PCMA 2021 Visionary Award Winners Announced

PCMA Foundation  Honored the  Business  Events  Industry’s  Brightest  Stars  in Washington, D.C.

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (September 2, 2021) — The PCMA Foundation on August 26 recognized more than 20 business events industry leaders at the 2021 Visionary Awards, held at the Hilton Washington in Washington, D.C. The Visionary Awards honors the industry’s exceptional stars for their significant contributions to their organizations and the business events community. More than 500 guests celebrated with a red-carpet experience, awards show and an after party featuring Austin-based band The Nightowls.

“The Visionary Awards is an opportunity to celebrate our amazing colleagues, while also supporting the PCMA Foundation,” said Angie Ranalli, PCMA Foundation Chairwoman. “To the innovators, the game-changers, the risk-takers and above all the visionaries that provide the power behind business events, thank you for your hard work, dedication, and passion. Congratulations to all of our honorees and finalists.”

Six recipients were honored with Professional Excellence Awards. The winners were selected by an awards committee, which reviewed all nominations and chose the finalists. As part of the process, the committee reviewed the finalists again and selected the winners via a blind online vote.

  • Supplier of the Year: WeeMin Ong, Vice President of Conventions and Exhibitions, Marina Bay Sands
  • Business Event Strategist of the Year: Bob Bejan, CVP, Global Events, Studios and Marketing Community, Microsoft
  • Digital Experience Strategist of the Year: Victoria Fanning, CMP, DES, Sr. Manager, Digital Events, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)
  • Event Designer of the Year: Amy Ledoux, retired as Chief Learning and Meetings Officer, ASAE
  • Community Advocate of the Year: José Quan, Founder and Owner of Eventia
  • Outstanding Service to a Chapter: Kim Allison, Senior Director of Sales, Georgia World Congress Center — Capital Chapter
PCMA Visionary Awards 2021

PCMA Visionary Awards 2021

“We are all in the business of bringing people together – convening with purpose to deliver the human connections that help enrich our communities and our quality of life,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE, PCMA president and CEO. “We advance industries and social change. We are resilient. We are innovative and we passionately believe in our ability to change the world. The world is a better place when we are together.”

In recognition of leaders who made a significant impact during a year filled with so much uncertainty, the PCMA Foundation added three new awards – the Wayfinder Award for an individual and an organization, and the Groundbreakers Award.

The Wayfinder Award honors an individual and an organization for their innovation, courage, leadership, and solution-focused approach when impacted by a significant external challenge. IMEX Group CEO Carina Bauer was the individual award winner, and the organizational award went to Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

Carol Wallace, former president and CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, received the inaugural PCMA Groundbreakers Award — honoring industry trailblazers who represent diverse sectors of the business events community, recognizing those who have made a significant contribution to their organizations and programs that advance inclusion and equity.

Also recognized were the Lifetime Achievement Honorees — Bill  Grusich, CMP, FASAE, senior vice president at Associated Luxury Hotels International, and Lisa Delpy  Neirotti, Ph.D, Professor and Director Sports Management programs (BBA, MSSM, MBA, Sport Philanthropy Certificate) at The George Washington University. Due to current travel restrictions and border closures, the PCMA Foundation will appropriately honor Ben  Goedegebuure, vice president and global general manager at Maritz Global Events with his Lifetime Achievement during the 2022 Visionary Awards.

Other Finalists for the Professional Excellence and Wayfinder Awards that were honored include:
Karen Watson, Cultivate Event Design and Consulting; Camille White-Stern, Splash; Rose Horcher, Choose Chicago; Lora Stanley, Visit Anaheim; Carly Silberstein, Redstone Agency Inc.; Ben Elliott, Live Productions Australia Pty Ltd; John Woo, GES Events; Megan Finnell, CMP, Medical Group Management Association (MGMA); Toni Zoblotsky, Hilton Corp.; Michelle Guelbart, MSW, a recognized voice in the movement to eradicate human trafficking and child exploitation; Allen Anderson, Anderson Hospitality Services, Greater Philadelphia Chapter; Andrew Horsfield, DES, Hyatt Place Ottawa West, PCMA Canada East Chapter; Michael Clarke, Marriott International; Patrizia Semprebene Buongiorno, AIM Group International; Events DC; PCMA Rocky Mountain Chapter.

Proceeds from the Visionary Awards benefit the PCMA Foundation, which supports the industry and, through its scholarships and programs, empowers students and professionals to advance in their profession.


For media queries from the Americas, APAC, EMEA, and requests for interviews with Sherrif Karamat, please contact: Meghan Risch, PCMA Chief of Staff, Vice President, Corporate Communications

About PCMA

PCMA, PCMA Foundation and CEMA educate, inspire, and listen, creating meaningful experiences where passion, purpose and commerce come together. We are the world’s largest community for Business Events Strategists, providing senior-level education, networking, and market intelligence for the global business events industry. Our mission is to drive social and economic progress through business events. Headquartered in Chicago, IL PCMA has 17 North American Chapters, regional communities in APAC, EMEA and LATAM, and members in 59 countries. The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA), a PCMA subsidiary, advances strategic event marketing and marketing communications for senior-level event marketers and industry professionals. Visit us at pcma.org.

About PCMA Foundation

The role of the Foundation of PCMA is to support the mission of PCMA through fundraising and grant-giving focused on scholarships, education and research that will advance the business events industry. Annually the Foundation funds over $700K in impact, and since 1985 has funded over 2,500 scholarships, 100 research studies and education programs, and $2.7M in charitable giving.

About CEMA

The Corporate Event Marketing Association (CEMA) is the eminent community for senior event executives, association peers and industry partners and is an integral component of the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) brand collective. CEMA promotes professional networking opportunities, facilitates peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and drives industry standards. Through strong relationships with strategic partners, CEMA fosters both finding innovative solutions to business issues and continuous focus on members’ career growth. For more information, please visit http://www.cemaonline.com.

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