Yolanda Bullock-Cooper, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau's vice president of short-term, multicultural, and religious sales, recently received the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners' 2009 Pioneer Award. The award is given to individuals who have paved the way for future generations in the meeting planning industry.

"It is beyond humbling to be recognized by an organization that understands and values the growth, development, and purchasing power of African-Americans,” said Bullock-Cooper, who has worked for more than 21 years in the meetings industry. "I take this honor very seriously and look forward to continuing to strive for excellence. I believe it isn't the size of your footprint that matters but rather the depth of your imprint."

Nominees for the Pioneer Award are required to have at least 10 years of experience in meeting planning, show evidence of promotion and advancement of minority participation, and demonstrate the positive impact of networking by mentoring to aspiring young professionals in the meetings industry.

NCBMP, founded in 1983 and based in Silver Spring, Md., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the training needs of African-American meeting planners and association executives.