On June 20, Meetings Professionals International revealed the winners of 2017's Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence Awards. The winners of the meeting and events industry were announced at MPI's 2017 World Education Congress in Las Vegas, and were celebrated at the MPI RISE Awards Presentation and Luncheon. The RISE Awards categories are split by community and individual achievement, with the seven awards focusing on innovation, impact and influence in the meetings and events industry, and global transferability. Each winner will be considered a new inductee to the MPI Community of Honorees, which consists of past winners and leaders of MPI.
“The MPI RISE Awards highlight the amazing talent we have in our global meeting and event industry," says Dr. Krzysztof Celuch, Chair of the MPI RISE Awards Judging Panel. "This year’s recipients have all demonstrated that with hard work and creativity you can make dreams come true – not tomorrow but now, because when we meet, we change the world."
The awards are as follows:
The Young Professional Award was given to Natalie Beiro from the MPI Potomac Chapter, who has quickly ascended the ranks. Beiro began her career at Omni Hotels & Resorts, and only after a short time was promoted to sales manager. She was even named Manager of the Year by Omni Shoreham Hotel in 2014, and received the Rising Star Award from her MPI chapter very soon after. At her MPI chapter in Potomac, she served as the chair of the Chairman's Challenge in 2015, where she helped to raise $5,000 for the MPI Foundation. Currently, Beiro serves as the director of member recruitment for the MPI Potomac chapter. Outside of MPI, Beiro founded the Hart School Alumni Network at James Madison University, whose goal is to network students at the school studying recreation, hospitality, and sports with alumni and faculty. Beiro also volunteers at Make-a-Wish Foundation.
Ginny Fountain, CMP, CMM of the MPI Carolinas chapter was presented with the Member of the Year Award. Fountain has had significant involvement with her MPI chapter throughout her 17 years there, including serving as president twice and in other leadership positions, helping with CMP study groups and winning six awards since 2002. Fountain also dedicates a lot of time to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Girl Scouts, Rotary Club, and United Way.
Both the MPI Dallas/Fort Worth and MPI Northern California chapters won the RISE Award for Educational Programming. This award goes out to chapters that focus on advancing education and professional development of their members, and can do so through mentoring, programming and CMP education initiatives.
To win the award, the MPI Northern California Chapter's CMP University is a volunteer-run educational program that was designed to be like university extensions format. CMPU helped 175 of their members receive their CMP through the 11 sessions that it offered, with 18 of them earning their CMP in 2016. CMPU offered online resources as well, including study groups, materials and discussions.
The MPI Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter Café boosted the mentoring program in their chapter by creating opportunities for brainstorming and sharing of knowledge, sponsoring mentor relationships between their members. This more casual approach gave members a more flexible option to network with other
members without committing, and were given topics to talk about to inspire conversations. Over the past two years, membership in the Mentor Café has more than doubled.
Colleen Rickenbacher, CMP, CSEP, CPC, CTA, CPECP was given the Meeting Industry Leadership Award for her many achievements in the meetings and events industry. Rickenbacher is from the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of MPI, and has been a member of her chapter's board as well as the MPI Foundation Board. Outside MPI, Rickenbacher has been working in her industry for more than 40 years, and has also earned other achievements such as being inducted into the Events Industry Council Hall of Leaders in 2016. She worked with Visit Dallas (previously Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau) for 20 years, authored 5 books, and has given 2,000 speeches globally.
The MPI Texas Hill Country Chapter won the RISE Award for Industry Advocacy. This chapter was specifically awarded for its Global Meetings Industry Day initiatives in 2016, which was a three-prong event was held to raise awareness and showcase the meetings and events industry in a new influential light. The event included the signing of a proclamation, a panel of Meetings Mean Business Coalition leaders, and a rally and march that had more than 200 participants. Many industry partners worked together to make this event possible at the Texas Capitol.
Finally, the RISE Award for Marketplace Excellence was given to the MPI Northern California Chapter. Its Annual Conference and Expo was the reason for the award, in which the event's 28th anniversary was this last year. Twelve hundred industry professionals attended last year's event and were able to network with other suppliers and planners. ConvoSpark partnered with the MPI chapter to provide an interactive floor plan for the event.
“We extend our sincerest congratulations to the 2017 RISE Awards recipients,” says Paul Van Deventer, president and CEO of MPI. “The accomplishments of these exceptional leaders and chapters are remarkable in their own right. It is my hope their stories will inspire others to pursue their goals and make a difference within our industry.”