On Oct. 13, 2013, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) rolled out the red carpet for more than 450 meetings industry power players in Las Vegas attending the Hall of Leaders Gala.
The awards ceremony, kicking-off IMEX America 2013 and co-sponsored by MGM Resort’s Mandalay Bay, the IMEX Group, Freeman and other partners, honored industry pioneers whose intelligence, leadership, innovation and influence have changed the landscape of the profession.
Karen Kotowski, CEO, CIC, and the 2013 chair of the CIC Board of Directors, Fran Rickenbach, kicked off the 18th annual induction ceremony with a surprise presentation of several of the 106 current members of the hall, who were on hand for the celebration.
After a heartfelt thank you to all of the gala’s generous sponsors, the ceremony began with the presentation of the Pacesetter Award to two young professionals for their outstanding achievements early in their careers. Honored this year were Robyn Mietklewicz, director, accounts and global meeting management services, Meeting Sites Resource and Meghan Schilt, events manager, Apax Partners.
“Our two recipients – while just beginning to hit their stride career-wise – have already made an impact on the market with an undeniable passion for their work and a commitment to the industry that has already set them apart,” said Teri Breining, event chair.
The Master of Ceremonies, Glenn Thayer, took the stage to introduce the five new game changers joining the prestigious Hall of Leaders:
- Jorge Castex, honorary president, COCAL, and senior advisor, MCI Argentina: Nominated by International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO)
- Eduardo Chaillo, CMP, CMM: Nominated by International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)
- Peggy Daidakis, executive director, Baltimore Convention Center: Nominated by the Baltimore Convention Center Staff
- Liz Erikson, executive director, meetings and incentives, Fairmont-Raffles-Swissotel: Nominated by Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA)
- Stephen Powell, senior vice president, worldwide sales, Intercontinental Hotels Group: Nominated by Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
The acceptance speeches reflected on the challenges the honorees faced during their careers, acknowledged those who helped them navigate and succeed along the way and encouraged all in the room to mentor and take an interest in those who will become the new generation of industry leaders.
“I am here today because people took an interest in me as I was advancing in my career,” said honoree Daidakis. “I love being around the next generation of managers and helping them learn from my experiences. I hope many of you, particularly my fellow female colleagues, will consider joining me by mentoring and encouraging the many talented young people, particularly the women, to consider this rewarding career in venue management.”
Guests later enjoyed a night of entertainment, complete with a live orchestra, a full cast of singers, dancers and music performances tailored especially for each honoree. At the end of the evening, it was announced that nominations for the 2014 Hall of Leaders are now open.
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