Four Canadians have been selected for the Professional Convention Management Association’s (PCMA) inaugural 20 in their twenties program.
Yih-Hsiang (Shawn) Cheng, team lead, Tourism Vancouver; Katie Dolan, convention services manager, Ottawa Tourism; Vivian Fleet, sustainability officer, Metro Toronto Convention Centre; and Alexis Kereluk, manager, Association Relations, MCI Canada will be part of the program’s first class, which also includes young professionals from the U.S., Mexico, Germany, Spain and Australia.
Designed to engage the best and brightest young professionals in the meetings industry, 20 in their twenties is designed to recognize emerging leaders and their talents. “Too often great leadership isn’t recognized until the latter portion of careers. Twenty in their twenties allowed PCMA to engage and acknowledge a talented group of young professionals for their skills and provide incentive for them to lead our industry into the future,” said Deborah Sexton, president and CEO, PCMA.
To qualify for consideration, program applicants had to be employed full time in the meetings industry; be 29 years old or younger; and showcase three ways in which they can be considered industry leaders. PCMA membership was not a requirement.
“The number of exceptional applications PCMA received went above and beyond our expectations for the program. We want to thank everyone who applied for taking the time and hope they will remain engaged with PCMA,” said Johnnie White, chairman, PCMA Board of Directors.
The 16 other members of the inaugural class are:
- Ryan Barth, sales manager, Visit Indy (Indianapolis, Indiana)
- Yasha Bergman, project manager, uba GmbH (Hamburg, Germany)
- Rosa Garriga Mora, meeting designer & ROI consultant, Independent Contractor (Barcelona, Spain)
- Mindy Halpert, conference manager, The Consortium for School Networking (Washington, D.C.)
- Rick Hyland, exhibitor services supervisor, Orange County Convention Center (Orlando, Florida)
- Sam McNeill, creative director, Song Division (Sydney, Australia)
- Elisa Sandoval, sales manager, Hotel Nikko San Francisco (California)
- Astrid Schrier, CMP, meeting manager, Association Headquarters, Inc. (Mount Laurel, New Jersey)
- Kathleen Smith, marketing manager, etech events (Orlando, Florida)
- Megan Tate, manager – Event, Meeting and Travel Management, Petco Animal Supplies, Inc. (San Diego, California)
- Marcela Torres, director of Big Events, Mexico City Tourism Trust (Mexico City, Mexico)
- David Wagner, meetings manager, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (Washington , DC)
- Rachel Walsh, director of meetings, Sentergroup (Chicago, Illinois)
- Alleeshia Williams, coordinator, Meetings & Business Partnerships, Institute of Food Technologists (Chicago, Illinois)
- Leslie Wong, CMP, creative account manager, Blueprint Studios (San Francisco, California)
Each member of the 20 in their twenties program will receive complimentary 2014 Convening Leaders and Education Conference registration; $1,500 for travel expenses; discounted registration to attend Convening Leaders and Education Conference until they reach the age of 30; complimentary PCMA membership for 2014 and discounted membership until they are 30; and the opportunity to be paired with a member of the PCMA Board of Directors, Foundation Board of Trustees, or Past Leaders for three face-to-face or virtual mentoring sessions. They will also be recognized at Convening Leaders in January, as well as in Convene Magazine and other PCMA communications.
The program is supported by the PCMA Education Foundation, the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Austin Convention Center.