MPI Celebrates 2023 RISE Awards Recipients

MPI rise award

DALLAS, June 12, 2023 — Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
announced the recipients of this year’s RISE (Recognizing Industry
Success and Excellence) Awards during the association’s 2023 World
Education Congress (WEC23) in Mexico in the Riviera Maya. The recipients
were selected for exceptional achievements in the meeting and event

The RISE Awards feature seven awards in two categories: individual
achievement and community achievement. Recipients are recognized for
innovation, global transferability, impact, and influence within the
industry, and will join the MPI Community of Honorees, a group composed
of past MPI award winners and distinguished leaders.  

“We are so proud to recognize this year’s 2023 RISE Awards
recipients,” said Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO of MPI.
“Their achievements serve as an example of what can be accomplished
with dedication and a love for the industry. Let us celebrate their
accomplishments and be inspired to pursue our own passions with the same
level of enthusiasm and commitment.”

The RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement was presented to
Caroline Cole of the MPI Tennessee Chapter. Caroline is the Accounts
Coordinator at MAS, a creatively led experiential marketing agency. In
her two-year tenure with MPI (starting as a student member), she has
accomplished a great deal and has a lot more to give. Caroline is an
event professional who is unafraid to push boundaries and think outside
the box. Having found her passion for the industry early on in her life,
she is eager to find ways to draw in students’ interest in the endless
opportunities a career in events can offer. She persistently works with
her own MPI chapter, and this year joined the MPI international
committee, Emerging Professionals Advisory Council to develop marketing
and ideation towards getting young professionals and student members
more involved in MPI and aware of the opportunities it provides. It was
Caroline’s MPI involvement that allowed her to take off in her own
career and she wants to assist in developing and advocating for the
already existing young professional opportunities within the industry
and specifically MPI. She has started these efforts by getting involved
with local universities and their programming. Additionally, she has
spent time rethinking social and marketing strategies within her local
MPI chapter to appeal to a variety of audiences. She is grateful to her
many mentors who have helped her along the way and is eager to give back
to the industry that has given so much to her.

The RISE Award for Member of the Year was presented to John Kirby of the
MPI Kansas City Chapter. Kirby is a 15-year member of MPI and his
volunteer service began with the Hotel and Lodging Association of
Greater Kansas City, where he served on the Board of Directors from
2004-2017. He was also a nominee and graduate of the Citizens Academy
for the Federal Bureau of Investigations in 2012 and remains active in
their Alumni Association. John currently works in Encore’s Global
Sales Organization, where he spends his time supporting account-based
needs and relationships with Encore’s direct strategic customers. He
is the current Immediate Past President of MPI’s Kansas City Chapter
and is also serving on the Chapter Member and Advisory Council. In
addition to his efforts within MPI, John is also a member of the PCMA
Heartland Chapter, Event Minds Matter, and an Ally member of Encore’s
PRIDE Business Resource Group.

The RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership was presented to Paola
Bowman, CMP, CMM of the MPI Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter. Paola Bowman is
the Director of Client Services and Events at the Arlington Convention &
Visitors Bureau. As an experienced hospitality and events professional,
Bowman has worked in numerous positions, from front of the house to
sales and services.

She holds her CMP and CMM and was named one of Smart Meetings Magazine
“100 Women Who Inspire Us” in 2018 and was recognized in the Connect
Association 40 under 40 group of 2019.  Most recently, she has been
selected by ConventionSouth Magazine as a Meeting Professional to Watch
in 2023. Her involvement with MPI began with the DFW chapter, where she
volunteered on the marketing committee. She now volunteers on the MPI
DFW Board. She is also highly involved in the Event Service
Professionals Association (ESPA), where she volunteers on the DEI task
force. She has been a speaker at event conferences and has contributed
to industry publications with articles. She has been instrumental in
developing best practices, industry toolkits specific to event service
professionals, and training for Event Service Professionals, including
certification for this important role in the industry.

The RISE Award for Innovative Educational Programming was presented to
the MPI New Jersey Chapter. MPI New Jersey has committed the past 5
years to rebuild and reestablish themselves as the premier place for
industry professionals to receive top-notch education in the region.
Their education committee‘s efforts toward this goal culminated in the
launch of the MPI New Jersey MEETS Conference, which stands for
Meetings, Events, Education, Travel, and Sales. In planning the MPI New
Jersey MEETS Conference, the chapter encountered many of the same issues
facing the entire meetings and events industry. To overcome these
challenges, the committee employed innovative tactics, starting with a
robust marketing effort and a brand new ‘Co-Op partnership’. This
partnership attracted attendance and support from other member
organizations including MPI New Jersey’s local sister MPI Chapters,
PCMA, and ILEA, to name a few. MPI New Jersey also created an innovative
sponsorship program, marketing guide, and public relations plan to
attract attention and raise awareness. The 2022 MEETS Conference
ultimately exceeded its goals and will likely become a signature event
for the chapter.

The RISE Award for Marketplace Excellence was presented to the MPI
Greater New York Chapter. The annual MPI Greater New York Chapter Golf
Outing has been the chapter’s best-attended and highest
revenue-generating event of the year. The objectives of the event are to
create great networking opportunities for the attendees, including
experiences beyond golf so that more attendees can attend and so that
this event has a great impact that provides sponsors with the
justification to return each year. This year these objectives were all
met and exceeded throughout the day. Thanks to an innovative reception
in NYC the night prior to the event as well as a full day of non-golfing
activities with programming focused on wellness and CSR.

The RISE Award for Industry Advocate was presented to MPI Caribe
Mexicano Chapter. MPI Caribe Mexicano’s collaboration with its local,
international, and governmental communities generated business exchange
opportunities and networking, as well as a greater awareness of the
entire Yucatan peninsula to the MICE industry. Among its array of
accomplishments, MPI Caribe Mexicano boasts a 3-year running GMID
celebration. Most recently, their GMID event featured a drone show and
ensured the event’s entire estimated cost of 35k was sponsored.
Further, at the chapter board’s swearing-in ceremonies, the chapter
hosted government officials to preside over the event, including the
Ministry of Tourism, the Mayor of Cancun, and the Governor of Quintana
Roo state. These events create synergy, establish credibility, and
enhance understanding of what the MICE Industry represents. As a result
of these three past years of relationships established with the
government authorities, the chapter has achieved credibility and, as a
result received financial support to create an annual flagship event:
Vive MICE. On a global scale, the chapter has built industry connections
and solidified relationships with five US-based MPI chapters through
hosting board retreats, thereby creating networking events with the
objective to develop and enhance business relations on an international

The RISE Award for Membership Achievement was presented to the MPI
Kansas City Chapter. MPI Kansas City’s achievements as a chapter have
been tremendous in the last 18 months as the industry continues to
emerge from the pandemic. During 2021-22, MPI Kansas City grew overall
membership by 14% and was awarded the Chapter of Excellence, exceeding
standards in every single category of evaluation. At the time of
submission, the chapter was pacing at 23% growth. The chapter credits
its success to its efforts to develop community. Chapter leaders have
worked hard to develop new audiences by welcoming several small
businesses, specialty venues, DJs, caterers, and other verticals not
historically a part of the chapter. MPI Kansas City celebrates the
diversity of its membership and envisions a bright future as a chapter
where all who want to join are enthusiastically welcomed.

“Please join me in congratulating the 2023 RISE Award recipients for
their outstanding achievements. They have demonstrated exceptional
talent and hard work in the meeting and events industry and most
importantly at MPI,” said International Board of Directors chair, Cleo

For more details on the MPI RISE Awards and this year’s recipients,
visit [1]

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 more than 17,000 engaged members and its Plan
Your Meetings audience. It has more than 90 chapters and clubs in 19
countries. “When we meet, we change the world.” [2]  

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