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2020 Prix Prestige Awards: An elegant virtual success

Prix Prestige Article

By: Bruce Landry | Dec 7, 2020


My MPI Ottawa Prix Prestige preparedness was a bit different this year. I ironed my shirt and cut my hair, but where last year I turned to put on my dress pants and polished my shoes, instead I went for my sweatpants and checked my Wi-Fi. Getting to the gala was much easier too. Ottawa traffic? No, thanks! My only detour was a drooling dog reminding me that the ironing and hair cutting had made dinner late.

Finally, I found myself in front of my screen, wine at my side, ready to #CelebrateExcellence, and what a celebration it was! The 2020 Prix Prestige Awards Gala Planning Committee went beyond the wonderful recognitions to present an experience, starting with a live performance from The Silver Lining Sessions dedicated to the evening’s nominees.

Our 2020 Prix Prestige Award recipients are:

Student of the Year, sponsored by Ottawa Tourism: Shivani Pandya, Algonquin College, Event Management student.

Shivani Pandya award

Rising Star, sponsored by Tourism Saskatoon: Jeanna Andre-Murdie, Public Health Agency of Canada.

“We are adaptable and forward-thinking people in our industry.”

Jeanna Andre-Murdie award

Volunteer of the Year, sponsored by Explore Edmonton: Katherine Craig, CMP, CHEO Foundation.

“I do enjoy being able to give back to the community and to meet so many of you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

Katherine Craig Award

Planner of the Year, sponsored by Tourism Vancouver: Carolyn Leslie, CMP, Community Foundations of Canada.

“I’m truly honored to be a part of such an incredible group of nominees. Event planning and designing has been a calling for me.”

Carolyn Leslie Award

Supplier of the Year, sponsored by Fairmont Western Mountain Region: Stephanie Lynch, Explore Edmonton.

“I’m very humbled and look forward to continuing to support the chapter.”

Stephanie Lynch Award

Mentor of the Year, sponsored by Richmond Hotel Destination Association: Louise Gervais, CMP, CMM, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“I’d like to acknowledge MPI for the opportunity to be part of an amazing community over the years. Although considered a mentor to many, I’ve also had great mentors in my career.”

Louise Gervais Award

Immediate past chapter president, Allison Collins, Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre, also bestowed an Honorary Membership upon Chuck Schouwerwou, CMP, CMM, who recently retired. “I’ve had this incredible career that has spanned over 30 years where I’ve been able to be part of a growing industry, a phenomenal industry, an industry that became my closest allies and friends.”

Chuck award

Allison also bestowed this year’s President’s Award upon Greg Plazek, Marriott International. “You hope that you’ve done something to make a bit of an impact somewhere, and this means the world.”

Greg award

Congratulations again to all the recipients!

A major shout-out to iSi LIVE who put together a show where we could feel the sincerity in member testimonials, share in the recipients’ moments of gratitude, and often get moved to wide smiles and some tears.

Headline photo

A recurring message from the gala was how tough this year’s been, how much we all miss one another, and how exciting it’ll be to bring back in-person events. But also, that planners are resilient rock stars who turn a pandemic into an opportunity to get fancy and connect from coast, to coast, to coast! As Chuck Schouwerwou stated, “We will also be the ones to rebuild. We have always been the center of education, opportunity, of facilitating creativity, and growth. I believe that we will be the ones that will lead the edge for the come back.”

I was also introduced to my first virtual photobooth experience, courtesy of MDRN. Such a dynamic way to bring fun to the virtual platform, plus they gave us a photo mosaic!

Following was some screen-to-screen networking where I was brought to a breakout room with this year’s student of the year, Shivani:

“Virtual events, I feel, can be tricky. I didn't know what I was really going to see when I registered for the Prix Prestige Gala. And I'm happy to say that it was beyond my expectations. The Gala felt very personable and intimate. I can say that if it was in-person, I might not have had a chance to connect with as many members as I did. The planning committee did a phenomenal job engaging attendees and all members even before the event so really it was more than a one-day thing. I'm positive that it just gets better from here and hope to see everyone in person soon! I can't wait to spend some money on a real gown next time haha!” – Shivani Pandya, Algonquin College.

Before chatting over drinks, we were left with a reminder that MPI Foundation has expanded the opportunity to share your sparkle with 10 new colours! “This holiday season, when you purchase a pair of Hillberg & Berk Sparkle Ball™ earrings through the MPI Foundation, 40% of the purchase price will go directly toward helping members in need.”

Congratulations again to this year’s nominees, recipients, the committee, and all the sponsors that made this experience so enjoyable. Until next year, let’s continue innovating and #CelebratingExcellence!

bruce landry Article written by Bruce Landry, Colleges and Institutes Canada



bruce landry
Bruce Landry


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