Charles Dean Connor is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Lung Association National Headquarters in Washington, DC. In this role, he leads the nation’s oldest voluntary health association, as it continues to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Beginning its second century, the American Lung Association is Fighting For Air through education, advocacy and research.
Prior to being named President and CEO, Mr. Connor served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the American Lung Association. In this position, he oversaw all corporate functions including Development, Advocacy, Policy, Research, Program Services, Communication, Marketing and Field Support.
Before joining the American Lung Association, he was Senior Vice President for Communication & Marketing for the American Red Cross. During his tenure with the Red Cross, he participated in several major events such as Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami and the overhaul of the organization’s governance structure. In 2005, he was recognized as PR Professional of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America. Also in 2005, his department was named PR Team of the Year by PR Week magazine.
Prior joining Red Cross, Mr. Connor was Principal for Client Strategy with The Dilenschneider Group in Chicago where he specialized in communications strategy development, litigation support, crisis control, issues management and media relations. Prior to joining The Dilenschneider Group, Mr. Connor served in Washington, DC as the first director of public affairs for the Federal Judiciary. He built a comprehensive and aggressive national communications program for the federal courts and implemented several innovative programs for the “third branch” of the federal government. Mr. Connor served as the senior advisor to many prominent federal judges around the nation on a wide range of the most sensitive internal matters, including the management of news media interest in high-profile federal court cases.
Before joining the federal judiciary, Mr. Connor served for 25 years as a United States Navy public affairs officer, leaving the service with the rank of Captain. He was the personal communications advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, the CEO of an organization of more than a million employees and $100 billion annual budget. He advised the Secretary on a wide range of national and international communications matters during a period of great organizational change and turmoil due to post-Cold War downsizing and the Tailhook scandal. Prior to this, Mr. Connor served as the COO for the Navy’s global communications program, responsible for planning and coordinating Navy public affairs efforts around the world.
Mr. Connor also served in London as the senior Navy public relations official in Europe, handling media matters throughout the continent as well as many crises spanning international boundaries. He conceived and managed the Navy aspects of the 50th anniversary of D-Day, including the participation of the President and Cabinet, as well as international publicity for the event. Earlier, Mr. Connor managed communications efforts at U. S. Space Command/NORAD during the Gulf War. Prior to that, he served with the Commander of the United States Third Fleet handling major international crises as well as a successful Alaska public affairs effort that resulted in vital federal legislation. Mr. Connor has also directed national advertising for the Navy’s recruiting program and run the Midwest media relations program for the Navy.
Mr. Connor graduated from Loyola University of Chicago Law School and is a member of the bar of both Illinois and the District of Columbia. He holds a B. A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois and attended Portland State University for graduate study in marketing and communications. Mr. Connor sits on the board of directors of the American Marketing Association Foundation.