At an invitation-only luncheon October 8 at IMEX America in Las Vegas, the Convention Industry Council honored Amy Spatrisano, CMP, principal at MeetGreen, and four young meeting professionals with the first CIC Pacesetter Awards.

Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, and CEO of the Convention Industry Council, co-hosted the inaugural awards event with Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, president and CEO of the Breining Group, LLC.

The Pacesetter Awards, established to honor achievement in "real time," as opposed to over a lifetime, will now be integrated into the Hall of Leaders celebration. Kotowski announced some changes to CIC's signature Hall of Leaders awards, which celebrate lifetime excellence, achievement, and inspiration in individuals and has become the premier recognition program in the meetings and convention industry. It will become an annual event, instead of being held every other year.

The next HOL gala will be held in fall of 2013 and nominations are now open for both the HOL and the Pacesetter Awards. "The criteria for the HOL remains untouched," said Kotowski, who added that there is a new virtual Hall of Leaders, with online pages of inductees that will include facts, figures, interviews, and more about each honoree.

Spatrisano, a renowned sustainability expert based in Portland, Ore., received the 2012 Environmental Leadership Pacesetter Award. She was a driving force behind the development of the industry’s APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards, released earlier this year. As Chair of the APEX Green Meetings and Events Panel and later as a member of the ASTM E60.02 Committee, she oversaw the development of the standards, a four-year process that included expertise from 300 planners, suppliers, and sustainability experts from within the industry.

Accepting the award, she thanked her husband, mother, and sister, all of whom were in the audience. "To say that I am honored and humbled doesn't say enough about how I have been touched by this award," she said.

The Pacesetter program honors accomplished industry supporters and emerging leaders in the meetings and events community and pays tribute to individuals in the following categories, although not all categories will have honorees every year:

·         Community Service/Humanitarian

·         Innovations & Best Practices

·         Environmental Leadership/Corporate Social Responsibility

·         Public Elected Official

·         Young Professionals

·         Lifetime Achievement

·         Friend of the Industry

From left: Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP, chief executive officer, Convention Industry Council; Pacesetter Award honoree Mary Catherine Tagg, DMCP, national sales manager, Destination King, Memphis; Marty MacKay, president, GEP Destination Management; and Terri Breining, CMP, CMM, The Breining Group

Four Young Professional Pacesetters, nominated by some of CIC’s 32 member organizations, also were honored at the IMEX America lunch:

·         Joe Capitanelli, regional marketing director, Global Spectrum, St. Charles, Mo., nominated by International Association of Venue Managers, for his leadership and influence to foster more involvement from local nonprofits, city government, staff, and volunteers in “Helping Hands for the Holidays.” The event seeks to provide food and services for those in need within St. Charles County.


·         Krzysztof Celuch, manager, Poland Convention Bureau, nominated by International Congress and Convention Association, for his role in the execution of the ICCA Forum for Young Professionals, and for his work in helping to organize the inaugural IMEX Challenge Poland, a biennial humanitarian event designed to promote the power of corporate social responsibility.

·         Mary Catherine Tagg, DMCP, national sales manager, Destination King, Memphis, nominated  by Association of Destination Management Executives International, who has risen to president of the Memphis Attractions Association, earned a Fellow of Leadership Academy Memphis, and serves on numerous ADMEI committees.


·         Sarah Vining, marketing manager, The National Conference Center, Leesburg, Va., nominated by International Association of Conference Centers, serves the IACC Board as a non-voting associate to advise on emerging trends from the Millennial perspective and Chairs its Emerging Trends Committee. Sarah created “Meeting Discoveries,” a series of white papers on compelling industry topics.