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Leslie Young
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ABMP Leadership

Les Sweeney, president, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage, started at ABMP in 1994. His responsibilities have been wide-ranging, including oversight of massage-school relationships, student-member recruitment, government relations, data processing and database management. He served as ABMP executive vice president from 1999 to March 2006, when he was named president.

Prior to joining ABMP, Les gained association management experience at the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) in Alexandria, Va. A graduate of the University of Virginia, he earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Colorado, Denver, and completed his massage therapy training at The Holistic Learning Center in Evergreen, Colo. He became nationally certified in therapeutic massage in 2006.

Les and his family reside in Evergreen.

Bob Benson has been ABMP's Chairman since 1996. His core jobs are to help shape a sound strategic plan for the organization, build a strong culture oriented around clear quality standards and steadily improving member value, hire talented people, and then give them room to allow their creative talents to flourish. Thanks to those talents and the kindness of thousands of ABMP members who have encouraged colleagues to join, ABMP has grown substantially from the 15,600 members in place when Bob joined the organization.

To make sure he doesn't get too involved in ABMP projects and gum up the works, Bob has also gotten engaged in initiatives advancing the massage therapy profession. Notably, he spurred the creation of the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards and for nine years has been active in developing statewide massage regulation in California, where he now serves on the board of the California Massage Therapy Council.

Prior to joining ABMP, he for 19 years served consecutively as President of two public companies, Children's World and VICORP Restaurants. Previously he graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Business School and worked for five years in Washington, D.C. in the public policy arena, including two years as a community organizer. He is a co-author of a book on national priorities and has published articles in several national magazines. He has been married to his wife Cynthia since 1974, with whom he has a son Erik and a daughter Kiersa.

Katie Armitage, executive director and vice president of operations, joined ABMP in 1993. She coordinates all day-to-day operations and spearheads the professional liability insurance and esthetician activities. For her ABMP role and her work launching Associated Skin Care Professionals in January 2007, Katie was named the 2007 Day Spa Person of the Year by the Day Spa Association. Katie is a fourth-generation native of Colorado and enjoys boating, camping, gardening and reading. She enjoys most sports as a spectator, especially as an avid Broncos fan. She lives in Golden with her husband, Tim. They have two grown kids.

Leslie Young joined ABMP in November of 2002. As VP Communication, she oversees the association's communication initiatives and industry relations, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Massage & Bodywork magazine. She's inspired by practitioners of all backgrounds and her columnists/contributors, as well as her talented coworkers. Leslie was inducted into the Massage Therapy Hall of Fame in 2011. She holds a master's degree and doctorate in organizational communication from The University of Utah. Leslie enjoys horses, scuba diving, and travel. 

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