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Photo Credit: PCMA

Part of the Inaugural Business Events Industry Week

The PCMA Foundation is pleased to announce the 2022 PCMA Visionary Awards Lifetime Achievement Honorees, Groundbreaker Award and Professional Excellence Finalists. The annual Visionary Awards, established to honour and celebrate the global business events industry’s exceptional stars, will be held on Thursday, March 24 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. The celebration is in conjunction with the inaugural Business Events Industry Week, powered by Destinations International and PCMA, a week dedicated to convening the global business events industry in the United States Association capital.


The 2022 Lifetime Achievement Honorees are Mary Pat Heftman, Vice Chair, Exhibitions, Winsight Media; Dr. Eric D. Olson, Chair, Rita & Navin Dimond Department, School of Hospitality, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Kitty Ratcliffe, President, Explore St. Louis. Ben Goedegebuure, Vice President and Global General Manager, Maritz Global Events, a 2021 Lifetime Achievement Honoree will officially be honoured in 2022 since he was unable to travel in 2021 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and border closures.

After the recent passing of Chris Wehking, 2014 PCMA Chairman of the Board of Directors and a 2019 PCMA Foundation Lifetime Achievement Honoree, a scholarship fund has been created in his name. Chris contributed much during his time with PCMA and was especially instrumental in the efforts to transform PCMA into a more global association.

“While Chris has left a significant void, we have the opportunity to honour his legacy by turning our sadness into action by paying it forward for the next generation of leaders in our industry,” said Sherrif Karamat, CAE, PCMA president and CEO. “Through funding support from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and PCMA, we will honour Chris’ many contributions by establishing a fund in his name – one that supports future leaders and research/grants to further the business events industry.”

Donations are currently being accepted at https://app.mobilecause.com/f/3mm5/n?vid=o8hzf.

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Photo Credit: PCMA

2022 Business Events Strategist Honoree: Mary Pat Heftman

A strategic business leader and industry advocate, Heftman is regarded as an executive who is a champion for others. She has developed, coached, and created rich careers not only for those who work directly with her, but for those who have worked alongside her in volunteer roles.

2022 Educator Honoree: Dr. Eric D. Olson

Dr. Olson develops others by collaborating with faculty members, students, peers, and society. Dr. Olson has supported numerous undergraduate research projects, graduate theses, and dissertations. In fact, one student secured a job because of networking with professionals at Convening Leaders on a trip led by Dr. Olson.

2022 Supplier Honoree: Kitty Ratcliffe

A natural leader, Ratcliffe was among the first advocates for sustainability throughout the business events industry. Her personal involvement in numerous committees and boards of various industry organizations has helped to shape the industry we know today.

2022 Groundbreaker Award

Melissa Cherry, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and Senior Vice President, Miles Partnership will receive the PCMA Groundbreakers Award. Now in its second year, the award honours industry trailblazers who represent diverse sectors of the business events community, recognizing those who have made a significant contribution to their organizations and programs that advance inclusion and equity.

The annual celebration will also recognize 20 Professional Excellence Finalists across six categories for extraordinary contributions to their organizations and their impact on the professional development of others. The recipient in each category will be announced live at the March 24 celebration.

The 2022 Visionary Awards celebration is presented by Visit Austin and the Austin Convention Center. Proceeds from the Visionary Awards benefit the PCMA Foundation, which supports the industry and, through its scholarships and programs, empowers students and professionals to advance in their profession. All Honorees and finalists can be viewed here.