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Industry News


September 27, 2019

Want to submit an article for Meeting Magazine or the MPI Toronto Blog? Please use our Article Submission Template and send your submission to the MPI Toronto Chapter office. Please note all articles are subject to editorial approval and submission of an article does not guarantee publication. Non-members are welcome to submit articles.

MPI Toronto Article Submission Ad


August 19, 2019
Canadian Meetings & Events Expo (CMEE) Honours 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees

Eight deserving event professionals were inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Canadian Meetings and Events Expo. 

Congratulations to the following inductees:

Zaman Ishaad, 2019 Rising Star. This category honours a planner or supplier with 2-5 years’ experience in the industry, who has demonstrated leadership and the desire to be an ambassador for the industry.

Shannon Valeriote, CMP, CMM, 2019 Industry Mentor. This category celebrates a planner or supplier who through his or her expertise, professional influence, or academic position has provided others with opportunity, inspiration, or ability to pursue excellence.

Tuesday Johnson-Macdonald, CMP, CMM, 2019 Industry Planner. This category is reserved for an individual who represents everything an event professional should be.

Francois Brunet, 2019 Industry Volunteer. This category recognizes an individual planner or supplier who gives freely his or her time or expertise in the promotion of industry associations, groups, professional industry chapters or charity work.

Alissa Hurley, CMM, CED, 2019 Industry Innovator. This category recognizes a planner or supplier who has developed and implemented a service, product, or concept that modernizes today’s industry and moves it forward.

Candace Schierling, Reggie Lang, and Bettyanne Sherrer, CMP, CMM, 2019 The Big Idea. The Big Idea celebrates planners and suppliers who have dreamed up and implemented an idea that has improved the productivity, profitability, culture and/or operational systems of a specific company or business.

Nominations to be inducted into the Hall o Fame in 2020 will open in the new year.


November 5, 2018
AV-CANADA Announces Expansion into U.S. Market with the launch of AV-AMERICA

AV-CANADA is proud to be celebrating 25 years of business! “With drive, perseverance, and ongoing success come exciting growth opportunities. We are pleased to announce our new endeavor AV-AMERICA, headquartered in Orlando, Florida.”, said Danny Dobriansky, Co-President.

eading the operation as Chief Operating Officer for AV-AMERICA, Kip Cade brings 25 years of experience in the United States AV business, guaranteeing the same quality and service standards that you have come to expect. “With this new venture, we have the opportunity to further expand the capabilities of AV-CANADA into new markets and leverage the established presence of our U.S. team. Together, we have the ability within our industry to deliver top-notch service to all of our clients throughout North America.”, said Kip Cade.

Also joining the AV-AMERICA team, we are pleased to introduce Rita Plaskett CMM, CMP who will head up our Business Development team. Rita will serve as Vice President of Business Development. She brings over 30 years of meetings experience including past Chair, MPI Global Foundation and member of the MPI International Board of Directors. Rita, currently sits on an MPI International Committee. We welcome her vast network of Global Industry peers.

In addition, we welcome Yolanda Clark as Managing Director of Marketing and Community Engagement. Yolanda, is widely recognized for her many years of public relations experience, community engagement within the Greater Orlando area and a strong network of industry peers across the state and country.

For more information:

November 1, 2018
Tim Whalen Featured in The Meeting Professional

Tim Whalen, President-Elect, MPI Toronto Chapter, and Executive Meeting Manager, Fallsview Casino Resort, is featured in the November Meeting Professional. It's a great read and shows the benefits Tim has gained through his involvement in MPI.

October 31, 2018
MPI Toronto Chapter Member Recognized by PCMA

This October, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) revealed its “20 in their Twenties” class of 2019, honouring the business event community’s top young professionals.

Emily Dietrich, Manager of Business Events with the Niagara Parks Commission, was one of the industry trailblazers named among this year’s honourees.  Congratulations Emily.

Read more:

October 26, 2018
Breakfast with Santa Foundation

The Breakfast with Santa Foundation hosted a Pirate themed Halloween fundraiser on Friday, November 26th. MPI Toronto Chapter was recognized for our 17 years of support! Tammy Bradley, Leslie Wright and Susan Prophet were happy to accept a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Chapter.  A great night was had by all!  If you would like to learn more about MPI Toronto's official charity of choice, please visit

Breakfast with Santa Event - Maria Esteves, Tammy Bradley, Leslie Wright, Susan Prophet

October 26, 2018

PSAV, a global leader in event experiences, is pleased to announce the acquisition of FMAV, a leading audiovisual and live event production company in Canada. The transaction allows PSAV to continue building upon its purpose of Connecting and Inspiring People by expanding the breath of its capabilities, particularly in the live event production business in Canada. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

FMAV was founded more than 40 years ago and has won numerous industry awards, including multiple Canadian Special Events and ILEA awards. The FMAV team provides extensive creative production services for galas and special events, conferences and conventions, corporate meetings, outdoor events, and hotel venues. FMAV has a celebrated customer base throughout Canada’s major metropolitan areas who rely on the company’s services to engage their audiences.

The company, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of PSAV, will continue to operate under the well-known and highly respected FMAV brand name. FMAV CEO Bill Brown and his senior team will remain in place and continue to execute on their growth plans, now in partnership with PSAV.


For more information contact:
Bob Niersbach
Director, Communications
(847) 385-3619

September 20, 2018

MPI Toronto started the year-long celebration for their 40th Anniversary at the Annual General Meeting and Volunteer Recogntion event at the WE Global Learning Centre today with photos from the past and videos from some of the Past Presidents highlighting achievements from their year.

As part of the Volunteer Recognition the 5-Star Recipients were recognized for their commitment, dedication, and passion. These eight recipients demonstrated that they were team players and made sure they were accountable for the work taken on within the committee. Congratulations to the following 5-Star Recipients:

Caitlin Burgess, CMP, Communications Committee
Brenda Carter, CMP, Leadershp Development Committee
Sanjeev Jadhav, Professional Development Committee
Kalinda Jessett, Holiday Gala Committee
Jen Moir, CMP, CMP Study Group Committee
Justine Moller, Awards Committee
Vincent Murphy, Membership Committee
Antonietta Tantalo, Global Meetings Industry Day Committee.

Also recognized was the 5-Star Education Award Recipient. This award is to recognize an individual member who demonstrated exceptional volunteerism to their MPI Toronto Community.

Congratulations to Sanjeev Jadhav, Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel & Conference Centre.

MPI Toronto also recognizes those who have been members of the chapter for 5, 10, 15, 25, 30 and 40 years. The following members were in attendance at the Volunteer Recognition and received their pins:

5 Year
Caitlin Burgess, CMP, Canada Health Infoway
Patrick Kilvert, The Westin Hotel Ottawa
Mary Sistilli, JW Marriott The Rousseau Resort & Spa

10 Year
Cameal Soverall, CMP, CMM, Eventum

15 Year
Geoff Mak, CEM, CMP, Beanfield Centre

25 Year
Janet Victor, CMP, Eventives Conference & Event Management

30 Year
Lynne Gale, CMM, Tourism London
Leslie Wright, Fletcher Wright Associates Inc

40 Year
Duff Shaw, CMP, CITE

Happy 40th Anniverary Toronto Chapter!

August 14, 2018
Canadian Meetings and Events Expo unveiled IncentiveWorks rebrands with promise to be bigger, broader, more inclusive

Newcom Media unveiled plans for the Canadian Meetings and Events Expo today, building on years of success with the IncentiveWorks show.

“Now known as the Canadian Meetings and Events Expo, this event is re-establishing itself as the pre-eminent show of its kind – one attended by planners from across the country and around the world,” said Newcom Media president Joe Glionna. “Every August the Metro Toronto Convention Centre will be a destination not just for Canadian planners to meet and learn, but for planners from other countries to come and research what Canada has to offer the global meetings industry.”

“We have heard the voices of exhibitors, sponsors, and our customers, who say they are no longer interested in reaching planners through traditional media,” Glionna said. “They want excitement, they want sizzle, they want experience. We will deliver that.”

Newcom Media also announced plans to expand the annual Hall of Fame program.
“We believe the Hall of Fame program deserves a stage of its own, and that’s what we are going to create – a red carpet affair not to be missed,” Arnott said.

Next year’s event will take place August 13-14 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

For more information, contact:
Joe Glionna, President, Newcom Media 416-614-2200,
Melissa Arnott, Director of Events, 416-510-5141,
March 8, 2018
MPI Toronto Chapter Celebrates 2017 Awards Nominees and Recipients

On March 8, 2018, members and guests gathered at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre to celebrate our nominess and award recipients.

Nominees in all categories were:

Literary Award
Natalie Ciarallo, CMP - Free for All Marketing
Mariella Irivarren, CMP - BMO Financial Group
Diane Julien - The Really Fabulous Event Company
Arianna McLaughlin - Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Mentor of the Year
Carly Silberstein, DES, CED - Redstone Agency Inc
Cameal Soverall, CMP, CMM - Eventum
Shannon Valeriote ,CMP,CMM - Niagara Falls Business Events

New Member of the Year
Kalinda Jessett - Invesco
Delia Lapensee - Shaw Centre
Ryan Peddigrew - Quest Audio Visual
Antonietta Tantalo - TD Bank Group

Norm Neill Student of the Year
Amanda Banh - Humber College
Lindsey Slade - Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Ioanna Antonopoulos - Groupe Antonopoulos
Sim Frayne - Newcom Media
Zaman Ishaad - Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts
Lynn Miedzik - Canada Health Infoway

Planner of the Year
Margaret Binns - Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association
Arianna McLaughlin - Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Christina Northcott, CMP - Canada Health Infoway

Supplier of the Year
Kris Knox - Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale
Erin Reid - White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa
Dan Wilson - FMAV

Being a nominee is a huge accomplishment and these members have made outstanding contributions to the event industry.

Awards were presented to the following:

Literary Award
Arianna McLaughlin - Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Mentor of the Year
Shannon Valeriote ,CMP,CMM - Niagara Falls Business Events and the Scotiabank Convention Centre

New Member of the Year
Ryan Peddigrew - Quest Audio Visual

Norm Neill Student of the Year
Amanda Banh - Humber College

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Zaman Ishaad - Four Seasons Hotel and Resorts

Supplier of the Year
Kris Knox - Hilton Mississauga Meadowvale

Planner of the Year
Margaret Binns - Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association

President's Award
Danny Dobriansky - AV CANADA

November 29, 2017
Meetings Mean Business Canada Board Elects 2018 Executive Team

Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC) is pleased to announce the election of its 2018 Executive Team: Heidi Welker, Senior VP, Business Development & Industry Partnerships at Freeman Audio Visual Canada has been elected as the 2018 Chair, Clark Grue, President & CEO of the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre, will serve as Vice Chair, Reggie Lang, Manager, Business Development Groups, Conventions & Incentive Travel at WestJet will serve as Secretary/Treasurer and Grant Snider, CEO of Meeting Escrow Inc. will serve as Past Chair.
Under the leadership of the current Chair, Grant Snider, the Canadian Coalition has grown rapidly cross-country with over 100 senior executives from the leading Business Events industry organizations of Canada signing on to show their support, over $100,000 CAD raised in initial funding, and the official secretariat moved to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) headquarters in Ottawa.
Snider believes the Executive Team elected for 2018 is perfectly positioned to lead the board of directors and grow MMBC to its full potential.  “Heidi, Clark and Reggie are all nationally recognized industry leaders who have the knowledge, passion and drive to shape the coalition into a truly effective advocacy voice for the Business Events industry in Canada.”
Speaking about her recent appointment, Heidi Welker said “It has been a pleasure being part of the board this past year. I am honoured to have been elected as the 2018 Chair and look forward to continuing the excellent work of the 2017 Executive Team. We need to keep the momentum going and gain support cross-Canada for our unified voice to be heard”.
To learn more about Meetings Mean Business Canada, view the current supporter list, and add your organization to this growing coalition, please visit our website here
About Meetings Mean Business Canada
Meetings Mean Business Canada advocates on behalf of the Canadian Business Events Industry which contributes over $27 billion CAD in GDP annually and sustains over 341,000 full-time jobs. The MMB Canada board is actively reaching out to key industry stakeholders across all sectors of the Canadian Business Events Industry to transform the coalition into a proactive, well-funded advocacy movement with strong connections to federal, provincial and municipal governments.
For more information:

August 27, 2017
The International Centre Announces new partnership with the MPI Foundation for scholarships

The International Centre has announced its newest partnership with the Meeting Professionals International Foundation (MPIF), a not-for-profit organization that funds grants, scholarships and pan-industry research in the support of the global meeting and event industry.

In an effort to fuel the growth of the global meeting and event industry in Canada, this partnership enables The International Centre to create over 30 industry scholarships that will be distributed to Canadian students and business event professionals over the next five years.  Highlights include:

Ten (10) college scholarships for Indigenous Students enrolled in Hospitality and Tourism

Five (5) scholarships for Canadian show managers to attend the Canadian Association of Exposition Managers (CAEM) Canada Conference

Five (5) scholarships to the MPI World Education Congress

Fifteen (15) scholarships for “The Event” Regional Education Conference

“As a thriving community that has a tremendous contribution to our regional and national economic impact, supporting sustained growth of the business events is imperative for future success” says Trevor Lui, director of Operations and Sustainability at The International Centre.  “Providing educational and mentorship opportunities to individuals dedicated to our trade can only further our message as an industry that consistently drives direct and indirect employment and revenue into all markets.  Amplifying these opportunities through MPI’s existing and growing industry partnerships allows us to take advantage of their market depth.”

This philanthropic agreement strongly aligns with the direction in which The International Centre is moving towards as a thought leader and innovator within the global meetings and events industry. The International Centre is a long term supporter and a strong advocate of industry academia and acknowledges the value and opportunities that these scholarship programs provide to industry recipients.

August 27, 2017
Meetings + Incentive Travel Announce 2017 Hall of Fame Inductees

“This year’s inductees are an inspiring group of people who have made, and continue to make, great contributions to the industry,” says Lori Smith, editor of Meetings + Incentive Travel. “We are delighted to welcome them into our Hall of Fame family. We’d also like to thank our sponsors: Business Events Toronto, which sponsors the Industry Planner category, and Hilton Worldwide, the program’s platinum sponsor. They help us make the M+IT Hall of Fame the leading recognition program in the industry.”

The 2017 Inductees are:

INDUSTRY VETERAN: Michael Prescott, CEO, The International Centre

INDUSTRY PLANNER: Arianna McLaughlin, national events manager, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

INDUSTRY BUILDER: Diane Stefaniak (ret.)

INDUSTRY INNOVATOR: Heather Reid, ARCT MSc, founder and CEO, Planner Protect Inc.

INDUSTRY VOLUNTEER: Rose Timmerman Gitzi, CMM, president, RTG Special Events

INDUSTRY MENTOR: Carol Priest, founder and entertainment specialist, RTG Special Events
Arianne McLaughlin, Diane Stefaniak and Carol Priest are all members of the MPI Toronto Chapter.

August 27, 2017
M+IT Announces New Scholarship Program

M+IT is launching a new Canadian Nationwide Scholarship Program in partnership with the Meeting Professional InternationalFoundation Canada (MPIF). According to Joe Glionna, president of Newcom Business Media, the owner of Meetings + Incentive Travel magazine and IncentiveWorks, M+IT has pledged $9,000 to fund conference attendance scholarships for Canadian planners across all seven MPI chapters in Canada. From the seven chapter recipients, one Premier Education scholarship will be awarded and presented live at IncentiveWorks 2018.

More information about the program, which will be facilitated by Heather Donnelly, director of business development for Meetings + Incentive Travel, will be announced in the coming months.

August 17, 2017
2017 Membership Offers at IncentiveWorks

Want to join or continue being part of a leading global community that is shaping and defining the future of the meeting and event industry? @MPIToronto is committed to making members successful! Be sure to visit booth 509 @Incentive_Works to benefit from our current membership #promotion; new members receive $100 off your first year membership dues and renewing members receive $50 off upon renewal. For more information and to receive the promo code, be sure to stop by the MPI Toronto booth (509) at IncentiveWorks - Canada's largest meetings and events industry trade show and conference. We look forward to seeing you there! 

MPI Toronto Chapter joins Meetings Mean Business Canada
The Business Events Industry Coalition of Canada (BEICC) was formed in 2009 to be the voice of the business events industry in Canada in the wake of the global recession and other critical issues. Last year, as their board looked to next steps for the coalition, they decided that reaching out to Meetings Mean Business (MMB) in the US, with their successful advocacy platform, broad-based industry support, and strong financial model, would be the ideal strategy.
In February 2017, they announced the signing of a licensing agreement with MMB which gives Meetings Mean Business Canada full access to their suite of digital assets, branding standards and best practices while retaining full control of our Canadian content, focus and advocacy approach. With this agreement in place, the BEICC rebranded as Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMB Canada).
For more information:

April 26, 2017
Convention Industry Council Changes Name to Events Industry Council

Announcing the new name and look for the Events Industry Council, and the new look for Certified Meeting Professionals (CMPs). This change makes an exciting future for the Council and all event professionals as the business of meetings continues to evolve and thrive around the world. 

Why is the name changing? 
The Convention Industry Council Board and our Brand Task Force recognized a need to refresh and refine our organization’s brand to ensure that our focus and work provided true value to our members, all Certified Meeting Professionals (CMPs) and the industry we all serve. To be truly representative of our industry, it became apparent a name change was needed to better reflect the direction of the industry and the organizations we represent. ‘Events’ consistently came to the forefront as the most universal, progressive, and preferred descriptor. 

What does this mean for me? 
The mark of excellence in the events industry continues to be the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) credential. With a fresh new look, the CMP designation represent the best and the brightest around the globe. If you are considering becoming a CMP, explore how you can take this important step in your professional growth. You are a CMP – powered by the Events Industry Council.The Events Industry Council’s 33 member organizations represent over 103,500 individuals and 19,500 firms and properties involved in the meetings, conventions, and exhibitions industry. The Events Industry Council vision is to be the global champion for event professionals and event industry excellence. It promotes high standards and professionalism in the events industry with the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) program and signature program initiatives. The CMP credential is recognized globally as the badge of excellence in the events industry. The qualifications for certification are based on professional experience, education, and a rigorous exam. The four signature programs — Sustainability, Industry Insights, Knowledge, and Leadership — represent the key initiatives, assets, services and products for the Events Industry Council.

April 6, 2017Global Meetings Industry Day Recognizes Metrolinx Union Pearson (UP) Express with Influence Award

Metrolinx Union Pearson (UP) Express was chosen by the MPI Toronto Chapter Board to receive Influence Award. 
Metrolinx Union Pearson (UP) Express connects the country's two busiest transportation hubs: Toronto Pearson International Airport and Union Station in downtown Toronto. It’s North America’s first dedicated air-rail link, offering a 25-minute journey from end to end, no matter what’s happening on the roads or in the weather forecast.
By 2031, Toronto Pearson International Airport  and Union Station are projected to welcome about 190 million travellers a year combined – that’s half the current population of Canada, and almost double today’s traffic. That is a big added strain on Toronto’s roads. $16-billion in provincial funding used to transform transportation in Ontario, with one of the first projects out of the gate was the dedicated air-rail link. UP Express launched, on time and on budget, June 6, 2015.
The Influence Award Program is designed to recognize people or organizations outside the direct industry which have supported the development of meetings and conventions or the development of policy and programs impacting the industry. The Influence Award gives the Chapter an opportunity recognize the accomplishments of people or organizations contributing to the meetings sector and strengthen relationships with external supporters.  

A link from the airport to downtown Toronto now adds to the viability of Toronto as a great destination for conferences, meetings and events. 

March 9, 2017
Awards Gala Videos

If you missed the Awards Gala or want another look, check out these two videos.

Full Awards


March 9, 2017
MPI Toronto Chapter Celebrates 2016 Awards Nominees and Recipients

On March 9, 2017, members and guests gathered at the Toronto Congress Centre to celebrate our nominess and award recipients.

Nominees in all categories were:

Tami Adams, Speakers' Spotlight
Asif Ahmed, Zzeem Inc
Ioanna Antonopoulos, Antonopoulos Hospitality Group
Moriah Bacus, CMP, Tourism Toronto
Megan Bexfield, Humber College
Tammy Bradley, CMP, HMCC, PSAV
Natalie Ciarallo, CMP, TD Bank
Kristi Contini, CMP, Grant Thornton LLP
Wendy Derblich, CMP, HMCC, Bayer INc
Zaman Ishaad, Ryerson University
Marsha Jones, CMM, Marsha Jones Consulting
Christina Northcott, CMP, Canada Health Infoway
Alice Parnis, Event Fusion Inc
Ana Paulo, Canada's Wonderland
Monika Radicevic, CMP, InterContinental Hotel Toronto
Les Selby, CMP, CMM, Aimia Proprietary Loyalty Canada
Carly Silberstein, Redstone Agency Inc
Rachel Stark, TD Bank
Elise Taylor, CMP, InitLive
Shannon Valeriote, CMP, CMM, Scotiabank Convention Centre
Gabrielle Whittaker, Humber College

Being a nominee is a huge accomplishment and these members have made outstanding contributions to the event industry.

Awards were presented to the following:

Recruiter of the Year
Marisa Goncalves, Courtyard Marriott Toronto Downtown

Norm Neill Student of the Year
Zaman Ishaad, Ryerson University

New Member of the Year
Ioanna Antonopoulos, Antonopoulos Hospitality Group

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Rachel Stark, Intact Insurance

Mentor of the Year
Alice Parnis,Event Fusion Inc

Supplier of the Year
Monika Radicevic, CMP, InterContinental Toronto Centre

Planner of the Year
Natalie Ciarallo, CMP, TD Bank

President's Award
Vicki Zeppa, CMP, Ignite Magazine

Congratulations to all our nominees and award recipients. 

MPI Toronto Scholarships Presented at Awards Gala, March 9, 2017

MPI Toronto Scholarships were presented at the Awards Gala, March 9, 2017 to the following members:

Toronto Education Scholarship sponsored by Ottawa Tourism and the Shaw Centre
Margaret Binns, Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association
Jen Moir, CMP, Meeting Encore
Gabrielle Whittaker, Humber College

MPI World Education Scholarship
Caitlin Burgess, CMP, Canada Health Infoway

Certificate in Meeting Management Program (CMM)
Christina Northcott, CMP, Canada Health Infoway

Congratulations to each of our scholarship recipients. We wish you much success as you strive to achieve each of your individual goals.

PCMA 2017 Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Barry Smith

Barry Smith, President and CEO of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, has been named as the 2017 Supplier Lifetime Achievement Honoree.

Barry is the gold standard for the excellence as a supplier in the convention and meetings industry. His work in Toronto was ground-breaking for attracting international business to North America; his willingness to take risks, explore new markets, and employ new technology has garnered a well-deserved reputation throughout the industry, all of which has been carried out with grace and humility second to none. 


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