Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

April 16 2015

Five Of Your Colleagues In Chicago Just Won Some Big Awards

David McMillin

If you’re a meeting professional, chances are that many of your friends and family members aren't quite sure of what it is you really do. While you know that conventions, conferences and annual meetings play a critical role in the success of the global economy, their importance has been more challenging to define for the general public. That’s why the Meetings Mean Business coalition launched North American Meetings Industry Day. 

Yesterday, more than 60 destinations across North America hosted gatherings to help bring wider recognition to meeting planners, hotel managers, convention center sales representatives and travel professionals. In Chicago, more than 200 people came together at the Museum of Contemporary Art for the Chicagoland Four Star Awards Ceremony.

“We’re all part of an industry that’s not as well-known as it ought to be,” Deborah Sexton, CEO, PCMA, said. 

Some Chicago residents may still wonder what exactly the meetings industry means, but plenty of them witnessed the effects of attending spending throughout the week leading to NAMID. More than 40,000 healthcare IT professionals were in town for HIMSS 2015.

“To see that you can’t a reservation at a restaurant on a Tuesday night is symbolic of the impact of this industry,” Don Welsh, CEO, Choose Chicago said.

It’s impossible to honor everyone responsible for creating that impact. However, the event did put five of the most important names in the spotlight. Here’s a look at the inaugural class of NAMID award winners in the Chicago area.

Most Attentive Hotelier
Patrick Donnelly, General Manager, Hyatt Regency Chicago

The 2,019-room Hyatt Regency on Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago is the largest Hyatt hotel in the world, but Patrick Donnelly doesn’t let size stand in the way of delivering personal service. Even with all of his duties, he still makes times to greet attendees in the lobby.

Best Industry Advocate
Jack Patronski, Executive Vice President, Industry Development, Global Experience Specialists

No matter where he goes to raise the profile of the meetings industry, there’s no place like home for Jack Patronski.

“I have company responsibilities across the US, but when it comes down to it, I love supporting Chicago,” Patronski said.

Four-Star Service Award
Cindy Payne, CMP, Director, Client Services, Choose Chicago

Everyone in the industry knows the worrisome feeling of last-minute hurdles. Cindy Payne knows how to help her clients leap over those potential troubles. Her award honored her ability to save the day.

Most Tasteful Restaurateur
John Colletti, Managing Partner, Gibsons Steakhouse

There is no shortage of mouthwatering dining destinations in the Windy City, but John Colletti rose above the rest of the restaurant crowd. Try one of the classic cuts at Gibsons next time you’re in town, and you’ll taste why.

Positive Footprint Award
Susan Katz, Director, Corporate Events & Travel, True Value Company

Meetings do a whole lot more than pump impressive dollar amounts into host destinations’ economies. They also make a serious difference in volunteer efforts. Through her work at True Value, Susan Katz has helped the organization donate more than $200,000 worth of goods from exhibitor booths to Habitat for Humanity.

What did you do for the first North American Meetings Industry Day? Go to Catalyst to share your thoughts on the big day and how we can plan an even bigger celebration in 2016.


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