ACLI President and CEO

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Biography

Susan K. Neely is a change maker. She has a track record of transforming industries, building consensus, and using bipartisan partnerships to revolutionize business and politics.

As President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), Neely leads an industry whose mission is to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. ACLI’s member companies represent 95 percent of industry assets and provide financial security products and services to 90 million families.

To that end, Neely has forged groundbreaking initiatives and partnerships on tax and retirement security policy, including passage of the SECURE Act in 2019, the first retirement security legislation passed in a decade. Under her leadership, ACLI launched the Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity Initiative to tackle issues like addressing systemic inequality and closing savings gaps. Life insurers are championing the adoption of enhanced protections that act in consumers’ best interest.

Before joining ACLI, Neely led the American Beverage Association, where she helped companies like Pepsi and Coca-Cola navigate the sugar wars by forging unlikely partnerships with President Clinton’s Global Initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign. Before that, Neely was special assistant to President George W. Bush on the frontlines of creating the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11, serving as the first DHS Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.

Prior to association leadership, Neely was a senior advisor to two members of Congress as well as Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa. She was one of the first women nationally to manage a statewide campaign.

Neely is widely recognized as one of the most influential people in association leadership. She is a two-time trade association CEO of the year, one of Washingtonian’s “most influential people” and “100 Most Powerful Women in Washington,” Neely also received the “Luminary Award” from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance for lifetime dedication to gender parity, diversity and inclusion.

She is a past chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100 of the largest trade associations and the American Society of Association Executives. Neely also was elected as the first woman president of both the 105-year-old Washington Rotary Club and the 113-year-old University Club of Washington, D.C. 

Neely is Vice President of the Global Federation of Insurance Associations and was recently named to the B20 Financial & Infrastructure Task Force. She serves as vice chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and as a director on the board of the Global Child Nutrition Foundation.

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 is the mother of two adult children, Eve and Ben. 

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