Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

October 27 2014

PCMA Announces 2014 Achievement Award Winners



Contact: Carolyn Clark

Direct: 312.423.7271, E-mail: cclark@pcma.org


CHICAGO, IL, October 28, 2013 – Each year, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) honors outstanding members for their contributions to PCMA and the meetings industry. PCMA will recognize the winners from the main stage of the 59th PCMA annual meeting: Convening Leaders, January 11-14, 2015, in Chicago, IL.

“Each year we continue to be amazed by the accomplishments of our PCMA Achievement Award winners. The individuals and organizations we recognize here today are inspiring leaders, who are making significant contributions to the future of the meetings and events industry,” said Deborah Sexton, President and CEO, PCMA.

Distinguished Member of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Member of the Year Award is Joy Womack, Director, Event Management, Experient.  Joy has been an active member of PCMA for many years, as well as a dedicated volunteer.  This past year, she has served as Secretary of the Capital Chapter, and has been working collaboratively to develop a leadership toolkit as part of the chapter’s efforts around succession planning.  On the national level, she is a member of the Advocacy Task Force and leads a workgroup that has been charged with developing tactics to disseminate information and tools to members.   Joy is passionate about developing others, and serves as a role model and mentor.

Distinguished Meeting Professional of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Professional of the Year Award is Carolyn Pund, CMP, CMM, Senior Manager, Global Strategic Meetings Management, Cisco Systems, Inc.  Carolyn has led the Global SMM program for Cisco since 2008, and it has been her mission to create the value of an SMM program that provides measurable savings while delivering meetings or events that produce the greatest business outcomes.  She has served on over 30 industry committees, task forces and advisory boards, is a frequent industry speaker, and has received numerous accolades.  Community service is a family affair, and Carolyn and her family have invested significant time in projects such as raising guide dogs and building homes in Mexico.

Distinguished Supplier Professional of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Supplier Professional of the Year Award is Kim Allison, CAE, CASE, CTA, Associate Director of Sales, Visit Baltimore.  Kim is a true advocate for her clients and the city of Baltimore, and was recently recognized as the Visit Baltimore Employee of the Year.  She serves on the board of the Capital Chapter, and has many years of service within PCMA and across the industry.  She gives back through her extensive community service activities, and has participated in Hospitality Helping Hands at every Convening Leaders she has attended.

Distinguished Emerging Leader of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Emerging Leader of the Year Award is Samantha Moore, Meetings Coordinator, American Association of Immunologists in Washington, DC. Samantha first joined PCMA as a student at Penn State University, where she was president of the chapter in her senior year.  Since joining the Capital Chapter, after graduation, she has served on both the Emerging Professionals and the Professional Development Committees, and is currently the Mentoring Program Champion.  In this role, she aims to facilitate the exchange of experience and growth amongst the leaders of today and infuse excitement and strength into tomorrow’s leaders.  She is a natural leader who is passionate about our industry.

Distinguished Educator of the Year Award

The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Educator of the Year Award is Swathi Ravichandran, Associate Professor, Hospitality Management, Kent State University. Swathi’s students describe her as going above and beyond to provide them with an extraordinary learning experience.  She is the Program Director for Hospitality Management, a program that boasts a nearly 100% placement rate.  She served as a content reviewer for the 6th edition of Professional Meetings Management due to be released in January 2015, and serves as the faculty adviser to the KSU student chapter of PCMA.  She is also a member of the PCMA Faculty Task Force. 

Outstanding Service to a Chapter Award

The recipient of the 2014 Outstanding Service to a Chapter Award is Belinda Keota, CMP, CEM, Meeting Manager, Produce Marketing Association.  A member of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of PCMA, Belinda has served as Chair of the Student Development Committee, a member of the Board of Directors, and Secretary.  She has recently led a Volunteer Taskforce to learn more about how to keep the chapter’s volunteers motivated and engaged, and she has also been working with the New Professionals Committee.  She will serve as President-Elect in 2015.

Environmental Leadership Award

The recipient of the 2014 Environmental Leadership Award is Marriott International.  Marriott’s commitment to the environment starts at the top with their Global Green Council of ten Marriott global officers and other senior executives, and extends enterprise-wide to their global family of associates and external partners.  The company’s environmental goals and accomplishments address the key areas of energy/carbon, water, waste, green buildings, and associate and guest engagement.

Innovation Award

The recipient of the 2014 Innovation Award is Robert Heard, Associate Executive Director, American College of Emergency Physicians.   Bobby is the creator of innovatED, a first of its kind, 10,000 square foot, case-based, hands-on experiential emergency room layout on the tradeshow floor that showcases the top innovative products and services in their industry.  This immersive experience turned a profit in its first year, and serves as a prototype for other organizations and associations to capitalize on and create future growth in the tradeshow industry. Bobby is described as a visionary leader who has the drive and commitment to see an idea through from conception to execution with success.

Spirit Award

This year, there are two recipients of the Spirit Award:  American Dental Association and Friends of Marlene.

In 2013, the American Dental Association launched their first national Mission of Mercy (MOM) project at their annual meeting in New Orleans.  At this free, one-day dental clinic for the local community, 1,100 volunteers from 40 states provided $386,493 worth of care, 785 patient visits, 410 restorative procedures, 553 surgical procedures, 663 preventive procedures, 51 partial dentures  and 10 sets of full dentures.  Recently, the ADA’s second MOM project in San Antonio was another huge success with over 900 volunteers from 36 states and 10 countries helping 1,207 patients and providing $526,474 in dental treatment.   Through these charitable efforts, ADA leaves a lasting impact on the host city for their convention.

The Friends of Marlene is a volunteer group comprised of mostly meeting professionals and industry suppliers from the Chicago area.  The group formed to honor the memory of Marlene Hetzel Palmerson, a long-time industry volunteer who lost her battle with cancer in 2010.  Through multiple fundraising events, Friends of Marlene directs 100% of their funds to benefit the Supportive Oncology Program at the Maggie Daley Center.  To date, they have raised nearly $200,000 to support patient services such as acupuncture, massage therapy, nutrition consultation, individual and family counseling and appearance enhancement. 

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About Professional Convention Management Association

PCMA is the multi-channel professional resource and premier educator for leaders in the meetings, conventions, events and trade show industries. PCMA provides their 6,000+ members with a community of likeminded colleagues, innovative education and creative global solutions to enhance both their professional development and their organization's face-to-face and virtual connections. Headquartered in Chicago, PCMA has 17 chapters throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico with members in more than 35 countries. For additional information, please visit the PCMA Web site at pcma.org.

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