MPI Celebrates 2023 RISE Awards Recipients

MPI Celebrates 2023 RISE Awards Recipients

DALLAS, June 12, 2023 — Meeting Professionals International (MPI) announced the recipients of this year’s RISE (Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence) Awards during the association’s 2023 World Education Congress (WEC23) in Mexico in the Riviera Maya. The recipients were selected for exceptional achievements in the meeting and event industry. 

The RISE Awards feature seven awards in two categories: individual achievement and community achievement. Recipients are recognized for innovation, global transferability, impact, and influence within the industry, and will join the MPI Community of Honorees, a group composed of past MPI award winners and distinguished leaders. 

“We are so proud to recognize this year’s 2023 RISE Awards recipients,” said Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO of MPI. “Their achievements serve as an example of what can be accomplished with dedication and a love for the industry. Let us celebrate their accomplishments and be inspired to pursue our own passions with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment.”

The RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement was presented to Caroline Cole of the MPI Tennessee Chapter. Caroline is the Accounts Coordinator at MAS, a creatively led experiential marketing agency. In her two-year tenure with MPI (starting as a student member), she has accomplished a great deal and has a lot more to give. Caroline is an event professional who is unafraid to push boundaries and think outside the box. Having found her passion for the industry early on in her life, she is eager to find ways to draw in students' interest in the endless opportunities a career in events can offer. She persistently works with her own MPI chapter, and this year joined the MPI international committee, Emerging Professionals Advisory Council to develop marketing and ideation towards getting young professionals and student members more involved in MPI and aware of the opportunities it provides.

It was Caroline’s MPI involvement that allowed her to take off in her own career and she wants to assist in developing and advocating for the already existing young professional opportunities within the industry and specifically MPI. She has started these efforts by getting involved with local universities and their programming. Additionally, she has spent time rethinking social and marketing strategies within her local MPI chapter to appeal to a variety of audiences. She is grateful to her many mentors who have helped her along the way and is eager to give back to the industry that has given so much to her.


The RISE Award for Member of the Year was presented to John Kirby of the MPI Kansas City Chapter. Kirby is a 15-year member of MPI and his volunteer service began with the Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City, where he served on the Board of Directors from 2004-2017. He was also a nominee and graduate of the Citizens Academy for the Federal Bureau of Investigations in 2012 and remains active in their Alumni Association. John currently works in Encore’s Global Sales Organization, where he spends his time supporting account-based needs and relationships with Encore’s direct strategic customers. He is the current Immediate Past President of MPI’s Kansas City Chapter and is also serving on the Chapter Member and Advisory Council. In addition to his efforts within MPI, John is also a member of the PCMA Heartland Chapter, Event Minds Matter, and an Ally member of Encore’s PRIDE Business Resource Group.

The RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership was presented to Paola Bowman, CMP, CMM  of the MPI Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter. Paola Bowman is the Director of Client Services and Events at the Arlington Convention & Visitors Bureau. As an experienced hospitality and events professional, Bowman has worked in numerous positions, from front of the house to sales and services.
She holds her CMP and CMM and was named one of Smart Meetings Magazine “100 Women Who Inspire Us” in 2018 and was recognized in the Connect Association 40 under 40 group of 2019.  Most recently, she has been selected by ConventionSouth Magazine as a Meeting Professional to Watch in 2023. Her involvement with MPI began with the DFW chapter, where she volunteered on the marketing committee. She now volunteers on the MPI DFW Board. She is also highly involved in the Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA), where she volunteers on the DEI task force. She has been a speaker at event conferences and has contributed to industry publications with articles. She has been instrumental in developing best practices, industry toolkits specific to event service professionals, and training for Event Service Professionals, including certification for this important role in the industry.

The RISE Award for Innovative Educational Programming was presented to the MPI New Jersey Chapter. MPI New Jersey has committed the past 5 years to rebuild and reestablish themselves as the premier place for industry professionals to receive top-notch education in the region. Their education committee‘s efforts toward this goal culminated in the launch of the MPI New Jersey MEETS Conference, which stands for Meetings, Events, Education, Travel, and Sales. In planning the MPI New Jersey MEETS Conference, the chapter encountered many of the same issues facing the entire meetings and events industry. To overcome these challenges, the committee employed innovative tactics, starting with a robust marketing effort and a brand new ‘Co-Op partnership’. This partnership attracted attendance and support from other member organizations including MPI New Jersey’s local sister MPI Chapters, PCMA, and ILEA, to name a few. MPI New Jersey also created an innovative sponsorship program, marketing guide, and public relations plan to attract attention and raise awareness. The 2022 MEETS Conference ultimately exceeded its goals and will likely become a signature event for the chapter.

The RISE Award for Marketplace Excellence was presented to the MPI Greater New York Chapter. The annual MPI Greater New York Chapter Golf Outing has been the chapter’s best-attended and highest revenue-generating event of the year. The objectives of the event are to create great networking opportunities for the attendees, including experiences beyond golf so that more attendees can attend and so that this event has a great impact that provides sponsors with the justification to return each year. This year these objectives were all met and exceeded throughout the day. Thanks to an innovative reception in NYC the night prior to the event as well as a full day of non-golfing activities with programming focused on wellness and CSR.

The RISE Award for Industry Advocate was presented to MPI Caribe Mexicano Chapter. MPI Caribe Mexicano’s collaboration with its local, international, and governmental communities generated business exchange opportunities and networking, as well as a greater awareness of the entire Yucatan peninsula to the MICE industry. Among its array of accomplishments, MPI Caribe Mexicano boasts a 3-year running GMID celebration. Most recently, their GMID event featured a drone show and ensured the event’s entire estimated cost of 35k was sponsored.
Further, at the chapter board’s swearing-in ceremonies, the chapter hosted government officials to preside over the event, including the Ministry of Tourism, the Mayor of Cancun, and the Governor of Quintana Roo state. These events create synergy, establish credibility, and enhance understanding of what the MICE Industry represents. As a result of these three past years of relationships established with the government authorities, the chapter has achieved credibility and, as a result, received financial support to create an annual flagship event: Vive MICE. On a global scale, the chapter has built industry connections and solidified relationships with five US-based MPI chapters through hosting board retreats, thereby creating networking events with the objective to develop and enhance business relations on an international scale.

The RISE Award for Membership Achievement was presented to the MPI Kansas City Chapter. MPI Kansas City’s achievements as a chapter have been tremendous in the last 18 months as the industry continues to emerge from the pandemic. During 2021-22, MPI Kansas City grew overall membership by 14% and was awarded the Chapter of Excellence, exceeding standards in every single category of evaluation. At the time of submission, the chapter was pacing at 23% growth. The chapter credits its success to its efforts to develop community. Chapter leaders have worked hard to develop new audiences by welcoming several small businesses, specialty venues, DJs, caterers, and other verticals not historically a part of the chapter.  MPI Kansas City celebrates the diversity of its membership and envisions a bright future as a chapter where all who want to join are enthusiastically welcomed.

“Please join me in congratulating the 2023 RISE Award recipients for their outstanding achievements. They have demonstrated exceptional talent and hard work in the meeting and events industry and most importantly at MPI,” said International Board of Directors chair, Cleo Battle.

For more details on the MPI RISE Awards and this year’s recipients, visit 



Meeting Professionals International

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest meeting and event industry association worldwide. The organization provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges, and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. MPI has a global community of 60,000 meeting and event professionals including nearly 13,000 engaged members. It has It has nearly 70 chapters, clubs and members in more than 75 countries worldwide. "When we meet, we change the world."



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