MPI Announces the 2024 RISE Awards Recipients

MPI Announces the 2024 RISE Awards Recipients

This year’s recipients feature outstanding contributions in community and member achievement, from honoring indigenous protocols in event design to excellence in volunteer management and chapter operations.


May 23, 2024 —Meeting Professionals International (MPI) announced the recipients of the 2024 RISE (Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence) Awards during the association’s World Education Congress (WEC 24 Louisville) in Louisville, Kentucky. The recipients were selected for exceptional achievements in the meeting and event industry.

The RISE Awards honor MPI members, chapters, and clubs across 7 award categories, with an overall focus on the criteria of innovation, global transferability, and influence within the meeting and event industry, as well as MPI. Members who receive a RISE Award join MPI’s Community of Honorees, a group composed of past MPI award winners and distinguished leaders.

“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we recognize the extraordinary efforts of the outstanding MPI members and chapters who received 2024 RISE Awards,” said Paul Van Deventer, President and CEO of MPI. “Each award recipient inspires us to pursue excellence within the community and reimagine how we can serve the greater good in our chapter, region, and global community. Congratulations to each one of our honorees.”

The RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement was presented to Evan Nielson, CMP of the MPI Potomac Chapter. Evan’s membership tenure has featured a steady advancement from volunteering to volunteer leadership, and most recently, he was selected to serve as his chapter’s first Regional Council Representative. His volunteer commitment on behalf of the meeting and event industry has produced useful tools and resources at the chapter and

regional level, as well as an event benefiting the MPI Foundation.

The RISE Award for Member of the Year was presented to Jenny Dao of the MPI Ottawa Chapter. Jenny volunteers locally at MPI Ottawa Chapter, as well as regionally at the Canadian conference The EVENT and the MPI Foundation Canada Council. Through her work at Discover Saskatoon, she has enabled her chapter and region to advance truth and reconciliation processes through embedding indigenous protocols into event design. These efforts have

resulted in substantial benefits for her chapter and helped to create an environment where all feel valued and respected.

The RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership was presented to Steven Foster, CMP of the MPI Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter. Steven’s 33-year tenure with MPI showcases the power of consistent volunteer leadership. Highlights from his early years with MPI include serving as president of the MPI Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter and supporting the creation of a $7,000 endowment to inaugurate the Travel, Exhibition and Meeting Management Program at a local community college. He also helped launch an advocacy day that served as a predecessor to GMID. As the longest-serving MPI Chapter Facilitator, Steven continues to empower and support volunteer leaders across U.S., Canadian and Latin America chapters by providing transferrable processes that foster success.

The RISE Award for Innovative Educational Programming was presented to the MPI Tennessee Chapter. MPI Tennessee employed a strategy to "educate through entertainment" at its annual Connect Educational Conference and Tradeshow in February of 2023 by developing a lineup of shows modeled after popular TV programs and reality series in place of education sessions, tradeshows, or luncheons. By choosing to stage its "shows" in a LEED-certified venue and by including a wide variety of stakeholders in event design decisions, MPI Tennessee maintained a commitment to diversity, inclusion, and sustainability. These efforts resulted in the highest attendance numbers ever recorded by the chapter.

The RISE Award for Marketplace Excellence was presented to the MPI Wisconsin Chapter. Now in its 11th year, MPI Wisconsin's Strategic Partner Program has evolved over the years to offer enhanced benefits to its chapter leaders who run the program as well as the clients whom the program serves. Over time, its steady financial success has resulted in the chapter making sizable donations to support other chapters in need, as well as free registration for planner members to its annual education conference.

The RISE Award for Industry Advocate was presented to MPI Indiana Chapter for its innovative approach to planning and promoting its Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) Event. In a

collaborative effort, the chapter worked with other Indianapolis meeting and event associations to plan and execute the event. For event promotions, the chapter introduced a unique initiative called “March Meeting Mania,” which incentivized GMID engagement and effectively raised awareness about the meeting and event industry on social media.

The RISE Award for Membership Achievement was presented to the MPI Pittsburgh Chapter. The MPI Pittsburgh Chapter implemented a series of targeted initiatives and personalized outreach strategies aimed at fostering growth and retention within its membership base. The chapter made a special effort to engage student members, including dedicating a position on its Board of Directors to focus on student engagement. These efforts yielded impressive results, including a 29% year-over-year increase in membership.

“Volunteers are the core of MPI, and these individuals and chapters represent excellence in volunteer leadership. I applaud each and every one of them for their accomplishments and look forward to seeing the MPI community continue to pursue innovation and influence both locally and globally,” said International Board of Directors chair, Michelle Allgauer, CAE, CMM, CMP Fellow.

MPI leadership also shared that when applications open for the 2025 RISE Awards this September, the Industry Advocate Award will be replaced by the Social Impact Award, which honors chapter or club achievement in the promotion of diversity, inclusivity, and social impact within their membership and the wider community.

To learn more about the MPI RISE Awards and the 2024 RISE Awards 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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