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A glittering night of celebration and recognition at the IMEX in Frankfurt Gala Dinner Awards

May 23, 2019

Professionals across all levels of the global business events industry were honoured at the IMEX in Frankfurt Gala Dinner Awards at the Alte Oper.

As part of IMEX in Frankfurt (21-23 May), the awards bring together meeting and event professionals to celebrate outstanding achievements in the industry.

The awards: 

  • Destinations International Global Ambassador Award
  • International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) International Excellence Award 
  • International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Innovation Award
  • 2019 Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC) Unity Award 
  • Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Foundation / Maritz Global Events Student Scholarship Award
  • Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Global Business Events Executive of the Year Award
  • Jane E. Schuldt Society for Incentive Travel Executives (SITE) Master Motivator Award
  • IMEX Events Industry Council (EIC) Innovation in Sustainability Award
  • Paul Flackett IMEX Academy Awards

The evening started with a huge ovation, as Destinations International President and CEO Don Welsh handed over the Global Ambassador Award to Tammy Blount-Canavan, President & CEO of Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Tammy’s reputation sets her apart, with nearly 30 years of service, and she was recently recognised as one of the 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry. Her organisation has made huge strides in sustainability and destination stewardship, and is continuing to build an engaged global destination community.

The roll of honour continued with the IAEE International Excellence Award, presented by IAEE President and CEO David DuBois to CES (Shanghai) Exhibition Co. Ltd., the team behind CES Asia, the region’s leading tech event. The record-breaking 2018 show hit big attendance numbers (46,748 in total), with 529 exhibiting companies – 2.5 times larger than its inaugural show in 2015.  

France-based Colloquium took home the IAPCO Innovation Award for their imaginative problem-solving solution – a tool which helps project managers match budgets to accounts instantly and accurately. IAPCO President Mathias Posch did the honours, with Christophe Painvin, Colloquium Projects Director, accepting the acclaim. 

Further individual recognition reflected the outstanding performance of Joachim König, Director of Hannover Congress Centrum. Presented by JMIC President Kai Hattendorf, the 2019 JMIC Unity Award was a fitting acknowledgement of over 20 years of industry advancement initiatives. Examples include his leadership of the Joint Meetings Industry Council and facilitation and hosting of the 2018 Global Summit in Hannover. 

Emile Coetzee from North-West University in South Africa was presented with the MPI Foundation / Maritz Global Events Student Scholarship Award, which celebrates and supports the next generation of meeting planners as part of the IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum International University Challenge. It was fitting that MPI CEO Paul Van Deventer handed over the prize, with MPI at the forefront of bringing young talent into the industry.   

The PCMA Global Business Events Executive of the Year Award is always hotly anticipated. PCMA President and CEO Sherrif Karamat took great pleasure in recognising Carola van der Hoeff, COO & Congress Director of the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP). Praised for her inclusive approach, Carola plays a key role in the highly influential AC Forum and is president of a fund which encourages scientists considering organising international conferences in The Netherlands.

One of our industry’s most valued skills is the ability to motivate, and it was the duty of Didier Scaillet, SITE Chief Excellence Officer, to hand over the Jane E. Schuldt SITE Master Motivator Award – to the brilliant Rhonda Brewer, Vice-President Sales North America of BCD Meetings and Events. Her work with non-profit organisation, ECPAT USA, around sexual exploitation and trafficking illustrates perfectly how so many people in our business are determined to make a difference. 

The IMEX EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award was fiercely contested, but it went to Global Climate Action Summit, who became the first organisation in the world to receive ISO 20121 certification by an accredited third-party certification organisation. Jeffrey Wexler, Chief Operating Officer, and Jaime Nack, Head of Sustainability, received the award from Amy Calvert, CEO of the Event Industry Council. In demonstrating how a large-scale event may achieve third-party certification to ISO 20121, the Summit hopes to inspire other event planners to seek certification. 

The Paul Flackett IMEX Academy Awards, named in tribute to the former IMEX Managing Director, were a fitting climax to the dinner. Three outstanding women were recognised for their long-term commitment to the industry, for pushing back the boundaries around innovation, understanding the importance of impeccable customer service, and knowing exactly how to get the best out of a team.  

The 2019 roll call:

  • Roslyn McLeod, Founder and Chair, ARINEX
  • Madelyn Marusa, DMCP, CIS VP, Industry Relations, Strategic Initiatives PRA Business Events, Inc.
  • Heike Mahmoud, Chief Operating Officer, Congress Center Hamburg

Carina Bauer, IMEX Group CEO, said: “Massive congratulations to our award winners – their pioneering efforts are truly making waves in our industry. These awards go from strength to strength, but only because of the continuing efforts of our attendees tonight and the business events community as a whole. We cannot wait to do it all again next year.”


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By: MC Media Group International Global Office Berlin | Editor-in-Chief Werner Kreis

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