Events Industry Council Honors Hall of Leaders Inductees

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Events Industry Council Honors Hall of Leaders Inductees

By Rich Luna | Mar 25, 2021

For Jonathan Howe, who served as Meeting Professionals International’s (MPI) legal counsel for 46 years, his induction into the Events Industry Council’s (EIC) Hall of Leaders is not the culmination of his involvement in the meeting and event industry, but rather a continuation of a journey he believes in passionately.

Howe was inducted into the EIC Hall of Leaders Thursday in a virtual ceremony along with Anita Pires, president of Pires Destinations & Events Intelligence, and John Graham IV, CAE, president and CEO of ASAE, who was inducted posthumously. The inductees are recognized global leaders who have shaped the business events industry and delivered extraordinary effort in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility.

Howe, of Howe & Hutton Ltd. in Chicago, represented MPI on all legal matters from 1974 through 2020 while also being a member, now in his 34th year. He was nominated for the honor by MPI.

“I’m more than honored and humbled by the recognition by my peers and especially since I’m a little outside the structure of EIC by being a lawyer,” he said. “I’m appreciative of everyone who supported me in this nomination, particularly MPI. It’s something where you’ve spent a whole lot of your life working in a particular industry to have that recognition. It’s an ongoing honor and something I’ll always remember.”

Howe witnessed the successes and challenges at MPI from his position as the association’s legal counsel. He was given a special recognition at the President’s Dinner at last year’s World Education Congress in Grapevine, Texas.

He vividly remembers receiving the call from a client of his, former MPI president and founding member Raymond J. Hall, asking for advice on a “serious problem with the Internal Revenue Service” that MPI was facing.

From that day through 2020, Howe represented and counseled MPI on all legal matters.

“There were times when MPI was floundering with problems internally and externally, but the association always managed to take steps to move forward,” he said. “MPI provided a home for people in the hospitality industry that was sorely needed.

“I have so many friends in the industry on all sides and it’s all been very personally rewarding. I have lifelong friends. I never advertised. Most of my business has come from word of mouth and that’s from the personal and professional networking as a result of my involvement with MPI. That’s what’s made a difference, no ifs, ands or buts.”

In addition to his work at MPI, Howe is an adjunct professor teaching association management and hospitality industry law. He was featured in the December issue of The Meeting Professional as the member profile, Who We Are.

“That’s part of the fun of it, still maintaining it,” he said. “I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t maintain an active presence in the industry and the association community. It’s been my motivator; it’s been and is my passion. This is not the end, it’s just an ongoing continuation.”

Pires, who has been honored as the recipient of the International JMIC Unity Award, has been instrumental in building relationships through Brazil, South America and other locations. Graham, who died in January 2020, spent more than 16 years as CEO at ASAE. He had received the Key Award, a top honor at ASAE, and a diversity, equity and inclusion fund was established through the ASAE Research Foundation.

Howe, Pires and Graham join 137 previous honorees who have had an integral role in shaping the industry. In addition, the EIC introduced its Social Impact Award recognizing individuals or organizations for extraordinary effort in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility in the global events industry.

“This year, in addition to honoring our Hall of Leaders winners, we have incorporated important recognition for those that have led in a time of great uncertainty and motivated others to do so as well,” said Amy Calvert, EIC CEO. “We are struck by the grace and determination and inspiration these leaders have provide our workforce.

“This year’s Hall of Leaders inductees and global award winners exemplify our shared values, and their contributions will serve as a beacon and a guide for our path forward as united and inspired story tellers about the impact we will have as an essential driver of the global economic recovery and of a collective consciousness fostering human connections and meaningful social progress.”

The EIC’s more than 30 member organizations represent more than 103,500 individuals and 19,500 firms and properties involved in the events industry, and its vision is to be the global champion for event professionals and events industry excellence. It promotes high standards and professionalism through the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program, recognized globally throughout the events industry.



Rich Luna

Rich Luna is Director of Publishing for MPI and Editor-in-chief of The Meeting Professional.