Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

February 04 2016

Meet Our Award Winners

The Greater Midwest Chapter

Learn more about our 2015 GMC PCMA Award Winners

Outstanding Service to a Chapter Award
Keri Kelly
onPeak | GES


Keri has 20+ years of industry experience encompassing team leadership, industry partnerships, sales, contract negotiations and account management. She began her career with the Palmer House Hilton before moving to onPeak (previously Travel Technology Group) where her current role is Director of Hotel Industry Relations.

With onPeak’s 400+ event portfolio, ranging from 1,000 to 60,000 room nights, Keri leads the Hotel Industry Relations team responsible for hotel sourcing, contract negotiations and hotel partnerships. In between her time at the Palmer House Hilton and onPeak, Keri spent a year living in Dublin, Ireland, after receiving her dual citizenship.

Keri most recently was awarded the GES 2015 Xcellence in Leadership Award. Last and most importantly, Keri has been a GMC PCMA member for 11 years having served on the Community Services Committee for the last five and most recently as a 2014 Vice Chair and the 2015 Chair. Her passions include spending time with family, friends, keeping active, traveling and photography.

Outstanding Service to a Chapter Award
This PCMA award honors one member who has made an exemplary contribution to the association through its network of chapters. Each chapter submits a nominee to national headquarters for consideration. Each nominee will have exhibited dedication to the chapter in areas such as education, communication, membership, and/or community service, and must have demonstrated achievements in mentoring others and inspiring new leaders within the chapter.


GEM Award
Kristi Casale CMP, DMCP
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry


Kristi began in this industry in her senior year at Michigan State University, when she changed her major from Science to Hospitality Business. She was on the founding board of the student chapter of PCMA at MSU. After graduation, Kristi spent four years at the Henry Center at MSU where she served on the board for the Michigan Chapter of MPI.

In 2006, Kristi moved to Chicago for an entirely different opportunity at a DMC, In the Loop-Chicago, and was there just shy of five years. She has been a senior meeting’s manager at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry since 2010.

Kristi resides in Wrigleyville with her husband Jeff and son Declan. They are expecting their second child in early May. She enjoys a variety of sports and definitely stays loyal to her Michigan teams, especially when they are wearing green and white.

GEM Award
The Gem Award is presented to a professional or supplier who is both a new member of the Greater Midwest Chapter and is currently serving on a committee. Nominated by committee chairs, this volunteer demonstrates passion, and has taken an active role in the achievements of that committee by consistently going the extra mile.


Pillar Award
Barbara Connell, CAE, CMP
American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy


Barbara is the Chief Operating Officer for the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. She oversees the activities of a number of divisions at ASGE, including Health Policy, Practice, and Quality. Additionally, Barbara manages the day-to-day operations for ASGE’s Institute for Training & Technology (IT&T) educational facility and ASGE headquarters. Barbara is also the Chief Operating Officer for Digestive HealthWorks, LLC, ASGE’s association management entity which provides comprehensive service to not-for-profit medical organizations whose mission focuses on digestive health.

Throughout her career, Barbara has worked in executive positions for the American Dietetic Association, the American Academy of Periodontology, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). Prior to working with associations, she worked for CBS Television and Marriott Hotels.

As the first president, and one of the founding members, of the Greater Midwest Chapter of PCMA, past chairman of Association Forum, and the Green Meetings Industry Council-Chicago/Midwest Chapter, Barbara is involved in a variety of industry groups and currently serves on a number of committees for GMC PCMA, PCMA, ASAE and Association Forum. She has served on the PCMA and Green Meetings Industry Council Board of Directors, as well as the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, Starwood Hotels and Hawaii Convention Bureau Advisory Boards.

Pillar Award
This award was created by the chapter in 2003 to honor a professional or supplier who is recognized as an unyielding supporter of the chapter through dedicated participation, enthusiastic committee involvement, and leadership.


Richard A. Daignault Award
Peggy Murray Hagaman
New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau


As Manager, Midwest Regional Sales Office for the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau since 2004, Peggy is a leader in destination sales. She is a senior and valued member of the NOCVB’s New Business Development Team. Peggy is charged with creating new meeting opportunities for her New Orleans hotel partners and for the Convention Center. Her 30+ years in the hospitality industry have given her the opportunity to develop a large number of strategic relationships with associations, corporations, and third parties. Peggy’s strong sense of devotion and appreciation for the hospitality industry stems from her childhood, when her father worked for the Hilton Hotels Corporation and her family moved because of his position seven times.

Peggy started her career with the Palmer House Hotel, and then moved on to CVB Sales in Cleveland. She opened the regional sales office for New Orleans CVB in 1991. Peggy took time off to raise a family and worked part time as a consultant and regional sales manager for the Dallas CVB. She then returned to the Crescent City once again in 2004.

When Peggy is off the clock she spends time with her husband Brian, and children, Madeline, Paige and Braden. Peggy enjoys trips to visit her girls at college, nights and weekends of basketball games and tournaments for her son and evenings out with friends and colleagues.

Richard A. "Dick" Daignault Award
This award was created by the Chapter in 1994 in honor of Dick Daignault, a long-time Hilton Sales Representative, a career-long member of PCMA, and a dear friend to his peers, his customers, and his competitors. Dick passed away in June 1994 at the age of 64. This award is presented to a gracious and generous supplier partner who provides leadership through mentoring, demonstrates integrity, and shows consistent respect for colleagues.


Robert J. "Bob" Donovan Award
Colleen Donohoe, CMP
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons


Colleen kicked off her 25-year career in the hospitality industry with a degree in Travel and Tourism Management from Michigan State University followed by her first professional role with Maritz Travel. Since that time she has found a home with dental and medical associations working for the American Dental Association and spending more than 14 years in ascending roles at the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. She has been a Director with The Society of Thoracic Surgeons since 2014 where, among other things, she has initiated technological advancements, expanded exhibitor opportunities and leveraged her role on the management team to institutionalize professional growth opportunities for staff.

Colleen’s passion for the industry lead her to PCMA, where she found a life-long community of friends and trusted advisors and further developed her enthusiasm for giving back through volunteerism. During her tenure with PCMA she served as both Vice Chair and Chair of the Program Committee, was elected to the Board of Directors (2010) and proudly held the office of GMC PCMA President (2013). Colleen also supports city and hotel partners by serving as an advisory board member for the Philadelphia CVB and Starwood Hotels.

Outside of the office, Colleen advocates for the independence of persons living with disabilities as a member of the Advancement Committee of Neumann Family Services - a Chicago-based non-profit organization.

Robert J. "Bob" Donovan Award
This award was created by the Chapter in 2001 in honor of Bob Donovan, Vice President, Meetings & Travel Services, American Hospital Association. Bob is a career-long member of PCMA, and a person who is committed to the continuity and growth of the industry by mentoring new industry professionals, while always maintaining an open door policy. This award is presented to an outstanding meeting professional who leads by example, inspires volunteerism, and is committed to the growth of the industry.


Congratulations to all of our winners!

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