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.
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 .
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