Canadian Event Pros Recognize the Value of Awards

why awards work

Some people think awards are all about the the applause,the congrats posts, tweets and the emails that come along with a big win. But winning an award or achieving high praise from your industry for your achievements is so much more than the statue and acceptance speech.

Companies today, more than ever, face the challenges of an increasingly competitive economy. From a business perspective, there is tremendous strategic value in awards. For example, when staff are regularly applauded and recognized for their efforts, awards can be a tremendous tool for attracting and retaining talent. Along that same line of thinking, awards are also a great way to gain a sales advantage. Who doesn’t like to be on a winning team? Let’s be honest, even the best planners out there need to bid for their jobs sometimes. It is a lot easier to keep those clients when you have turned their events into award winning events.

The event industry has always been a strong proponent of recognition and believed in the value of awards. Just take a look at the list of award winners below and we think you will agree…awards are truly a valuable business asset.

In February, the Canadian Association of Exposition Management (CAEM) announced its 2016 Hall of Fame inductees. They included: Exposition Category – Isabella Wai, CEM, Ontario Hospital Association; Associate Category – Sheila Wong, CEM, BBW International Inc. and Builder Category – Alain Sutton, The Toronto Congress Centre. Member Of Year went to Exposition Category – Bianca Kennedy, Power Sport Services and Associate Category – Tony Gallagher, CEM, GES – Global Experience Specialists. The Give Back Award went to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Avery Levitt, CEM, SX Marketing took home the 2016 Rising Star.

In March, The Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) presented its Awards of Merit.  Ingrid Norrish of Creative Meeting and Marketing Services was honored with the The Joy Fox Award. The Industry Partner Award was presented to Denise Wiese of Business Events Toronto and Scott Harradine, retired, formerly of the Kempenfelt Conference Centre. Volunteer of the Year went to Nikki Sayers, CMP of Nikki Sayers Events and Moriah Bacus, Client Experience Architect at Business Events Toronto.

Also in March Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Toronto celebrated its members. The President’s Award went to Trevor Lui, Director of Operations & Sustainability, The International Centre, Planner of the Year – Micki Lubek, CMP, Event Planner, Scotiabank, Mentor of the Year – Monika Radicevic, CMP, Sales Manager, InterContinental Toronto Centre, New Member of the Year – Ellen Ettinger, Events Manager, The International Centre, Supplier of the Year – Marcelo DeOliveira, Events Manager, The International Centre, Literary Award – Tim Whalen, CMP, Executive Meeting Manager, Fallsview Casino Resort.  Stephanie Rapko, CMP, Incentive Works’ Event Coordinator, received the Volunteer of the Year Award and  Lia LaPlante, an intern with Incentive Works received the Norm Neill Student Award.

Ending the month of March, Canadian Special Events Magazine hosted the 19th Annual Canadian Event Awards. 37 awards were presented to professionals across Canada. The full recipients can be found by clicking here. Big winners of the night included Wedding Professional of the Year –Paras Mehta, Paras Events Inc.Caterer of the Year –Debra Lykkemark, Culinary Capers Catering and Special EventsEntertainer of the Year – Bob Cates, Comedian, Comedy in Motion, Event Professional of the Year –Shelley Johnson, Nasco Productions, Emerging Leader Award, Sarah Tammemagi, Parleview Events,  and Spirit of the Industry -Tara Sweeney, Calgary Stampede.

International Live Events Association Vancouver held its first Annual Chapter awards in May.  Honours went to: Designer of the Year – Robert Porter, Elizabeth Stanley Event Design,  Supplier of the YearGo2 Productions Inc., Technical Supplier of the Year – Go2 Productions Inc., Caterer of the Year – Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events, Venue of the Year-Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Planner of the Year– Julie Mandarano, The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and  Event Professional of the Year- Anthony Vade, FMAV. The Presidents Award for Outstanding Contribution went to Karen St Aubin, Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch (CBABC). All award recipients were ILEA Chapter members.


The Toronto Chapter of the International Live Events Association just hosted their annual gala to rave reviews. Recipients were: Member of the Year – Jordan Benson, Supplier of the Year – George Matthew Photography, Dedication Award- Mark Fine, AirMagic Special Effects, Leadership Award- Aaron Kaufman, CSEP, Fifth Element Group and the Leslee Bell Lifetime Achievement Award went to Canadian music legend and longtime industry supporter Joni DeAngelis.

On the radar for this summer, are the ILEA International Esprit Awards.  A full list of all the nominees can be found here. The awards will be presented in Austin Texas in August.

Finally, Meetings + Incentive Traveis set to present its annual awards in pleased to announce the finalists in six categories of its 2016 Hall of Fame Awards Program as well as its 2016 Industry Innovator inductee. Visit for a full list of nominees.