The 2019 Schuldiner/Smollan Leadership Academy (SSLA) will be held at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, November 9-11. All attendees are strongly encouraged to attend the NAEA Board Meeting Saturday morning, November 9 (approx. 8:00AM – 12:30PM). Registration on Saturday afternoon will be followed by a reception for all SSLA attendees. The Academy will begin Sunday, November 10, at 8AM and end on Monday, November 11, by 2PM. In addition we will be scheduling two required SSLA webinars in the weeks immediately prior to the start of the Academy. Stay tuned for more details!

Application deadline is October 9, 2019.

Academy History

The Schuldiner/Smollan Leadership Academy (SSLA) is named for the two primary forces behind the creation of the National Association of Enrolled Agents; Syd Schuldiner, EA, served as NAEA’s first president in 1972 and David Smollan, EA, served as the second president in 1973.  Both were instrumental in establishing the founding chapter dedicated to enrolled agents in Los Angeles, CA, which eventually became NAEA.  In 1987, Schuldiner received the NAEA Founders Award.

Upon his passing in 2006, Syd Schuldiner left a significant gift to NAEA in the name David Smollan, EA.  In keeping with Schuldiner’s desire to strengthen the organization, the board of directors used his bequest to establish the Schuldiner/Smollan Memorial Fund and to launch the Schuldiner/Smollan Leadership Academy.  The Leadership Academy trains volunteers for success as leaders of NAEA at the local, state, and national levels.

The design of the program provides necessary organizational training to volunteers to assist their efforts.  Limited enrollment of attendees is purposefully maintained during each session to ensure each attendee receives the type of care and attention that ensure success.  In two days, the program teaches the following in a classroom environment:

  • Leadership
  • Governance and Board
  • Strengthening the Governance Team
  • Successful Board Meetings
  • Committees and Task Forces
  • Financial Oversight
  • Strategic Planning
  • Communications and Public Relations
  • Government Relations and Advocacy
  • Education and Meeting Planning
  • Membership
  • The Future of NAEA
In addition to expert instruction, the attendees break out into smaller groups for a series of practical exercises that replicate real life situations.  Following completion of the program, attendees select a project to complete at the local organization.

SSLA Brochure 

Who is eligible to apply for the SSLA program?

Board members, Committee Chairs and other NAEA members in good standing who have demonstrated strong leadership qualities. For example, someone who has a strong volunteer and engagement history in an affiliation. Or, someone who shows potential to work at the national level. Each applicant is required to submit a bio and recommendation letter from an affiliate or chapter board member.

What does the SSLA registration fee cover?

We are currently planning future SSLA programming. Please come back for more details about the November 2019 SSLA training.

When is the next SSLA?

We are currently planning future SSLA programming. Please come back for more details about the November 2019 SSLA training.


Classes are purposefully kept small (15-20 participants). We look forward to high attendance at the next Academy.


Apply Here
Application deadline: October 9, 2019

SSLA Alumni Testimonials

“The material that NAEA has put together to train its future leaders is great.  The academy is led by past presidents of NAEA with a wealth of knowledge at all levels of the organization.  But the most valuable thing for me was the opportunity to get to know other leaders from around the country, make connections that I could draw on when I needed help, and forge relationships that will last a lifetime.” 

~ Timothy Dilworth EA, CPA
NAEA Treasurer 2016-2019
Class V

“The overall experience was fantantastical!!!!  It allowed me to learn more about how to operate in the non-profit arena and also provided me with how other affiliates in the country are doing things.  The best thing I got out of it was the project.  I was able to learn how to do a strategic plan and then was able to turn it into a reality by chairing the committee for FSEA.  It also allowed me to assist another member of FSEA, who attended SSLA in my class, with his project as both of our projects meshed perfectly.  I was able to lead the committee to get this accomplished and in turn FSEA benefited by having a 3 year strategic plan.  I also learned how to allow the committee members to do their thing without micro managing them.  This gave FSEA a path to follow in our planning and goals.also highly recommend this program. It will help you, your affiliate and our association be stronger and more professional.” 

~ Michael Carlisle, EA
Class V

“When I attended SSLA I had no idea what to expect, but it was great. I made incredible friends, and I learned how I could help TNSEA be a stronger organization and how I could help NAEA. When you join an organization it is often hard to find a place and to feel like you are really contributing to that organization. After attending SSLA I was empowered to help my state organization more and learned how to inspire other member to want to help also.” 

~ Friday Burke, EA
Class XI

"SSLA is an essential step for those who are interested in becoming effective leaders of NAEA and its affiliates. Not only do participants explore theoretical concepts regarding leadership styles, but they also come away with practical information regarding meeting operations. Beyond all of the great skills and strategy, the most valuable tool attendees gain is the connections that they form with fellow participants, which continue to strengthen and evolve long after the classroom experience has concluded."

~ Angela Radic, EA
NAEA Secretary 2017-2018
Class VIII

I encourage all leaders and potential leaders to apply to this exciting Academy that helps NAEA members who want to move their Affiliate and National Professional organization forward to understand what is required to become a leader. As a prior NAEA President and NAEA-EF Chair I discovered the more involved I became in my professional organization the more I learned about running my practice. I also became friends with other members from all over the country that I could call to ask tax questions.

~ Pat Schmick, EA
NAEA President 1997-1998
Chair, Schuldiner/Smollan Memorial Fund Advisory Board 2016-2017

SSLA is one of the most important programs ever commenced in NAEA.  Other than advancing our profession, the recruiting and training of our future leaders should be and is one of our highest priorities.”

~ Jim Adelman, EA
NAEA President 2017-2018

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