This week, Meeting Professionals International (MPI) announced the recipients of this year’s RISE (Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence) Awards during the association’s 2018 World Education Congress (WEC18) in Indianapolis. The recipients were selected for exceptional achievements in the meeting and event industry and recognized at various pep rallies.
The RISE Award for Young Professional was presented to Alex Plaxen of the MPI Potomac Chapter. Plaxen is the president and founder of Little Bird Told Media in Washington, D.C., where he coordinates executive-level meetings and events and organizes data driven event marketing campaigns. He has also been invited to speak at various industry events including BizBash LIVE, IMEX America, Connect Marketplace, MPI’s WEC, and the ASAE Annual Meeting, and has been recognized by Connect Association’s 2017 “40 Under 40” class.
The RISE Award for Member of the Year was presented to Wojciech Liszka of the MPI Poland Chapter. Liszka is a founding member of the MPI Poland Chapter and has served as the chapter’s president and vice president of education. He is the founder of Z-Factor, a hospitality business consultancy in Poland. Liszka is co-creator of the charity, Poland Business Run, and led the development of Meetings Week Poland. Liszka was recognized as MICE Poland’s “Personality of the Year” in 2010.
The RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership was presented to Michael Owen of the MPI Tennessee Chapter. Owen is managing partner of EventGenuity, LLC, which produces business events for corporate and association clients throughout North America. He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry and his impact can be felt globally. Owen was instrumental in creating the MPI Chapter Advisory Council, which was later renamed the MPI Chapter and Membership Advisory Council. He also previously served as vice chair of the Events Industry Council APEX Standards Review Committee.
The RISE Award for Innovative Educational Programming was presented to the MPI Southern California Chapter for creating (WE)CON, an innovative education and professional development conference. The chapter formed strategic partnerships with the MPI Northern California, MPI Washington State and MPI Oregon chapters over the past year as part of an initiative to step up communication and promotional efforts as well as grow sponsorships. With its unique location at the Island Hotel, Newport Beach, various learning formats and a redesigned hosted buyer experience, (WE)Con has transformed to become the premier regional educational event for the west coast, boasting remarkable attendance growth — with a 20 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 and a 15 percent increase from 2017 to 2018.
The RISE Award for Marketplace Excellence was presented to the MPI Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter for its annual Sales Blitz Program, which was established in 2012 and is focused on face-to-face, planner to supplier relationships. It connects supplier members with planners leading to professional partnerships and recruits new corporate meeting planner members. Specifically, the chapter’s Sales Blitz Program team reaches out to planner partners to secure appointments for supplier team members who offer varying services. Following their appointment, planners are provided with a certificate granting them complimentary registration to an MPI Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter educational meeting so that they can personally experience the benefits of MPI membership and motivate them to become a new member. During the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the chapter added a second program in the spring, which had a total of 60 supplier participants resulting in more than $12,000 in income.
The RISE Award for Industry Advocate was presented to the MPI Chicago-Area Chapter for its Industry Xchange 2017, which was delivered in partnership with Choose Chicago and brought together eight industry partners to execute a Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) education and networking event. More than 1,000 attendees participated in the event, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel made a special appearance to read a proclamation naming April 6, 2017, as Global Meetings Industry Day in Chicago. Since its inception in 2013, the MPI Chicago-Area Chapter’s Industry Xchange has grown from 200 to 500 registered member participants within the last five years.
The RISE Award for Membership Achievement was presented to the MPI Tennessee Chapter for outstanding membership growth, engagement and retention. The chapter’s “Get to Know You” campaign was conducted at select meetings throughout the year, where members were invited to drop their business cards into a hat and then committee members would follow up and invite them to connect one-on-one. Overall, the chapter achieved an 18 percent growth in membership (60 new members) and a two percent increase in retention. In addition, as of May 2018, 130 of the chapter’s 380 members (29 percent) serve in volunteer roles.
For more details on the MPI RISE Awards and this year’s recipients visit RISE.