ALHI Increases “Elite Retreats Collection” Options with Addition of Resorts in Playa del Carmen, Mexico and Hilton Head, South Carolina

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) has expanded its worldwide portfolio and “Elite Retreats Collection” options with the addition of the luxurious 123-villa Banyan Tree Mayakoba in Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico, and the acclaimed, 60-room The Inn & Club at Harbour Town at The Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. In addition to becoming the newest members in ALHI’s global portfolio, the resorts also are new options in its luxury brand collection that consists of member hotels and resorts which specialize in exclusive gatherings and have fewer than 200 rooms, according to ALHI’s Chief Sales Officer Mark Sergot.

ALHI Global Luxury Sales now represents the resorts to the Meetings & Incentive marketplace in North America and Europe. ALHI’s portfolio features more than 250 luxury and upper-upscale hotels and resorts, which are either independent or are with an independent hotel brand, and which specialize in hosting meetings, conventions and/or incentive programs.

With the additions, ALHI’s “Elite Retreats Collection” now offers 60 distinctive hotel and resort options, which includes 21 exceptional choices in North America and 25 outstanding options in Europe. In addition to their membership in that luxury brand collection, the two resorts also are new options in the “ALHI Beach & Island Collection” and “ALHI Golf Collection.”

Located in the most exclusive enclave of Mexico’s renowned Riviera Maya region, along the pristine Caribbean coastline, Banyan Tree Mayakoba is an idyllic sanctuary that blends Asian culture with Mexican warmth. Featuring 123 luxury villas, ranging in size from 3,000 square feet to more than 5,000 square feet, the beautiful resort also offers 14 indoor and outdoor function spaces, including inspiring beachside venues, sunset-looking terraces and state-of-the-art ballrooms and meeting rooms. Additionally, the resort features the lush oceanfront El Camaleon PGA golf course, the world-class Banyan Tree Spa, the Sands Beach Club, a fitness center, four tennis courts, a nature trail, an art gallery and a wide range of superb dining options. Nestled within the private gated development of Mayakoba, the resort is just 30 miles (40 minutes) from Cancun International Airport (CUN), and 18 minutes from the charming town of Playa del Carmen.

Spanning the southern third of Hilton Head Island, and located along 5,000 oceanfront acres, The Sea Pines Resort has been a quiet and award-winning retreat for more than 50 years. Recognized as the #1 Hotel on Hilton Head Island by TripAdvisor, The Inn & Club at Harbour Town at The Sea Pines Resort offers 60 elegant guest rooms and is recipient of the prestigious AAA Four-Diamond rating and Forbes Four-Star Award. Among the many offerings at The Sea Pines Resort are 20,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, an array of beautiful outdoor venue options, and three golf courses (the highly acclaimed Heron Point by Pete Dye, the exceptional new Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III, and Harbour Town Golf Links). In addition, the distinguished resort features The Sea Pines Racquet Club with 21 clay tennis courts, a full-service marina, five miles of pristine beach, a beach club, and many dining options. The resort is just 15 minutes from Hilton Head Island Airport, and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is 45 minutes away in Savannah, Georgia.

“We are very proud to add these outstanding resorts to our global portfolio, and to our ‘Elite Retreats Collection,’ ‘Golf Collection’ and ‘Beach & Island’ luxury brand collections,” said Sergot. “Both resorts are exceptional choices for smaller meetings, board meetings and incentive travel programs, as they each feature truly beautiful settings and so many terrific recreational options. We look forward to showcasing these resorts and their outstanding offerings to meeting professionals and incentive specialists in North America and Europe.”

In addition to these newest members, ALHI’s “Elite Retreats Collection” includes such exceptional options as Western Colorado’s celebrated 72-room Gateway Canyons Resort & Spa; Northwest Florida’s new 170-room The Henderson; Charleston, South Carolina’s grand new 179-room Hotel Bennett (opening this summer); Northeast Florida’s 66-room oceanfront The Lodge & Club at Ponte Vedra Beach; California’s world-famous, 161-room The Lodge at Pebble Beach; and downtown Seattle’s luxurious Loews Hotel 1000. Other distinguished choices include the elegant One Ocean Resort & Spa in Northeast Florida; the Four-Star, 153-room Pan Pacific Seattle; the 340-acre Salamander Resort & Spa in the Virginia horse and wine country; Colorado’s hip, 107-room The Sebastian Vail; Southern California’s stunning 167-room Surf & Sand Resort; the Forbes Four-Star The Chateaux Deer Valley in Park City, Utah; Kansas City, Missouri’s all-new, 132-room The Fontaine Hotel; and Orlando’s 146-room The Villas of Grand Cypress, offering an array of recreational options.

For more information about ALHI and/or its member hotels and resorts, contact your nearest of the 24 ALHI Global Sales offices in the United States, Canada, London and now Frankfurt, Germany. For specifics, go to alhi.com to identify the nearest “ALHI Team” Global Sales professionals in your area. Or, call the “ALHI Group Desk” toll-free in the U.S. at 866-303-ALHI (2544), and visit alhi.com .

About ALHI, with 250 Hotels & Resorts + 23 Cruise Ships and DMCs

ALHI, established in 1986, is the leading independent Global Sales Organization serving the meetings and incentive marketplace, providing one-call access for its distinguished membership. Hired and authorized by member properties, ALHI features a distinctive portfolio of exquisite resorts, luxurious city center business hotels, historic grand landmark hotels, lifestyle hotels, boutique hotels, 23 luxury cruise ships, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in more than 100 locations worldwide. ALHI’s 24 Global Sales offices in North America and Europe provide extensive Global Sales services, valuable expertise, local connectivity, market intelligence, and account advocacy for meetings and incentive programs of any size and scope worldwide. alhi.com

Annual statistics: 2017 the most successful year to date for convention business in Berlin

Net value added generated by the conference and congress market exceeds 1 billion euro for the first time

Number of overnight stays at hotels rises to around 8 million

Constant growth in attendance figures and events

Congress business in Berlin remains on course for success: in 2017, around 11.7 million participants (+ 1 per cent compared to 2016) came to 140,200 events (+ 2 per cent) in Berlin. For the first time, the conference and congress market generated a net value added of more than one billion euro. These figures come from the current congress statistics* of the Berlin Convention Office of visitBerlin.

“Congress business is an important economic factor for Berlin,” says Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin. “Internationally, our city is among the top group – and as yet demand has remained unbroken. In order to maintain this success, we must continue to create attractive offers in Berlin.”

The number of overnight stays rose to 7.9 million last year, an increase of 2.6 per cent compared to 2016. A quarter of all overnight stays at hotels in Berlin can thus be attributed to the congress business.

Every fourth event is a medical congress

Berlin is a sought-after location for medical events: more than a quarter of all conferences and congresses can be attributed to the sector “Medical, Pharmaceuticals and Health Science”. This is followed by the sectors “IT/Digital Economy” and “Politics/Public Institution” with eleven per cent each. Germany remains the most important market for Berlin, Great Britain and the USA/Canada, follow in second and third place.

The congress industry secures more than 43,000 jobs

The total turnover of the conference and congress industry amounts to 2.51 billion euro. Participants staying overnight spend considerably more money with 246 euro per day than in the previous year (2016: 237 euro). 43,200 full-time jobs are secured by the conference and convention business in Berlin (2016: 41,500).

For more information on Berlin, go to convention. visitBerlin. com.

*Source: Congress statistics in 2017 from the independent market research company ghh consult GmbH on behalf of visitBerlin.

JEFFREY SZOMBATY JOINS HYATT REGENCY WAIKIKI BEACH RESORT AND SPA AS NEW EXECUTIVE CHEF AND INTRODUCES THE BUFFET AT HYATT

Long-time Hyatt Regency chef to lead resort’s food and beverage program, including impressive new dinner buffet

HONOLULU, HI  – Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa’s General Manager Doug Sears announces the appointment of Jeffrey Szombaty as Executive Chef and the timely debut of The Buffet at Hyatt. With close to two decades of experience in the hospitality industry, Szombaty joins the resort from Hyatt Regency Vancouver, where he served as Executive Chef for three years. Before his move to British Columbia, Szombaty served as Executive Sous Chef at Hyatt Regency Waikiki from 2010 to 2014.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chef Szombaty back to the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa family,” remarked Sears. “Jeff’s passion for indigenous, seasonal products, as well as sustaining relationships with local farmers and vendors, is evident in his style of cuisine, which focuses on simplicity and clarity of flavors. We are lucky to have Chef Szombaty back on the island to lead our culinary team and to introduce The Buffet at Hyatt.”

In his new role, Chef Szombaty has spearheaded the resort’s newest venue, The Buffet at Hyatt. With a focus on sustainability and delicious, organic options only available in Hawaii, The Buffet will be available from 5:30pm – 9:30pm nightly on the third floor of Diamond Head Tower. Menu highlights include a made-to-order poke station and sushi, Kauai shrimp, fresh local fish, kiawe smoked alaea salt crusted prime rib, southern king crab legs with Hyatt’s famous Singaporean chili crab sauce, certified angus grilled beef, traditional Hawaiian specialties, extravagant dessert selections, and more, with gluten free and vegetarian options throughout and an expanded seafood selection on weekends. Szombaty is committed to offering a unique array of choices for travelers from across the globe, with a special focus on local produce, organic ingredients, and a connection to Hawaiian culture. The Buffet at Hyatt will also feature a selection of curated cocktails, including the Hana Passion (Cruzan Rum, passion fruit syrup, grenadine, orange juice, piña colada mix), Waikiki Mule (Absolut elyx, lilikoi puree, ginger beer), and South Shor (Cruzan Mango, Southern Comfort, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine). The Buffet at Hyatt menus can be found here, and the full drink menu is included here.

A New Jersey native, Szombaty began his culinary career early in life, working in professional kitchens starting at age 16. He first joined the Hyatt community in 2000 as a Cook at the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA. He moved up the ranks to Banquet Chef in 2007 and transferred to the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago in that same role in 2008. It was from Chicago that Szombaty moved to Waikiki to work as Executive Sous Chef under Sven Ulrich, and it is with great excitement that he is welcomed back to the resort.

About Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa

Balanced between the idyllic beauty of the legendary Waikiki Beach and the dynamic city center, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa is a vibrant destination combining relaxation and adventure with true Hawaiian hospitality. Each of the 1,230 guestrooms, including 19 suites, offers Hawaiian elegance and private lanai with panoramic beach, mountain, and city views. With an unrivaled location just steps from world-famous waves, the resort affords effortless exploration of the island’s attractions, from Diamond Head Crater, Honolulu Zoo, and Waikiki Aquarium, to world-class shopping, sophisticated dining and expert surfing lessons. Offering endless amenities including luxurious treatments at the 10,000 square-foot Na Ho’ola Spa, StayFit Fitness Center, swimming pool overlooking Waikiki Beach, one of Waikiki’s biggest breakfast buffets at SHOR, steak and island seafood at Japengo, tropical cocktails at SWIM, and more than 60 boutiques on site. Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach promises Hawaiian-style excitement paired with the warmth of authentic Aloha spirit.

For more information regarding Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, please contact the resort by phone at (808) 923-1234, or visit the resort website at: waikiki.regency.hyatt.com.

About Hyatt Regency

Hyatt Regency offers a full range of services and facilities tailored to serve the needs of meeting planners, business travelers and leisure guests. Properties range in size from 180 to over 2,000 rooms and are conveniently located in urban, suburban, airport, convention and resort destinations around the world. Hyatt Regency convention hotels feature spacious meeting and conference facilities designed to provide a productive environment allowing guests to convene and connect. Hyatt Regency hotels in resort locations cater to couples seeking a getaway, families enjoying a vacation together and corporate groups seeking a functional and relaxed atmosphere in which to conduct business and meetings.

MinnSPIN is Coming to the Twin Cities March 7

First Daylong Event for Twin Cities Branch

SPIN (Senior Planners Industry Network) Twin Cities branch is holding a daylong conference for senior meeting industry professionals on March 7.  The content has been developed to target the busy senior-level planner who needs professional development close to home. “We realize that not all of our members can travel to attend conferences, so we are bringing the education and networking to them,” said Linda Hurtley, SPIN’s Regional Director, Central Region and Advisory Board Member.

“Our team focused on topics that appeal to our audience – folks who have been in the industry for more than 10 years and need that next level of discussion,” remarked Dana Ellis, SPIN:Twin Cities Branch President. Topics to be covered include “Contract Management” with Kelly Everhart, “Stories that Sell” with Phil Gerbyshak, a “Laugh and Learn” session led by the Brave New Workshop Team (venue host), “The Chemistry of Conversations that Build Trust” with Mary Schmid and “Build Efficiency and Fill Your Toolbox” with Sean Schuette.

Registration Open Now

Registration is open to member and non-member industry professionals (planners and suppliers who have at least 10 years’ experience). SPIN:Twin Cities is encouraging SPIN members from other branches who might be in town to sign up too! Register here.

About SPIN

SPIN:Senior Planners Industry Network is the world’s largest association for senior-level planners. SPIN has recently invited all hospitality professionals who have at least 10 years of experience to join their ranks.

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SEATTLE SOUTHSIDE REGIONAL TOURISM AUTHORITY SALES MANAGER RECIEVES DISTINGUISHED RECOGNITION BY EVENTS INDUSTRY COUNCIL

Jené Iceberg, sales manager for the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is among an elite group of individuals recently announced by the Events Industry Council as members of the newest class of Certified Meeting Professionals (CMPs). The prestigious, internationally acknowledged meeting management certification program is recognized as a badge of excellence throughout the events, meetings, conventions and exhibitions industry. Iceberg received her certification after passing a rigorous examination and evaluation based on her professional experience and education. CMPs are considered leading experts in their field.

“We are thrilled that Jené continues to be recognized for her hard work and dedication to meeting planning and management,” said Meagan McGuire, vice president of sales and services of the Seattle Southside RTA. “Jené’s expertise benefits both our key stakeholders in Seattle Southside and the groups and events from around the country that we have the pleasure to host and serve throughout the year.”

In 2017, Iceberg was named “Rookie of the Year” by Meeting Professional International (MPI) and received a Shining Star award for her active community involvement. She served as the chair for the Washington chapter’s annual auction, successfully coordinating a team of volunteers to execute the successful event.

In her two-and-a-half-year tenure with Seattle Southside RTA, Iceberg has focused on bringing meeting and event planners to the region, as well as educating industry professionals on the services a destination marketing organization (DMO) can provide. She works closely with many local industry associations, volunteering her time to various committees.

Iceberg is currently working on obtaining her Professional in Destination Management (PDM) certificate from Destinations International. She is also a founding board member of the Seattle chapter of Young Travel Professionals and has rebuilt the group to provide opportunities for industry professionals to develop their careers, network and continue influencing the travel industry.

About the Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority

The Seattle Southside Regional Tourism Authority (RTA) is the official destination marketing organization for Seattle Southside. The organization is responsible for competitively marketing the area as an ideal destination for leisure and business travelers who wish to explore Western Washington and for meeting and event planners to hold their functions. The Seattle Southside RTA is funded by a self-assessed hotel fund and supported by a lodging tax from the cities of SeaTac, Tukwila and Des Moines. For more information, please visit www.seattlesouthside.com or call (877) 885-9452.

 

AHLA Announces 2018 Officers & Board of Directors Slate

Notable Board Members Represent Full Spectrum of Hotel Industry

 The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today announced its 2018 Board of Directors which includes top industry leaders representing all segments of the industry.

Notably, Dave Johnson, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) Chair and President and CEO of Aimbridge Hospitality joins the current 2018 Officer slate, which includes: Chair, Mark Carrier, President of the B.F. Saul Company Hospitality Group, Vice Chair Geoff Ballotti, President and CEO of Wyndham Hotel Group, Secretary and Treasurer Jon Bortz, Chairman, President & CEO of Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, and Jim Abrahamson, who continues to serve as Immediate Past Chair.

Several new industry leaders will also be joining the 2018 Board of Directors. The AHLA Board represents leaders from all sectors of the lodging industry, including brands, owners and REITS, management companies, independents, and state associations.

“I look forward to working together with our officers and incoming Board members, both current and new, to build upon the foundation of the last several years which has seen growing membership engagement, a more financially sound association and a dynamic team to achieve even greater success,” said AHLA Chairman Mark Carrier. “AHLA works to underscore the industry’s tremendous stories of opportunity, growth, innovation and success. Our Board represents the diversity of the entire industry, and both new and returning board members provide critical insight and guidance that will contribute to new success this year.”

“We are excited for the year ahead and all the depth of experience that our board brings to the table and in setting a strong, aggressive agenda,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AHLA. “We are so grateful to our Officers and all the Board members who volunteer their time and energy to ensure that our organization is on a path for success that will bring the industry renewed visibility and one unified voice both in and outside Washington, D.C.”

Additions to the Board of Directors for 2018 are as follows:

Brand Representatives:

Ken Greene, President of the Americas, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

Peter Sears, Group President, Americas, Hyatt Hotels Corporation

Kevin Frid, Chief Operating Officer, North and Central America, AccorHotels

Alex Tisch, EVP of Commercial and Business Development, Loews Hotels & Co

Management Company Representatives:

Chris Manley, COO, Stonebridge Companies

Owner Representatives:

Greg Juceam, CEO, BRE Hotels & Resorts

Rob Kline, CEO & Co-Founder, The Chartres Lodging Group, LLC

Vera Manoukian, President & COO, Denihan Hospitality

Independent Representatives:

John Campbell, General Manager, La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Partner State Association Representatives: 

Eric Terry, President & CEO, Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association

At-Large Representative:

Jagruti Panwala, President & CEO, Wealth Protection Strategies

Click here to view the Board of Directors for 2018.

2017 Sees Record Numbers Endorse PCMA’s Status as the Leading Global Meetings Industry Association

PCMA (Professional Convention Management Association) announced strong financial growth and record revenue numbers at the final press conference held during its annual Convening Leaders event, which took place in Nashville, TN at the Music City Center January 7-10, 2018.

Reporting on its membership, there are now more than 7,000 Business Event Strategists globally.  More than half of the PCMA membership body joined approximately 4,500 total attendees at this year’s Convening Leaders.

Financially, PCMA’s revenues have also shown record increases to $19 million USD (from $6 million USD in 2006) with partnership activity contributing $6.5 million USD in 2017. Its revenue streams and brands now include Convening Leaders, ICESAP, the Digital Experience Institute and Convene magazine.

The growth of PCMA has been supported by the PCMA Education Foundation, which has also announced record numbers this week, raising  $1.83 million USD from a range of activities during 2017 with $493,000 USD being awarded in scholarships and grants during the same year.

This record success has grown under Deborah Sexton’s leadership as CEO, a position she has held since 2005. In a recently announced move, Deborah Sexton will hand over as President and CEO to Sherrif Karamat, the current COO. Karamat has worked with Deborah since 2005 and originally joined the organization as vice president of sales in 2003. He became COO in 2008. He officially begins his new role as President and CEO of PCMA on January 19, 2018.

The IMEX Talking Point for 2018 is ‘Legacy’. So, what’s your legacy going to be?

The IMEX Group has announced that its Talking Point for 2018 will be the theme of ‘Legacy’ – a subject expected to resonate strongly with the international meetings, events and incentive travel industry, particularly at IMEX in Frankfurt in May and at IMEX America in October.

Following the successful launch of its annual Talking Point concept last year when ‘Purposeful Meetings’ was the focus, the IMEX Group is continuing this approach in 2018 with ‘Legacy’.

Explaining why the IMEX Group chose ‘Legacy’ for 2018, CEO Carina Bauer said: “As a company whose mission is “to unite and advance the meetings industry, doing everything we can to educate, innovate and help our clients make powerful connections with the right people,” IMEX has a strong, living commitment to the idea of Legacy.”

“While the meetings and events industry has been evolving over the past five years we’ve seen a shift away from planning an event around a ‘single moment in time’ towards planning an event with longer-lasting, more meaningful impacts – impacts that can be seen long after the event has ended. That impact could be on the attendees, the host community, the local innovation economy, the destination partners, the city leadership, the environment or many other areas.”

Five strands will unfold

IMEX’s legacy stories will explore five different angles over the next twelve months: political legacy; knowledge legacy/social impact; CSR legacy; environmental legacy and personal legacy – which means exceptional people doing exceptional things. Each of these will be examined in different ways as the year goes on.

Looking further at how the legacy concept has risen to prominence within the industry and within society, Carina Bauer observes “Developments in technology and, of course, social media, have allowed meeting and event planners to exploit and generate memory, meaning and value far beyond just one meeting or event. Put this together with the emergence of a younger generation of planners and suppliers who have a strong sense of mission and purpose, of making a positive difference through their work, and it becomes clear how ‘Legacy’ has developed and become our Talking Point.”

Recognising personal impact and legacy

Carina Bauer says “Our strapline – ‘Legacy: What’s yours going to be?’ – acknowledges that just one person with a strong vision can make a massive difference – but they don’t have to change the world in a year. Sometimes their legacy lies in getting something started, creating momentum, initiating change or achieving buy-in.

“For the IMEX team itself, ‘Legacy’ is about behaving and planning with a better future in mind – a form of payment in advance combined with a clearly articulated, ‘higher’ purpose for each of its shows.

“In terms of practical takeaways for the industry, we’ve commissioned two important new research reports and case studies and our legacy theme will also shape some of the shows’ education sessions. It will feature in the Policy Forum and Exclusively Corporate programmes at IMEX in Frankfurt and throughout the preshow education days – EduMonday in Frankfurt and Smart Monday at IMEX America. Other elements will be announced as the year progresses”.

Carina Bauer adds: “There is a growing consciousness of the long-term impact we all make on the world that is running throughout our industry, society and among individuals. Our Legacy Talking Point will give that consciousness due recognition.”

Online registration for IMEX in Frankfurt 2018 is open – and free.

Scottsdale Plaza Resort Announces Completion of Renovation

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort announces conclusion of our three year property improvement plan.

2015 saw our Standard Rooms getting a makeover by replacing bathtubs with glassed walled showers,  new flooring throughout vanity and shower area by Heritage Interiors, expanding the closet area / vanity bathroom area with more square footage, new accent chairs for seating area and desk by Living Spaces. New framed vanity lighted mirrors by Electric Mirrors, granite on wet bars and vanities by Arizona Tile and the addition of in-room refrigerators completed the improvements.

In 2016 we conducted upgrades to the Suite Category of rooms which included- all new furniture, artwork and lighting in the living room areas, new in-room charging stations and many of the upgrades that were featured in the standard rooms—like mounted wall televisions, new plumbing fixtures and granite on the wet bars and vanities.

Summer of 2017 we embarked on upgrading all of our common areas-Ball Rooms, Front Desk, Lobby, Meeting Spaces and Rest Rooms. This includes all new furniture, lighting, flooring and wall covering.

We also renamed our Gift Shop- The Market and serve grab n go food and drink, assorted coffees and offer specialty food products from the region as well as offer crafts and gifts from local artists for sale.

We unveiled our new public spaces at an Open House on November 2nd for meeting and events professionals with guided property tours, cocktails and culinary demonstrations and drawings for Room stays.

About Scottsdale Plaza Resort

Situated on 40 lush acres of magnificently landscaped grounds and with over 40,000 square feet of flexible and functional meeting space, the Scottsdale Plaza Resort offers the perfect retreat for business travelers, conventions and special events. With five pools, a full-service spa, on-site tennis courts and championship golf just steps away, the Scottsdale Plaza Resort is the perfect getaway for the family or business group.

For more information visit www.scottsdaleplaza.com.

The Scottsdale Plaza Resort

A Landmark of Excellence

7200 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253

480-948-5000 or 800-832-2025

PCMA Education Foundation Announces the 2018 Visionary Awards Professional Excellence Finalists

NASHVILLE, TN, 10th January 2018; Fifteen individuals will be honored as Professional Excellence Award Finalists at the 2018 Visionary Awards on May 2nd, 2018 at the Marriott Marquis, Washington DC. These awards annually celebrate exceptional individual contributions to the business events industry. The award winners will be announced live during the Awards Show. Registration will open this month to get a ticket for the Visionary Awards – the industry’s premier recognition event.

 

Meeting Professional of the Year Finalists

 

Carrie Abernathy, CMP, CEM, CSEP, President, Association for Women in Events

Carrie, described as passionate, connected, ethical and knowledgeable, has been a meeting professional for almost 15 years. She is the co-founder and current president of the Association for Women in Events, an organization dedicated to showcasing the professional advancement of women in all aspects of the events industry. Through monthly webinars and personal presentations at events, Carrie consistently helps event professionals to connect and share knowledge with each other. She is dedicated to shaking up the industry to ensure women are treated equally alongside their male colleagues.

 

Wanda Johnson, CMP, CAE, Chief Program Officer, Endocrine Society

Wanda has contributed a huge amount to both the meeting management and healthcare industries, over a 25-year career. To her peers, she’s an inspiring leader they regularly ask for insights, collaboration and capabilities. She’s also considered to be level-headed and strategic in her thinking. Through her continual involvement with PCMA, she has utilized her platform to better the industry; bringing her personality and influence.

 

Stephanie D. Jones, CAE, CMP, Senior Director, Conferences and Events Management, Water Environment Federation

Stephanie is known for her helpful insights and tips on how to best handle a situation; she has been called a ‘beacon of light’ in the events industry by her peers. She freely shares her knowledge and experience, and is recognized by her team as someone who imparts excellent advice, though Stephanie finds it so natural to share, she’s unaware she’s doing it.

 

 

Supplier of the Year Finalists

 

Mary Beth Baluta, Regional Director of Sales – Washington DC, Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau

Mary is known for her vigorous efforts in liaising with potential clients, convention bureaus and suppliers. She has an infectious positive nature and is a great listener, taking in every detail before offering an idea or possible solution. Mary also shows her dedication to her local PCMA chapter through her volunteer efforts and desire to do whatever is asked of her.

 

 

Chris FJ Lynn, Vice President, North America & Emerging Markets –  Business Tourism, London & Partners

Chris is incredibly knowledgeable in the hospitality market and goes the extra mile to ensure that his customers have a great experience. He dedicates time getting to know his customers wants and needs before presenting a bespoke creative solution. Chris also devotes his energy to help elevate PCMA’s New York Area chapter. Despite being its past president, he consistently provides support for the chapter, most recently sponsoring 40 meeting professionals for an event.

 

April Williams, VP – Business Development, Freeman

April has more than 20 years’ industry experience in sales strategy and technology and regularly demonstrates her professional excellence and exceeds client expectations. She recently helped transform the Endocrine Society event branding from being city-specific, to more value-orientated; aligned with the organization’s mission and vision. She also actively advises her clients to share insights on trends shaping the future, including technology with a purpose, data analytics, personalization and brand experience.

 

Community Advocate of the Year Award Finalists

 

Jeff Chase, Vice President of Sustainability, Freeman

Jeff has more than 30 years’ experience in the events and exhibition industry. In 2017, he worked closely with the Consumer Technology Association to advance the organization’s sustainability goals for its annual CES event. Jeff developed and implemented a waste management program to encourage the event’s 3,600 exhibitors to contribute unused supplies, such as tote bags, pens and notepads, as well as reusable building material from the stands, such as furniture and flooring. The Exhibitor Program diverted 19 trailer loads of materials from landfill and donated them to local non-profit organizations, including Teacher Exchange, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity and Opportunity Village.

 

Rachael Riggs, CMP, Manager, Meetings and Conventions Sales – Midwest/Chicago, Tourism Vancouver

Rachael has made incredible fundraising achievements throughout 2017. She single-handedly organized a charity drive for victims of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, within one week of these destructive events. She gained approval from the tourism board to match the funds that were raised, wrote a press release and issued it, all in one day. Earlier in the year, Rachael organized a charitable component at Global Meetings Industry day, which involved attendees from industry organizations packing 750 ‘clean-the-world’ kits and donating them to several Chicago charities.

 

Ken Sien, CMP, Director, Strategic Accounts, Experient, A Maritz Global Events Company

Ken helped oversee the Maritz Global Events Human Trafficking Committee, building awareness of its course within Maritz and within the entire global events industry. He was involved in creating a town hall meeting where he introduced the company and key representatives to the app TraffickCam, which seeks to combat sex trafficking. Ken also works to identify deserving organizations in each city that hosts a company event, leading fundraising activities for each.

 

 

Event Designer of the Year Finalists

Supported by Maritz Global Events

 

Phelps R. Hope, CMP, Senior Vice President, Meetings & Expositions, Kellen

Phelps has impressive experience as an event designer, and has helped implement fresh ideas and experiential opportunities to meetings.  Most recently, in October 2017, he redesigned the Girl Scouts Convention in Columbus, Ohio, which resulted in a shorter, more focused, event and a 50 percent increase in registrations.

 

Laura Metcalf Jelinek, CAE, Associate Vice President – Meetings and Travel, American Osteopathic Association

Laura is known for her creative and innovative approach to events. She recently created an event, which brought together members of the osteopathic industry. Laura used a mixture of music with arts and culture, to create an experiential environment for attendees.  It was described as totally unforgettable.

 

Lisa VanRosendale, TEDster, Senior Vice President, New Business Development, FreemanXP

Lisa has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, and was most recently named in M&C’s Top 25 Women in the Meetings Industry. Lisa, who is known for her innovative and immersive approach, is also a former TED speaker. Last year, she was responsible for leading a team that successfully organized each aspect of the Siebel Scholars 2017 Conference and in a post-event survey of attendees, 100 percent said they would attend another Siebel conference.

 

Digital Event Strategist of the Year Finalists

Supported by Meetings + Conventions Calgary

 

Nicole Armstrong, Vice President, Worldwide Events, MicroStrategy

Nicole is a champion for digital events, which she has demonstrated in her previous job roles as Sr Events Manager and Director of Stakeholder Relations at InternetSociety. This included overseeing the introduction and expansion of a series of digital event experiences for the company. Nicole will continue to utilize these skills in her new position at MicroStrategy.

 

Todd Helton, MBA, Senior Director, Meetings, Conferences & Online Learning Events, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (AICPA)
Todd was one of the pioneering Meeting Professionals who saw the vision and value of Hybrid Live Events, launching the first AICPA Live Streaming Event in 2009. Over the past eight years he has grown the online program exponentially and has devoted a significant amount of time to providing thought leadership in this field. He gives speeches at leading meetings and takes part in industry panels and interviews.

 

Patrick McCrea, Senior Manager, Digital Events, HIMSS Media

Pat helps provide educational content and thought leadership programs to IT Healthcare Directors, Executives, Managers, and VPs. Through his work, HIMSS remains the leader in the IT Healthcare education space. He has created a solution that has ungated and gated content, a mix of content (editorial vs. sponsorship), and has collecting actionable data to help drive organic growth among subscribers. The solution is working, and makes the ROI valuable for participating sponsors.

 

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About PCMA Education Foundation

The role of the Education Foundation of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the meetings and conventions industry. Established in 1985, the Foundation fuels advancement, nurtures professional development and shapes tomorrow’s meeting and convention leaders. Learn more at foundation.pcma.org .

 

Please contact Davies Tanner for all PCMA Media Relations and press releases at pcma@daviestanner.com or +44 1892 619100.