On June 13th, MPI British Columbia Chapter hosted its annual June Gala and Awards Ceremony at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel in Vancouver. This year’s gala, playfully titled “MPI-Opoly”, brought together MPI members, local professionals, and guests for an evening of board game themed fun, decadent dinner, and a silent auction stocked with a wide array of getaways, experiences, and goodies ready to bid on. In addition to the networking, celebration, and fun that MPI-Opoly offered, this event also held another important element, the recognition of the hardworking MPI members that committed their time and skills to the Chapter this year.
The award categories ranged from planners, to mentors, and upcoming leaders, and celebrated all nominees for their commitment and excellence in the industry this year.
Planner of the Year
The purpose of the Planner Award is to recognize an individual Planner member of the MPI BC Chapter, who represents leadership and excellence in the meeting planning profession along with a commitment to the local community and an exemplary record of customer service.
Winner - Heather Sharpe, Sherpa Group Events, Inc.
What are people saying about Heather?
“Heather played a large role in the development and planning of the joint MPI / ILEA Holiday party that was so successful that it won the award for Best Event Produced by an Association, Board or Committee at the Canadian Event Industry Awards in March 2017.”
“She continues to look for opportunities to pass on the value of the experience she has gained through mentoring local post-secondary event program students and junior event coordinators. She welcomes the opportunity to speak and present at local, national or international events about her special perspective on event Sponsorship relationships and the Production of Large Festival and Public Events.”
Supplier of the Year
The purpose of the Supplier Award is to recognize an individual Supplier member of the MPI BC Chapter, who represents leadership and excellence in the meeting planning profession along with a commitment to the local community and an exemplary record of customer service.
Winner – Tom Stulberg, Fireworks Marketing Group & Loungeworks
What are people saying about Tom?
“Every interaction with Tom is remarkable. He is the picture of event management professionalism; excellence in customer service (regardless of how big or how small the job); and a supplier who sees the bigger picture when it comes to client relationships.”
Mentor of the Year
The purpose of the Mentor Award is to recognize an MPI BC member who has demonstrated an outstanding ability to inspire, motivate and educate other Chapter members. A member who has demonstrated openness with new colleagues and an eagerness to support their professional development.
Winner – Shannon DeSouza, Conference Software Solutions
What are people saying about Shannon?
“Shannon has been so amazing taking on us students this year to educate us, give us real world experience, and allow us to work and bond as a team! She has taught us so much about communications through her own personal knowledge, as well as allowing us to learn from others.”
“The thing I love most about Shannon is she gives me the freedom to learn and try new things on my own. She is always there when I need her, but I am able to work freely which has been so rewarding for me.”
“She has given us students the confidence we need to enter the industry. I have a completely different perspective from working with Shannon this past year.”
The purpose of the SOAR Scholarship Program is to recognize an individual MPI BC Chapter member who has demonstrated exceptional volunteerism to their MPI chapter and community through leadership, commitment and dedication. Preference will be given to candidates who have truly gone "above and beyond", are passionate about their chapter, and have demonstrated commitment and reliability. Scholarship: Certificate and $500 scholarship towards MPI programs and activities. The SOAR scholarship is sponsored by the MPI Foundation and M&IT magazine.
Winner – Danny Lidder, Semiahmoo Resort, Golf and Spa
What are people saying about Danny?
“Danny is very dedicated to the BC Chapter and his role on the board. He actively promotes MPI by attending every event and also reaching out by phone or email. His easy-going nature, patience and ability to relate is one of a kind. He takes the time to talk about his experience on the board and has offered to share his experience and time with others. He works tirelessly in his role in sponsorship securing prizes for the many events. He is conscientious and has time for everyone. He is a true asset to the organization.”
Future Leaders Scholarship
The purpose of the Future Leader Scholarship is to recognize an up and coming MPI BC member and Future Leader for his/her enthusiastic contribution to the Chapter, demonstrated leadership ability, and active involvement with an industry association. Scholarship: Certificate and a $500 financial contribution towards tuition and education supplies at enrolled University.
Winner – Kelsey Acres, BCIT
What are people saying about Kelsey?
“Kelsey Acres is being recognized for her commitment to MPI volunteering with the BCIT student Chapter both this year and as elected President next year; for her role volunteering on the Communications committee for the MPI BC Chapter, and also for the time she has spent on our AGM speakers panel and generally connecting with industry members and peers. She goes above and beyond by stepping up to attend business retreats and board meetings as needed. She is mature, professional, and goes above and beyond to make our industry better, and help those around her at BCIT and at the Chapter level. In addition to volunteering with MPI, Kelsey also holds down a part-time job and volunteers for a local pet shelter as she is passionate about helping animals.”
World of a Difference Award
Winner - Natalie Wilson, CMP CMM, RBC Global Asset Management Inc.
What are people saying about Natalie?
“Natalie displays a rare resiliency and confidence that has allowed our chapter to make tremendous strides under her leadership. She and the previous board lead the chapter through a shift in strategic outlook which included building a 3-year strategic plan and restructuring the board to better serve the members as well as the volunteers. For this, one of our board members nominated Natalie for the Meetings & Incentive Travel (M&IT) Hall of Fame Awards for her volunteer contribution to our chapter.”
“Natalie was recently appointed to the prestigious MPI Foundation Board. After working with the MPI Foundation in her capacity as President of the MPI BC Chapter, we can only imagine, the Foundation’s Council saw the same drive and determination to build a number of initiatives for the Foundation including a scholarship program across Canada for industry volunteers; a fundraiser to raise money for the Foundation to provide further education and resources to Chapter’s around the Globe; and continuously working to raise awareness and a positive image of the Foundation for Chapter members.”
“It is my pleasure to recognize Natalie’s achievements and I know our industry is better because of her efforts.”
Winner – Heidi Hughes, Anvil Centre
What are people saying about Heidi?
“Heidi stepped into her new role as VP Education with enthusiasm, vision, and determination. Heidi’s goal was to build attendance at this year’s programs by hosting quality education and fun events. Mission accomplished! Heidi’s determination and passion for MPI is inspiring and the strength and accountability she showed the chapter this year on so many levels was incredible. Heidi has been focused, driven, and used her network to rally a strong team around her to execute on some initiatives the chapter has been talking about for years….Heidi moved that dial. Heidi – we can’t thank you enough for bringing back to MPI some of the events and fun we all know and love.”
Awards of Appreciation - Outgoing Board Members
These awards are to recognize outgoing board members who have made great contributions to the Chapter and have shown excellence and commitment throughout their time on the board. Thank you for all your hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm during your time with MPI BC. We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors and look forward to seeing more of your excellent work in the future.
Natalie Wilson, CMP CMM, RBC Global Asset Management Inc.
Danny Lidder, Semiahmoo Resort, Golf and Spa
Through all its combined efforts, this year MPI British Columbia Chapter was able to create so many memorable and educational events, celebrate our victories, and contribute to the growth and development of professionals in the meetings industry. We are so grateful for all the supportive members, partners, and sponsors that we worked with this year! The Chapter looks forward to the events, meetings, and celebrations coming and thank each and every member, partner, and friend we have made in the industry throughout the years.