by Matt Alderton | June 23, 2015
Meeting Professionals International (MPI) has chosen the 2015 recipients of its annual Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence (RISE) Awards, it announced yesterday.

The RISE Awards, which include awards in three categories -- individual achievement, community achievement, and organizational achievement -- are given to meetings industry recipients in recognition of their innovation, global transferability, impact, and influence.

This year's RISE Awards -- which will be presented on Aug. 3, 2015, during MPI's World Education Congress (WEC) in San Francisco -- will be given to the following six recipients:

• Kinga Socko of Poland will receive the RISE Award for Young Professional for her contributions to MPI and the meeting and event industry. She had a significant role in the development of the Poland Meetings and Events Industry Report, which is used to prepare national and city budgets and influences business tourism in Poland, and also played a key part in the country's DMAI accreditation process, which resulted in Poland becoming one of only three European destinations that is fully accredited with Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI).
• David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, will receive the RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership for his role in the fight to end human trafficking; Maritz Travel was one of the first travel companies to partner with ECPAT International, signing ECPAT-USA's Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct.
• Tara Liaschenko of St. Petersburg, FL, will receive the RISE Award for Member of the Year for her volunteer leadership with the MPI Tampa Bay Area Chapter, as well as other MPI chapters. She previously served as chapter president and currently serves as a member on the global MPI WEC Proposal Review Task Force.
• The Meeting Industry Council of Colorado (MIC) will receive the RISE Award for Community Achievement in Knowledge and Ideas for its MIC Educational Conference and Tradeshow, which this year celebrated its 15th anniversary and since 2001 has doubled in attendance.
• The MPI Potomac Chapter will receive the RISE Award for Community Achievement in Marketplace Excellence for its annual Flipped Marketplace program. Held at its Mid-Atlantic Conference and Expo (MACE), the program utilizes the reverse trade show format to match planners to the appropriate meeting suppliers and helps create additional membership opportunities, generating engagement from non-members throughout the region.

• The Builders Association of the Twin Cities will receive the RISE Award for Organizational Achievement for its refined strategy on the use of meetings and events to support its strategic goals while producing fewer, yet better, events. Each of the association's events was assessed against a matrix of criteria -- including attendee reach, member value, profitability, and staff time -- in order to identify those that could be phased out, combined, or improved to increase value to members.

Said John Ehlenfeldt, chair of the RISE Awards Judging Panel, "The 2015 RISE Awards recipients have all demonstrated how one individual or organization can create industry changing results for chapters or businesses by identifying a specific need and focusing their skillset on those efforts. The strategic initiatives of these exemplary leaders will influence industry professionals to strive to make an impact within the meeting and event industry."

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