Awards presented at 11th IMEX Gala Dinner in Frankfurt


Eight different awards were made to various high-achieving global meetings industry professionals last night at the 11th IMEX Gala Dinner, which was held at the Marriott Hotel Platinum Ballroom in Frankfurt.

Following IMEX Group Managing Director, Paul Flackett’s, traditional roll of honor, Philippe Fournier, President of the Joint Meetings Industry Council (JMIC), stepped up to present the JMIC Unity Award 2013. The award was made to a delighted and loudly-applauded Michael Hirst, OBE, Chairman of the Business Visits & Events Partnership in the UK. Michael is also currently Chairman of The Tourism Alliance and was awarded an OBE in the 2004 New Year Honors for his services to tourism in Britain.

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IMEX Group Chairman, Ray Bloom, then presented the IMEX Academy Awards.

Academy Award – Africa & Middle East
The 2013 IMEX Academy Award for Africa & the Middle East went to David Sand of Uwin Iwin, a company he founded in 1994. David is also Chairman and Co-founder of The Mason Sand Performance Academy, a leadership training and development company. In addition he is Director and shareholder of Ovation South Africa, a leading global Destination Management Company (DMC).

Academy Award – Europe
Christian Mutschlechner, Director of the Vienna Convention Bureau, was the delighted recipient of the IMEX Academy Award for Europe 2013. Christian has been instrumental in driving the strategy to position the Vienna Convention Bureau as one of the leading convention bureaus in the world, and positioning the meetings industry in Vienna as a key pillar for economic development.

Academy Award – Asia Pacific Region
The IMEX Academy Award for the Asia Pacific region was awarded to Jane Vong Holmes of Gaining Edge. Jane joined Gaining Edge in June 2009, and is also Managing Director for the BestCities Gobal Alliance. Jane has also served as Regional Director Asia Pacific for the International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA).

Academy Award – The Americas
The final Academy award, for the Americas region, was presented to Pablo Sismanian of INPROTUR Argentina. Pablo has been Meeting Industry Coordinator at INPROTUR since 2008, and during this time has been involved in the implementation of Argentina’s National Meeting Industry Marketing Plan, which has helped to position Argentina as a top 20 country in the ICCA world rankings (International Congress & Convention Association).

Site Master Motivator Award
Among the other awards made at the Gala Dinner was the 2013 Site Master Motivator Award, which was presented by Allison Summers, Managing Director of Site and the Site International Foundation. The award was made to Fernando Compean, President and CEO of Avanti Meetings and Incentives. Fernando also owns meetings and events media company Mundo Editorial, S.A de .C.V. For a two-year period Fernando was President of the Mexican Tourism Press Association, and is considered one of the most knowledgeable and influential leaders in the meetings and events industry of Mexico, and the most prolific writer on this topic in Latin America.

PCMA Global Meetings Executive of the Year Award
Added to the line-up only last year, is the PCMA Global Meetings Executive of the Year Award, which was presented to David L. Williams by Sherrif Karamat, CAE, Chief Operating Officer of PCMA. The award recognized David’s broad range of experience across the association/conference management industry. Before founding Williams Management Services and subsequently Administrative Management Services (AMS), David worked as Director of Meetings and Events for the National Association for Business Economists.

MPI Foundation Student Scholarship Award
The MPI Foundation Student Scholarship Award went to a delighted student and worthy winner, Huang Jingxian, of Shanghai International Business and Economics University. The award was presented by Paul Van Deventer, CEO of Meeting Professionals International (MPI) – also IMEX America’s strategic partner and premier education provider. The International University Challenge, sponsored by Marriott, takes place at Future Leaders Forums around the world, and allows students to demonstrate their creativity in event planning. The winners of each Challenge are brought together at the Future Leaders Forum in Frankfurt each May to compete against each other, with the overall winner receiving the MPI Foundation Student Scholarship Award.