On the evening of Oct. 13, 2015, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) set a new bar for awards events and lit up the night for more than 450 meetings and events professionals at the freshly revamped Hall of Leaders & Pacesetter Awards, commemorating its 20th anniversary.
Debuting a brand new cocktail reception format during IMEX America 2015, the event honored industry pioneers whose intelligence, leadership, innovation and influence have changed the landscape of the profession, leaders who have guided us to where we are today, and recognized those whose recent accomplishments chart a course for where the industry is headed.
This year’s celebration was a departure from the formal black-tie dinner of years past, offering a fresh take on industry awards celebrations. A chic “pop up” night club was created in the Marquee Ballroom at the MGM Grand providing an enchanting and magical backdrop for the electric evening. The night began with a VIP pre-awards reception, where hosts rolled out the red carpet granting attendees exclusive access into “Club CIC.” Guests were provided LED wristbands that lit up along with the entertainment, sleek white leather lounge seating, and treated to stage performers while they sipped cocktails and sampled exotic culinary treats.
Building on that energy, the action-packed show began with CIC Chief Executive Officer Karen Kotowski, CAE, CMP and the 2015 chair of the CIC Board of Directors, David DuBois, CMP, CAE, CTA, FASAE welcoming attendees, including over 15 past inductees who were in attendance, to the 20th annual Hall of Leaders Celebration. Ms. Kotowski then introduced the emcee for the evening, former Director of Events for the White House, author, speaker and commentator Laura Schwartz.
“The celebration was a truly special occasion which brought new excitement with the rebranded night club format. MGM Resorts Event Productions did a fabulous job capturing our vision for the way we wanted to reinvent the event, while still bestowing the appropriate honor to the legends of our industry. The response to the change has been overwhelmingly positive,” said CIC CEO Karen Kotowski.
After a heartfelt thank you to all of the generous sponsors, the celebration began with the presentation of the Pacesetter Award to three professionals for their outstanding recent achievements in their careers. Honored this year were: Rafael Hernández, CEM, Kate Patay, CPCE, and Kinga Soćko.
Next up, five game changers joined the prestigious CIC Hall of Leaders: Patricia Farías Barlow, CEM, Larry Luteran, Jane E. Schuldt, CIS, CITE, Craig Smith, and Amy Spatrisano, CMP.
Throughout the night guests dined on a variety of cuisines featured from various restaurants at MGM Grand and enjoyed table-side bottle service as one would experience in any top Las Vegas nightclub. Dancers and specialty acts provided a hip backdrop for the highlight performance from the five-man vocal band MO5AIC, who kept the energy high with their innovative vocal collaboration.
“Our industry is ever evolving and that means continuing to innovate on many levels. This event honors pioneers in our industry and we wanted to offer a ground-breaking and fresh approach to showcase that,” said CIC Chairman of the Board David DuBois.
After dinner, attendees were welcomed to continue the celebration into the after party, where an energetic DJ kept the fun going. The celebration culminated in an announcement that nominations for the 2016 Hall of Leaders were now open and available on the CIC website. This year’s celebration launched a new era of CIC awards celebrations, one CIC looks forward to producing for years to come.