing Council in early July 2021, he is committed to fulfilling the remaining time on his contract.

“I am announcing my departure now so that ACA has enough time to launch and conclude a search for the association’s next CEO,” said Yep, “I have been honored to serve the members of ACA and could never have imagined such a rewarding career when I began my service so many years ago.” 

ACA President S. Kent Butler, Ph.D., expressed the association’s gratitude. Yep has served the organization for 33 years, with the last 23 as its CEO. In acknowledging Yep's work, the board noted the past year’s overall membership growth of nearly ten percent, the highly successful ACA Virtual Conference Experience that attracted more attendees than any other ACA conference in the past 40 years, and the growth of the association’s reserves to more than $10 million.

“There is no doubt that Rich was a significant factor in the development and success of ACA. He took on the job of CEO during an extremely precarious period for the association. By building a strong team and working closely with the Governing Council, Rich not only brought us back to financial health and worked with us to create a robust strategic plan, but he worked behind the scenes to establish ACA as a true voice for the profession and a strong advocate for the clients and students of our members,” said President Butler.

The current financial health of ACA is due, in large part, to Yep’s ability to negotiate partnerships with vendors and has resulted in revenues of more than $20 million since 2005. Additionally, his leadership has produced the following:

  • The successful launch of the Counseling Compact—a nationwide effort that will provide counselors the privilege to practice in states other than where they are licensed
  • An increase in ACA’s reach to professional counselors beyond its 57,000 members to a network of 220,000 with whom ACA regularly communicates
  • The creation of an innovative state chapter model option; designed to build a closer engagement with ACA,  the national organization
  • The establishment of ACA as a highly respected publisher of scholarly journals and professional practice books
  • The strengthening of ACA’s reputation as a respected authority with both legislators and the media

In addition to being recognized by ACA and its professional partners as a strong collaborator and a CEO who introduced a great deal of innovation to the association, Yep has been recognized and honored as an association executive. He was named a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). In 2017, he was presented with the Key Award, ASAE’s highest honor given to association CEOs who demonstrate exceptional qualities of leadership in their association and display a deep commitment to voluntary membership organizations. In addition, Yep served on the ASAE Board of Directors and the Certified Association Executive (CAE) Commission.

Yep is known for his association work in the diversity, equity, and inclusion arena. In addition to infusing a DE&I philosophy, framework, and training for the 60 staff of ACA, he chaired ASAE’s DE&I Committee, as well as ASAE’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program selection committee. He is often asked to comment on how to improve the association profession by using a DE&I lens. He has also presented and written about board governance and ways in which associations must position themselves for success.

“I have been blessed during my time at ACA to work with an outstanding staff. Any success I have had would not have been possible without such a caring, compassionate, and hardworking team,” said Yep. “Given the time I have spent with ACA, I feel that I now want to apply my experience as an association executive to other organizations and projects. I am truly excited about this next phase in my life.”

“In addition to being part of ACA at a critical time in the growth and development of the counseling profession Rich was instrumental in many of the strides we have made. We are extremely appreciative to him for his more than 30 years of service, his ability to work with many groups of leaders over the years, and his willingness to always go that extra mile for all of our members,” said President Butler. “While many of us are disappointed to see him move on, I speak for our entire Governing Council, as well as a majority of ACA Past Presidents with whom Rich has worked, in wishing him nothing but the best as he begins his next career chapter on July 1, 2022.”

ACA Governing Council President Butler will appoint a search committee to oversee the process and the association plans to retain an executive search firm to help conduct a nationwide search. More details to come.

The American Counseling Association is the largest association exclusively dedicated to the growth and advancement of the counseling profession across all practice settings. Founded in 1952, we provide counselors with a professional home where they can build community, deepen knowledge, and develop their commitment to enriching lives and contributing to societal well-being. Representing more than 57,000 professional counselors nationwide and abroad, ACA offers continuing education, professional resources, and advocacy to ensure ethical and inclusive counseling services for every individual who needs them.

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