The event will be held at a rented space instead of at the White House, Bonosaro said.
The December gathering will mark the first time Obama has met with senior executives as a group since taking office.
“It’s always baffled me that a president wouldn’t just do this early on, because it sets a tone, not only for the career executives, but also the political appointees, who then get the message that the career executives are part of the team,” Bonosaro said.
In the past three administrations, George W. Bush met with them twice, Bill Clinton never did it, and George H.W. Bush spoke to about 3,000 members at Constitution Hall, inviting some career executives to appear with him on stage.
“The message [the elder Bush] was sending was so clear, ” Bonosaro said. “It was, ‘You’re an important part of my team, and I value you.’ When they walked out of there, they would have walked on water for him.”
The SEA president said she hopes Obama will communicate that he understands the challenges senior executives have faced in recent years with the government-wide budget cuts known as sequestration, the temporary government shutdown last year and the pay freeze federal employees endured for about three years.
“I hope this isn’t going to be a rally for his management agenda,” Bonosaro said. “He has an opportunity, though it’s late in the administration, to make a real difference and improve morale and set a tone for the remainder of his administration.”
The White House has not responded to a request for comment about the meeting.