News & Awards

In the exhibitions and events industry, it is important to show recognition of a job well done. Below you will find IAEE news and resources, along with information on our Woman of Achievement award and how to enter.



IAEE Announces 2019 Individual Award Winners – Honorees to be Recognized at Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas

IAEE proudly announces this year’s recipients of its individual awards program, which recognizes IAEE members and member companies who have made outstanding contributions to the exhibitions and events industry. We want to again recognize and congratulate the strong female leaders that are part of that group.

Congratulations to IAEE’s New CEM-APs!

Women continue to push the bar in our industry. IAEE held its first CEM-AP program in late spring, and some of the first to receive this prestigious certification are WOMEN! We want to congratulate these women on their continued commitment to furthering their professional careers.

Congratulations to the 2019 Women’s Leadership Committee

  • Chairperson: Ann Olson, CEM, GES;
  • Immediate Past-Chairperson: Julia Slocombe, SmartCity Networks;
  • Irene Angelos, IMN Solutions;
  • Dawn Archambault-Perry, Freeman;
  • Deanna Burgess, CMP, CEM, CRME, Station Casinos/Palace Station;
  • Noreen Burke, CEM, Corcoran Expositions Inc;
  • Julie Cerza, CEM, Nations Best Sports;
  • Jaclyn Halu, CMP, Las Vegas Expo;
  • Stacey Knoppel, CTA, Walter E Washington Convention Center;
  • Carol Motley, Destination DC;
  • Julie Nelson, CEM, Convention Data Services;
  • Shauna Peters, CEM, mdg;
  • Melissa Peticolas, Vista Convention Services;
  • Pennie Stathes, CEM, US Poultry and Egg Association;
  • Necoya Tyson, CEM-AP, CGMP, Traffic Safety Services Association;
  • Angi Van Berg, CEM, Louisville Convention & Visitor’s Bureau;
  • Devon Whitaker, Philadelphia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (SMG);
  • Board Liaison: Justine McVaney, National Association of Broadcasters; and
  • Ex-Officio Member: Tom Cindric, Jr., CEM, Winsight Exhibitions.


IAEE Woman of Achievement Award 

Who will be this year’s Woman of Achievement?
The 2019 IAEE Woman of Achievement Award was presented during the signature Women’s Leadership Forum. Nominations closed on 28 February 2019. Congratulations to Julie Pazina, CEM, National Director of Sales at Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services!

Nominations are now being accepted for the Women of Achievement Award through 28 February 2020. Click here to learn more.

Women’s Leadership Experient Experience during Expo! Expo! Recap

For the second year in a row, the Women’s Leadership Expo! Expo Experience was held on Tuesday, 11 December!

Over 125 women, all career levels, came together to discuss timely topics including the challenges women experience while advancing their careers, as well as strategies for women to implement to get beyond those challenges while balancing their lives along the way.

Special thanks to Nancy DeBrosse, Senior VP Strategic Account Management and Robin Murphy, Strategic Sales Executive of Experient for serving as the emcees of the event and to our moderator and panelists:

Special thanks to Experient for their continued partnership with IAEE on the Women’s Initiative!



The Women’s Leadership Forum in India Held It’s 2nd Annual Program in March


Each year, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) recognizes and awards professionals in the exhibitions and events industry for their contributions.  All awards programs are designed to recognize professionals who have made outstanding contributions, forged new ground, made a difference and deserves the spotlight.

Congratulations to Julie Pazina, CEM – IAEE Woman of Achievement Award Recipient!

The IAEE Woman of Achievement Award was presented at this year’s 2019 Women’s Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. to Julie Pazina, CEM, National Director of Sales at Edlen Electrical Exhibition Services. IAEE’s Woman of Achievement Award recognizes one woman each year who has exhibited outstanding leadership and has made significant contributions to the industry and her community. IAEE congratulates Julie on this great accomplishment!

Congratulations to the 2019 Helen Brett Scholarship Recipients

Stephanie Bias

Stephanie Bias is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Event Management at Iowa State University. Stephanie chose to pursue a career in events because she observed various opportunities for personal and professional growth in this diverse, competitive industry. Stephanie is specifically interested in the design of exhibitions, weddings and food festivals.

“I like that the execution of an event requires the balance of many different facets such as marketing, project management, vendor relations, human resource management and event design,” Stephanie explained. “I know that this career will challenge me to explore my different interests and refine my skills.”

Stephanie has always believed that events are catalysts for change. She first became interested in event planning when she designed an award show in high school for the yearbook’s superlative winners. After her idea was approved, she was given the opportunity to design and direct the show. Even after Stephanie’s graduation in 2016, the award show remains a highly-anticipated annual school tradition.

While Stephanie has designed various events, her interest in exhibitions was sparked by a recent opportunity to work at a bridal exhibition in Des Moines, Iowa.

“This was my first industry experience with exhibitions and I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with vendors and directing guests,” Stephanie said. “I observed that both suppliers and consumers left the exhibition with new industry contacts, sales, services, and ideas.”

Stephanie’s interests in events also translates to her academic pursuits, and she is enrolled in the University’s Honors Program where she conducts research on vegan food festivals. She also serves as the President of the Ethical Eating Club, and her responsibilities include organizing bi-monthly meetings, fundraising events, and activism opportunities.

Stephanie will graduate in May of 2020 from Iowa State University. After graduation, Stephanie plans to pursue a career in bridal exhibitions, and in the future, hopes to launch an event venue business with her family. Stephanie is also interested in pursuing a Master’s degree in either Project Management or Business Administration.

“It’s human nature to celebrate, and I love that events bring people together in such a special way,” Stephanie said. “I am excited to enter this fast-paced industry, and I would like to thank IAEE for supporting my academic pursuits with this fantastic scholarship opportunity.”

Danielle Elliott

Danielle is a sophomore pursuing a degree in Event Management with minors in Business and Journalism at Iowa State University. Once Danielle learned about the career possibility of being an Event Planner, she knew it was the perfect fit for her. She has always been a well-organized person who loves to use her creative and time management skills.

At Iowa State, Danielle is a member of the Event Management Club on campus as the Fundraising Chair. She is also on the committee responsible for planning the first Event Management Industry Meet and Greet for all students interested in being connected to employers in that industry. Danielle is a member of the Winterfest Executive Team as the Event Coordinator. She and the other committee members plan one of the largest events on campus: a free, family-friendly holiday celebration the Friday before dead week in the fall semester.

Other organizations Danielle is a part of include ISU’s Dance Marathon for the Children’s Miracle Network and a college ministry group called Kairos. She has found ways within both of those organizations to use her event planning skills and help prepare herself for the future as she also makes a difference for others in her community.

During the spring 2019 semester, Danielle had an internship at the Boone County Chamber of Commerce where she was able to get some real first-hand event experience. From local community events to advertising for the local tourism, Danielle was a great addition to the chamber. She broadened her skill set and was able to stay on part-time over the summer. This fall she will be working as an intern for Iowa State’s Athletic Department in the Events Department. Danielle will help with game-day set-up, operations, and tear-down for all of the Cyclone’s home football games.

After Danielle graduates in December of 2021, she hopes to pursue a career in either the sports and entertainment or the non-profit side of the events industry. “I hope I am able to make a difference wherever I end up with the events I am able to help put together. Helen Brett is a great role model as a young woman starting her career. I feel so honored to have received this scholarship award in her name.”

Rita Ellis

Rita Ellis is an Event Management major at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. She has a passion for creating, producing, and managing events and is greatly looking forward to working in the exhibitions and events industry. Her dream is to become an event planner, or planner/manager of conventions, exhibitions and tradeshows. Ever since Rita was a young girl, she has had a passion for executing events that create memories to last a lifetime. She believes that one thing we all have in common regardless of our background is the pursuit of happiness and that it is the common thread that binds us all together. Rita’s passion for events sprouted from her volunteer work at Maureen’s Haven Homeless Shelter. She has been volunteering at the shelter for seven years and describes the satisfaction from planning and coordinating themed events as unequalled.

Rita is enrolled in the Honors Program and Accelerated Degree program and has maintained a 4.0 GPA thus far at Johnson & Wales University. She is an active member of the Live Events Association, the student-run International Exhibitions & Events Club, as well as the Student Advisory Council for the College of Hospitality Management. Rita continues to give back to her community through her work with charitable events, such as Gloria Gemma’s “Flames of Hope,” an annual fundraiser in Providence, Rhode Island. This October will be Rita’s third year working to host “Taste of Hope”, a specialty food and wine event for Breast Cancer patients, survivors, and all supporters. She says “It is the best of both worlds because I am helping plan and execute an amazing event that simultaneously raises money for a charitable organization. This real-life, hands-on experience will build my knowledge in the exhibitions and events industry.” She feels strongly that any act of kindness is what makes the world a better place.

I wish to follow in Helen Brett’s footsteps and create opportunities for emerging relationships of integrity and trust between customers and exhibitors. I aspire to be like Helen Brett throughout my career. It is a true inspiration the way she was able to turn a random act of kindness into a lifelong legacy of success and development in the exhibitions and events industry. Rita says, “Thank you to the Helen Brett Scholarship Committee for awarding me with this scholarship. I am truly humbled and grateful.”

Lily Sweet King

Lily Sweet King is a rising sophomore at the University of Mississippi in Oxford majoring in Hospitality Management and Integrated Marketing Communications, with minors in Business Administration and Digital Design. She is exploring event planning and sports marketing as a possible career path.

Lily Sweet is involved in several campus activities including Cru, Pi Beta Phi sorority, and volunteering each week at a local elementary school reading to first graders. She also volunteers with local event planning companies to gain experience in the field. This fall, she is working with the Chancellor’s Office to host The Longest Table on the Grove to celebrate Ole Miss’ amazing diversity of talent, ethnicity, religion, geography, and intellect on campus. She created and hosted the event at her high school in Tallahassee, Florida, and it continues today. The Longest Table at Ole Miss will be the first event of its kind on a college campus.

When she is not studying or volunteering, Lily Sweet enjoys following Ole Miss sports and Alabama football.

Madelyn McGeary

Madelyn (Maddie) McGeary returns to the Hart School of Hospitality Management at James Madison University (JMU) this fall as a senior.

Her interest in the hospitality industry is multi-faceted, as is her industry experience.  A product of the events business, she grew up with a grandmother and mom deeply steeped in corporate events and community affairs.  She has often remarked that when her grade school friends were cheering because they were getting out of class early so that the parents could decorate the gym for the annual fundraising gala, she was cheering because she knew her mom was part of the planning committee and that she could go down and help with the preparations.  Like her mom and her grandmother, she loves to create experiences for people.  The beauty of the exhibitions/events industry, for someone like Maddie, is that the planning and execution of each event incorporates all aspects of the hospitality industry. Today’s tradeshow or event attendees are most inspired or motivated by the show’s culture and offer of what the show will do for them.

In college, at JMU, she jumped right into sorority life as a Kappa Alpha Theta and shortly thereafter joined PCMA for inclusion in activities relating to my hospitality major. As a sophomore, she served as the head of Philanthropy for Theta, liaising between the sorority and their chosen non-profit (Court Appointed Child Advocates-CASA) and planning events to financially support the organization. In the fall of sophomore year, Maddie was awarded a scholarship that included paid attendance to the PCMA convening leaders conference in Nashville, TN, and was Chair of the PCMA Leadership Conference on JMU’s campus, overseeing a committee of 8 organizers.

In her Junior year, she served as Chief Administrative Officer for Theta, in charge of planning officer transitions and the on-campus leadership meeting, as well as the travel and schedule of visiting Theta advisors to the campus. Attempting to round out her event knowledge, she accepted a 3-month internship at The Hotel Madison where she prepared a sales and marketing analysis of competing area hotels, assisted with banquets and gained insight into “back of house” operations. Again, awarded the PCMA scholarship, she traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, for that year’s Convening Leaders Conference. This summer she took an internship at Union Square Events in New York City, assisting with the planning and implementation of their events throughout the city.

In her senior year, she will eagerly take on the position of President of PCMA at JMU.

Kimberly Schmerbach

Kimberly is a rising senior at Iowa State University studying Event Management with a minor in business. She worked as an Event Operations Intern at the Des Moines Marriott Downtown this summer and received multiple awards, such as the Daymaker Award and Artist of the Week. During her time at Marriott, she worked quite a few exhibitions and had a chance to experience what it takes to plan them. During the school year, Kimberly will be working for the Iowa State Center as a Conference Services Intern planning a variety of events throughout the next two semesters. She is excited to be starting her senior year at Iowa State as the president of the Event Management Club. She is also looking forward to being a founding member of Iowa State’s PCMA chapter. Throughout her time at Iowa State, Kimberly has been grateful for the opportunities she has been given to further her education and experience in the events industry.

“It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I discovered my passion for the events industry. I was on the planning committee for our high school’s Dance Marathon, and it was through this event that I realized what my true passion and skills were. I enjoyed all the details and organization that came along with planning the event, and I also realized how rewarding of a field events is since you are able to make such a big impact on some many people.”

As mentioned, Kimberly is entering her last year at Iowa State University and will be graduating in May of 2020. She has accepted a job with Marriott as an Event Operations Voyager which is a global leadership development program. She is very thankful to have received the Helen Brett Scholarship and is grateful for the tuition assistance and opportunities to become more involved with IAEE.

Kateryna Serhiyenko

Kateryna is a senior obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Event Management at the University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management. She got her first degree in International Economy at Kyiv National Economic University in 2018. Being an international student from Ukraine, Kateryna came to one of the most significant hospitality cities in the U.S., Orlando, two years ago and absolutely loved it.

She’s currently working as an Event Manager at the University of Central Florida Student Union where she oversees over 100 employees of a setup crew. While working there, she obtained the 1st rank in a work competition for bringing new ideas concerning communication between departments and improving team building activities. She’s also working as a Sales Intern at MasterCorp Inc. Kateryna enjoys being emerged into a high-pasted environment and solve challenges during events.

Kateryna is a mentor in the Rosen College Peer Outreach Mentorship Program, a Dean’s Student Ambassador in the Rosen College Leadership Council and a member of SKAL, IAEE, MPI Knights/Orlando where she serves on the Educational and Special Events Committees. Within the Rosen College Leadership Council, Kateryna founded an “International Chat” event which she facilitates every semester to assist and further the experience of Rosen College international students. Kateryna has involved herself in many enriching extra-curricular activities all while maintaining an exceptionally high GPA (3.98).

Kateryna is graduating in May 2020 and plans to work as a show manager at a trade show as well as explore innovational technologies that can be implemented in this industry. Later on, she would like to explore different positions within trade show departments so that she can open her own trade show company in the future. She is very grateful for receiving the Helen Brett Scholarship this year, as well as an opportunity to attend the trade show.


Congratulations to the 2019 Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund Grant Recipients

bdef-logo_orange-bulb_vertThe mission of the Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund (BDEF) is to support exhibition and event industry education and professional development by providing a challenging and engaging educational experience. The fund is designed for young professionals, professionals new to the exhibitions and events industry, those that are intellectually curious about trends and opportunities, and those that are interested in learning about the global marketplace.


Racquel Codling, CMP
Director of Meetings & Sales
American Moving & Storage Association

“As a 2019 scholarship award recipient of the IAEE Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund, I will be able to quickly acquire my CEM in an effort to obtain the necessary knowledge, foundation and the highest professional standard in exhibitions management. The CEM designation is critically important for my professional development and growth in the exhibitions and events management industry.”

Elizabeth George
Manager, Customer & Audience Solutions
Informa Markets

“I am honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the 2019 Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund. I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the Krakoff Leadership Institute (KLI) in August to focus on my personal and professional development, develop leadership skills and to continue to discover more about our extensive industry. I’d like to thank IAEE and for all those who support the fund in providing this opportunity for me as a young professional member of IAEE.”

Brittany Peck
Training Events Specialist
Shared Hope International

“I’m honored to have received the IAEE Bob Dallmeyer Education Fund Grant to continue my professional education in event management through the Certified in Exhibition Management® (CEM) designation program. I am actively applying what I’ve learned in the CEM courses to my non-profit work every day. With this education, I am strengthening our programming to better support our organization’s cause.”

Congratulations to Carol Fojtik, CEM – Pinnacle Award Recipient!

The Pinnacle Award recognizes an IAEE member who, over the years, has furthered IAEE’s objectives of advancing exhibitions and events management through the promotion of education, the dissemination of knowledge and the introduction or development of innovative techniques, and who has been dedicated to the perpetuation of the highest ideals, trust and professionalism in this highly specialized field. The award was established in memory of the late Founder and Past President of IAEE (formerly NAEM) William Hunt Eisenman, and is presented by IAEE in recognition of extraordinary achievement in the exhibitions and events management field.

This year’s honoree is Carol Fojtik, CEM, Senior Vice President, Hall-Erickson, Inc. Fojtik joined the industry by starting at a trade show management company owned by Martin C. Dwyer. As a show manager, she worked on such shows as “Nefta-gaz” in Moscow and CONEXPO, among others. For 17 years, she worked and developed her skills under the leadership of Dwyer. When the company sold, she took the experiences and knowledge she had gained with her to Hall-Erickson, Inc.

Fojtik worked with Hub Erickson as a Show Director on such shows as “Automechanika” serving the automotive industry located in Frankfurt, Germany. It was in 1984 that she really opened new ground for women in trade shows when she managed the U.S. Pavilion at “Automechanika” at a time when there were very few women managing trade shows overseas. Fojtik had one of the biggest U.S. Pavilions, which resulted in her co-authoring a book called Marketing by Exhibiting in the Global Market.

Together with creative talents of Exhibitor Magazine, Fojtik helped launch one of the trade show industry’s most exciting trade shows, “The Exhibitor Show” now known as “EXHIBITORLIVE.”  The first show was launched in 1989 with 75 exhibitors that occupied 14,000 net square feet of exhibit space. Under her direction, the show has grown to almost 300 exhibitors occupying over 60,000 net square feet of exhibit space. For almost 30 years she has led the team to produce an exciting and successful event.

Fojtik also was recommended to the National Mining Association to manage and direct the world’s largest mining equipment show called “MINEXPO” in Las Vegas. With over 1,200 exhibitors and occupying over a million net square feet of exhibit space, Fojtik again broke new ground as the first female to manage that major trade show.

Fojtik has been a loyal IAEE member since 1985, serving on various committees on both the national and local levels. Many of IAEE’s programs boast her contributions and dedication to serving IAEE’s membership and objectives. She is known for her generous mentorship and has helped shape many of today’s well-known industry leaders. Across the industry, Fojtik is well known for her expertise in the management of trade shows, making her a regular presenter in the U.S. and abroad. The indelible mark that Fojtik has made on IAEE as an organization, and the overall exhibitions and events industry, embodies the spirit and significance of the IAEE Pinnacle Award.

Past recipients of the IAEE Woman of Achievement Award:

2017 Woman of Achievement
Megan Tanel, CEM


2016 Woman of Achievement
Jackie Russo


2015 Woman of Achievement
Karen Chupka


2014 Woman of Achievement
Julie Smith, CEM, CTA



Congratulations to the 2018 Helen Brett Scholarship Recipients

Courtney Daniels

Courtney Daniels is a sophomore studying Sports Entertainment and Event Management at Johnson & Wales University (JWU). From a young age, Daniels had a fascination with the planning and execution of all types of events. She competitively figure-skated starting at the age of eight and in August 2017 she achieved the United States Figure Skating Association’s double gold medalist status, the highest level in figure skating. Daniels spent most of her summers prior to this intensely training at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid, N.Y.

“It’s important to note that figure skating has had a huge impact on my life as it took up much of my free time and required a great deal of dedication. This accomplishment not only required constant dedication and perseverance through difficult challenges, but showed me the meaning of hard work and the rewards that come with it,” said Daniels. “I have overcome many physical and mental obstacles from this sport and become a much stronger person as a result.”

Daniels’ goal this year is to broaden her knowledge within the field of event management by maintaining her 4.0 GPA at JWU, and working with both corporate and non-profit organizations to gain invaluable experience.

Rita Ellis

Rita Ellis is a rising sophomore specializing in Event Management within the Sports, Entertainment, and Event Management major at Johnson & Wales University. She is enrolled in the Honors Program and SHARP (Special Honors and Rewards Program), and thoroughly enjoys the education and hands-on experience she is receiving at JWU. She consistently volunteers for events in the New England area in addition to serving on the executive board of the Live Events Association as Director of Membership. Ellis is also an active member of the Student Advisory Council for the College of Hospitality Management.

Ellis wishes to follow in Helen Brett’s footsteps and have a random act of kindness spiral into a lifelong legacy of success and advancement in the exhibitions and events industry. She is extremely grateful and appreciative for receiving this scholarship, and is confident that this award is a big stepping stone toward her future goals.

“I realize that through my own drive and determination I can make big accomplishments,” said Ellis. “I thank the Helen Brett Scholarship Foundation for its assistance in not only paying for my education, but for opening my eyes to all the exhibitions and events industry has to offer.”

Thanh Vo

Thanh Vo is an international student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In the Fall of 2015, she came to the United States as an exchange student from the University of West Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Media Production and Management. She recently started a new major and is pursuing her Applied Associate Degree in Science in Hospitality, Exhibition, and Event Management at Richland College. Vo has produced various events for her school and participates in many clubs and activities, including the HEEM (Hospitality, Exhibitions & Events Management) Club and the HEEM Scholarship and Silent Auction. She served as the Social Media Student Chair in 2017 and 2018.

Vo also participates as a student leader with two honor society groups. She is the Chapter President of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and Vice President of Scholarship of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). Her responsibilities with NSCS and PTK are organizing chapter/officer meetings, facilitating the growth of the chapter to platinum status, and planning a new member induction ceremony for more than 200 honors students.

Vo will be graduating in May of 2019 from Richland College and plans to transfer to The University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) to obtain a double major in Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, Concentration in Meetings and Trade Shows and Bachelor of Science in Business Administrative, International Business.