NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — The PCMA Foundation recognized 25 business events industry leaders, trade show executives included, at a reception held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., in conjunction with the inaugural Business Events Industry Week.
The 2022 Lifetime Achievement Honorees included Mary Pat Heftman, Vice Chair, Exhibitions, Winsight Media for Business Events Strategist.
Heftman attributed this award to the power of teamwork and collaboration. “I have had the good fortune to have worked and partnered with hundreds of industry professionals from every sector of the business at every level who contributed to my career. It is overwhelmingly humbling, and I am beyond grateful for all my business events colleagues throughout the industry,” Heftman said.
Other 2022 Lifetime Achievement Honorees included Dr. Eric D. Olson, Chair, Rita & Navin Dimond Department, School of Hospitality, Metropolitan State University of Denver; and Kitty Ratcliffe, President, Explore St. Louis. Ben Goedegebuure, Enterprise Vice President, Global & Industry Presence, Maritz Global Events, was honored as Business Events Strategist for 2021 at the ceremony.
The annual celebration also recognized 20 Professional Excellence Finalists across six categories for extraordinary contributions to their organizations and their impact on the professional development of others.
• Kai Hattendorf, CEO, UFI — The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry was named Business Event Strategist of the Year.
“I am beyond honored — especially as this recognition comes from our peers from across the events industry. It is just as well a recognition of the amazing work of our whole team at UFI,” Hattendorf said.
• Melissa Cherry, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Senior Vice President, Miles Partnership, received the PCMA Groundbreakers Award, which honors 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.
“This event raises critical funding for the Foundation to provide educational scholarships and implement impactful research and business event industry projects,” Meredith Rollins, PCMA Chief Community Officer and Executive Director, PCMA Foundation, said.
The Foundation funds more than 500 scholarships annually, benefiting emerging leaders, students, faculty and other professionals.
The 2022 Visionary Awards celebration was presented by Visit Austin and the Austin Convention Center. 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. All honorees and finalists can be viewed here.