PCMA Foundation Announces 2023 Visionary Awards Lifetime Achievement Honorees, Groundbreaker and Professional Excellence Finalists

Annual Industry Celebration to be held March 9 During Business Events Industry Week

CHICAGO, IL (December 19, 2022)
– The PCMA Foundation is pleased to announce the 2023 PCMA Visionary Awards Lifetime Achievement Honorees, Groundbreaker and Professional Excellence Finalists. The annual Visionary Awards, established to honor and celebrate the business events industry’s exceptional stars, will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2023, during Business Events Industry Week powered by Destinations International and PCMA at Gaylord National in National Harbor, MD.

The 2023 Lifetime Achievement Honorees are:

  • Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group, IMEX Group – Regent Exhibitions
  • M.T. Hickman, Lead Faculty, Dallas College – Richland Campus
  • Bill Reed, FASAE, CMP Chief Event Strategy Officer, American Society of Hematology

2023 Supplier Honoree: Ray Bloom

Bloom has built a global events business platform which is diverse, inclusive, and welcoming to all in the global business events industry. His vision and inclusive demeanor have helped shape a generation of professionals in the meetings, incentive, conference, and tradeshow segments.

2023 Education Honoree: M.T. Hickman

Hickman’s goal is to develop other individuals and lead by example. Following a decade in the business events industry, she turned her focus to help educate the workforce of the future. She consistently seeks new opportunities to build relationships that bridge industry and academia.

2023 Business Event Strategist Honoree: Bill Reed

Reed is regarded as a mentor, and leader who pushes everyone to be better, and do better. He respects and honors all perspectives and views his role as a facilitator leader, creating a collaborative environment for both individuals to grow and organizations to realize innovative and successful results.

“The Visionary Awards is always a well-deserved celebration of our industry, and the 2023 edition will take place again during Business Events Industry Week,” said Meredith Rollins, PCMA Chief Community Officer and Executive Director, PCMA Foundation. “Our awards committee was integral throughout the review process of numerous outstanding nominees. We appreciate their generous time and commitment to identify the standouts this year who are helping move our industry and the profession forward. This event raises critical funding for the PCMA Foundation and wouldn’t be possible without the support of our event sponsors, table hosts, and the business events community.”

The annual celebration will also recognize 21 Professional Excellence Finalists across seven categories for extraordinary contributions to their organizations and their impact on the professional development of others. The recipient in each category will be announced live at the March 9 celebration.

The categories and finalists are:

Business Event Strategist of the Year

Kristi Casale, CMP, DMCP Vice President for Meetings and Continuing Education, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Lisa McGlashen, CMP, CEM, HMCC Director, Meetings and Exhibits, American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgery

Alexandra Zapple, CAE, CMP, CEM, DES Senior Director of Meetings and Member Experience, American Society of Nephrology


Community Advocate of the Year

Jolene Jang, Consultant and Speaker, Asian Inclusivity Consultancy

Lakshmee Lachhman-Persad, Accessibility Advocate & Consultant, Accessible Travel NYC

Mariana Gallo, Director, Meetings and Programs, American Association of Physicists in Medicine


Digital Experience Strategist of the Year

Jodi VanWoerkom, CMP Senior Event Manager, Association for Talent Development

Cynthia Smith, CMP, DES Virtual Event Manager, American Physical Society

John Chen, Chief Executive Officer, Engaging Virtual Meetings


Event Designer of the Year

Megan Finnell, CMP Director, Meetings & Conferences, MGMA

Beth Surmont, FASAE, CMP, CAE Vice President, Event Strategy and Design, 360 Live Media

Kristi Casale, CMP, DMCP Vice President for Meetings and Continuing Education, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry



Gary Murakami, GTP, GLP, CMP-Fellow, CMM, DES Vice President of Sales & Industry Relations, Teneo Hospitality Group

Constance Samuels, MBA, CMP, DES Director of Events and Education, The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations

Sheila Wong, CEM, DES Senior Vice President, BBW Event Staff


Outstanding Service to a Chapter or Region

Susan Saganski, CMP, DES Global Account Executive, Marriott International (Canada East Chapter)

Joni Opperman, Director of Sales, Association Group Sales, Hilton Worldwide Sales (Greater Midwest Chapter)

Leah Lewis, CMP, DES Director of Meetings, American Gear Manufacturers Association, (Capital Chapter)


Supplier of the Year

Tim Mathy, Senior Partner, SpeakInc.

Kristen Parker, CASE Director of Eastern Regional Sales, Visit Austin

Rob Venus, General Manager, Freeman

A variety of ticket options are available for the 2023 Visionary Awards celebration here. The 2023 Visionary Awards is presented by Visit Austin and the Austin Convention Center. Proceeds from the Visionary Awards benefit the PCMA Foundation, which funds more than $600K USD annually in research grants and more than 150 scholarships benefiting emerging leaders, students, faculty, 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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