MPI Announces the 2024 RISE Award Recipients

MPI Rise Awards

This year’s recipients feature outstanding contributions in community
and member achievement, from honoring indigenous protocols in event
design to excellence in volunteer management and chapter operations._  

May 22, 2024 — Meeting Professionals International (MPI) announced the
recipients of the 2024 RISE (Recognizing Industry Success and
Excellence) Awards during the association’s World Education Congress
(WEC 24 Louisville) in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipients were
selected for exceptional achievements in the meeting and event industry.

The RISE Awards honor MPI members, chapters, and clubs across 7 award
categories, with an overall focus on the criteria of innovation, global
transferability, and influence within the meeting and event industry, as
well as MPI. Members who receive a RISE Award join MPI’s Community of
Honorees, a group composed of past MPI award winners and distinguished
leaders.

“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we recognize the
extraordinary efforts of the outstanding MPI members and chapters who
received the 2024 RISE Awards,” said Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO
of MPI. “Each award recipient inspires us to pursue excellence within
the community and reimagine how we can serve the greater good in our
chapter, region, and global community. Congratulations to each one of
our honorees.”

The RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement was presented to Evan
Nielson, CMP of the MPI Potomac Chapter. Evan’s membership tenure has
featured a steady advancement from volunteering to volunteer leadership,
and most recently, he was selected to serve as his chapter’s first
Regional Council Representative. His volunteer commitment on behalf of
the meeting and event industry has produced useful tools and resources
at the chapter and
regional level, as well as an event benefiting the MPI Foundation.

The RISE Award for Member of the Year was presented to Jenny Dao of the
MPI Ottawa Chapter. Jenny volunteers locally at MPI Ottawa Chapter, as
well as regionally at the Canadian conference The EVENT and the MPI
Foundation Canada Council. Through her work at Discover Saskatoon, she
has enabled her chapter and region to advance truth and reconciliation
processes through embedding indigenous protocols into event design.
These efforts have resulted in substantial benefits for her chapter and
helped to create an environment where all feel valued and respected.

The RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership was presented to Steven
Foster, CMP of the MPI Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter. Steven’s 33-year
tenure with MPI showcases the power of consistent volunteer leadership.
Highlights from his early years with MPI include serving as president of
the MPI Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter and supporting the creation of a
$7,000 endowment to inaugurate the Travel, Exhibition, and Meeting
Management Program at a local community college. He also helped launch
an advocacy day that served as a predecessor to GMID. As the
longest-serving MPI Chapter Facilitator, Steven continues to empower and
support volunteer leaders across U.S., Canadian, and Latin America
chapters by providing transferrable processes that foster success.

The RISE Award for Innovative Educational Programming was presented to
the MPI Tennessee Chapter. MPI Tennessee employed a strategy to “educate
through entertainment” at its annual Connect Educational Conference and
Tradeshow in February of 2023 by developing a lineup of shows modeled
after popular TV programs and reality series in place of education
sessions, tradeshows, or luncheons. By choosing to stage its “shows” in
a LEED-certified venue and by including a wide variety of stakeholders
in event design decisions, MPI Tennessee maintained a commitment to
diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. These efforts resulted in the
highest attendance numbers ever recorded by the chapter.

The RISE Award for Marketplace Excellence was presented to the MPI
Wisconsin Chapter. Now in its 11th year, MPI Wisconsin’s Strategic
Partner Program has evolved over the years to offer enhanced benefits to
its chapter leaders who run the program as well as the clients whom the
program serves. Over time, its steady financial success has resulted in
the chapter making sizable donations to support other chapters in need,
as well as free registration for planner members to its annual education
conference.

The RISE Award for Industry Advocate was presented to MPI Indiana
Chapter for its innovative approach to planning and promoting its Global
Meetings Industry Day (GMID) Event. In a collaborative effort, the
chapter worked with other Indianapolis meeting and event associations to
plan and execute the event. For event promotions, the chapter introduced
a unique initiative called “March Meeting Mania,” which incentivized
GMID engagement and effectively raised awareness about the meeting and
event industry on social media.

The RISE Award for Membership Achievement was presented to the MPI
Pittsburgh Chapter. The MPI Pittsburgh Chapter implemented a series of
targeted initiatives and personalized outreach strategies aimed at
fostering growth and retention within its membership base. The chapter
made a special effort to engage student members, including dedicating a
position on its Board of Directors to focus on student engagement. These
efforts yielded impressive results, including a 29% year-over-year
increase in membership.

“Volunteers are the core of MPI, and these individuals and chapters
represent excellence in volunteer leadership. I applaud each and every
one of them for their accomplishments, and look forward to seeing the MPI
community continues to pursue innovation and influence both locally and
globally,” said International Board of Directors chair Michelle
Allgauer, CAE, CMM, CMP Fellow.

MPI leadership also shared that when applications open for the 2025 RISE
Awards this September, the Industry Advocate Award will be replaced by
the Social Impact Award, which honors chapter or club achievement in the
promotion of diversity, inclusivity, and social impact within their
membership and the wider community.

To learn more about the MPI RISE Awards and the 2024 RISE Awards
recipients, visit www.mpi.org/RISE.

About MPI
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest meeting and
event industry association worldwide. The organization provides
innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities, and business
exchanges and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of
the industry. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event
professionals, including nearly 13,000 engaged members. It has nearly 70
chapters, clubs, and members in more than 75 countries worldwide. “When
we meet, we change the world.” www.mpi.org

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