How to Shine in the Big Moments

Spotlight Sojourns

The “Celebrate Together” Annual Gala honors the brightest shining stars of Meeting Professionals International Northern California Chapter (MPINCC).

Stars are stars because they ignite their light. Because they shine in the big moments.” (Marilee Kostadimas)

And the big moments were many in MPINCC’s history-making, record-breaking, off-the-charts-amazing program year to Educate, Engage, IGNITE!

The year began with a boom (literally, with confetti cannons!) on the MPINCC Gala stage 12 months ago.

As your incoming President, I challenged you to define your ROI, determine your WHY. Then to join up, get up, suit up, and show up this year.

Because I promised that this Chapter – the world’s largest Chapter of the world’s largest industry association – was going to elevate the excellence and transform the experience. Your experience.

That we would make heads turn. That we would fire up and light up the sky.

That together we would Educate, Engage, IGNITE!

Celebrating our Big Moments.

Together at MPINCC we delivered on that promise, that imperative.

So much so that for the time in history, our Chapter is a finalist in three out of three nominations for the MPI RISE Global Awards:

  • Marketplace Excellence – Annual Conference and Expo (ACE)
  • Educational Programming – CMP University
  • Industry Leadership – our very own Matthew Schermerhorn, CMP, HMCC

In the same fashion, MPINCC rose to the new heights with:

  • Education scores off the charts, leading the world in education quality and satisfaction.
  • Unprecedented engagement, with the unity of community:
    • Nothing but Networking events in new locations.
    • A Global Meetings Industry Day attended by over 400 professionals and 10 different Association Presidents.
    • A Community Involvement action or drive every single month in this program year.
  • Continued status as the world’s largest Chapter of the world’s largest industry association for the 2nd year in a row.
  • A record number of annual nominations to this year’s Awards and Recognition Committee. Because so many stars ignited their light to shine in the big moments this year!

Celebrating our Supernova Stars.

Now, let’s celebrate 14 supernova volunteers with the coveted Crystal Star Award. Firstly, the Annual Award honorees are:

Annual Awards

  • TOMORROW’S LEADER – Tomorrow’s Leader demonstrates exceptional leadership in the 1st 2 years of membership. Already honored as Meeting Professional of the Quarter for re-designing our website in his 1st year, he stepped up to a whole new level in his 2nd year. Tomorrow’s Leader is Patrick McMichael, CSEP.
  • COMMITTEE CHAIR OF THE YEAR – She led the Recruitment Committee with a constant smile on her face and joy in her heart. She is sunshine on a rainy day. She is our Committee Chair of the Year Melanie Lucero.
  • BOARD MEMBER OF THE YEAR – This individual came to me 2 years ago and said, “Marilee, when you’re President, I’ll do whatever you need.” Her leadership as Director of Marketing this year has taken her Committee to new heights: 4 social-media accounts, lots of engagement, and the 1st press release issued in many years. The Board Member of the Year is Kathleen Maier, CMP.
  • PARTNER OF THE YEAR – The 1st Partner of the Year Award goes to a hotel which hosted CMP University for 5 straight months. And they elevated the students’ experience by adding a food and beverage program on their own. This award goes to Dolce Hayes Mansion.
  • PARTNER OF THE YEAR – This organization supported the Chapter at not 1, not 2, but 3 events this year. They also stepped up their level of sustaining partnership to become MPINCC’s 1st Titanium Sponsor. The 2nd Partner of the Year Award goes to Sonoma County Tourism.
  • MEETING PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – The Meeting Professional of the Year is our Chapter’s Best Actor or Best Actress. This year’s Meeting Professional has starred for 2 years as Co-Chair of the CMP/CMM Committee, re-working and re-deploying the entire CMP U Program recognized for global excellence as an MPI RISE 2017 finalist. And she did it all while traveling non-stop as a planner for Greylock Partners. Our MPINCC Meeting Professional of the Year is Elizabeth Cherson, CMP, CMM.

Hall of Fame Awards

Secondly, the Hall of Fame Award recognizes long-time MPINCC members who deliver exceptional results to the Chapter for many years.

  • HALL OF FAME – Our 1st Hall of Fame honoree has served the Corks and Forks catalyst for 3 years, 2 as the inaugural Chair. The 1st Hall of Fame Award goes to Rose Stanton, CTA.
  • HALL OF FAME – This next individual is another MPINCC Past President who answered the call of service this year. She set the highest-ever bar of educational excellence as the ACE Education Chair. The 2nd Hall of Fame Award goes to Dana Marshall, CMP, CMM, HMCC.
  • HALL OF FAME – Our final Hall of Fame honoree is a gentleman who serves this Chapter faithfully for over 25 years. MPINCC Past President Jody Brandes, CMP, CMM, HMCC, and I began our own leadership journeys as Award and Recognition Chairs when he was President 2004-2005. He hasn’t stopped since. This year, he served as Retention Chair. He also led a task force to re-write our Policies and Procedures Maual. The final Hall of Fame Award goes to Jim Skiba, CIS, CMP, CTA.

President’s Awards

Lastly, the President’s Award is a discretionary award for distinguished service.

  • PRESIDENT’S AWARD –  The 1st President’s Award recognizes an individual who spent months crafting the 1st-ever Emergency Plan for ACE. A plan so thorough and so detailed that two global security experts called it “near perfect” from the ACE General Session stage. The 1st President’s Award goes to Danielle Restaino, CMP.
  • PRESIDENT’S AWARD – A record number of MPINCC Past Presidents answered the call to service this year. Already honored in the Hall of Fame last year, this next honoree must nonetheless be recognized for the astonishing strategic and tactical leadership as ACE Chairman this year. He commuted constantly between San Francisco and New York City. This President’s Award goes to Matthew Schermerhorn, CMP, HMCC.
  • PRESIDENT’S AWARD – This next President’s Award recognizes an individual who placed her career on hold to fulfill a brand-new Board role this year. As the inaugural Director of ACE, she oversaw the entire strategic and logistical scope of ACE 2017. Including the development of the 1st-ever Strategic Meeting Management Plan, the 1st-ever SMMP in ACE’s 29 years. This President’s Award goes to Lisa Burkett, CMP, CMM, HMCC.
  • PRESIDENT’S AWARD – 30 years ago, in 1987, our next President’s Award honoree broke the glass ceiling at Global by becoming the 1st-ever female Chair of the International Board of Directors. She continues to champion women in leadership globally and locally. She is a role model. She is the essence of hospitality. She is an inspiration. I’m pleased to present the President’s Award to my mentor, Marta Hayden.
  • PRESIDENT’S AWARD – The last President’s Award honors a gentleman whose commitment to servant leadership has influenced every MPINCC President and Board member for over a decade. He asks the hard questions. He welcomes to white elephant in a Board Room. He’s performed on cruise ships and appeared on Broadway. But his greatest role is facilitator extraordinaire. The final President’s Award goes to Rick Weaver.

Celebrating Our Stellar Members.

Thank you to these supernovas and to all of our stellar volunteers and MPINCC members.

Above all, you truly make a difference to our Chapter, our community, and our global industry.

Each of you shine in the big moments in this history-making, record-breaking, off-the-charts amazing year to Educate, Engage, IGNITE!

Continue to ignite your light. To make heads turn. To shine in the big moments.

Because you are the firework. Come on, show ’em what you’re worth.

Sparkle on, like the stars you are.


Photo Credit: Orange Photography


READ: MPINCC and You Made History

LEARN: About Meeting Professionals International (MPI)