Joan Eisenstodt Receives Top Meetings Industry Honor

During its 30th annual conference last week in Leesburg, Va., the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) presented meetings industry veteran Joan Eisenstodt with its highest honor, the Mel Hosansky Award for Distinguished Service, it announced this week.

A longtime meetings industry consultant, trainer and facilitator — and chief strategist at Eisenstodt Associates LLC, her Washington, D.C.-based conference consulting firm — Eisenstodt is the first non-member of IACC to receive the award since its namesake, Mel Hosansky, a longtime editor of Meetings & Conventions and Successful Meetings magazines.

Originally called the Distinguished Service Award, the annual honor — which recognizes the individual "who has given the most to IACC and the conference center industry" — was renamed in 1990 when Hosansky, the award's first recipient when it was created in 1985, died. Eisenstodt — who holds the record for having facilitated, moderated or presented at 10 annual conferences and other IACC events — was a good friend of Hosansky's.

"This is the ultimate," Eisenstodt said. "Particularly since it's named for somebody who had more integrity than anyone I've known in hospitality. I see the award as reflective of Mel's value and contributions to this industry segment, and that's particularly meaningful to me."

This is just the latest award of many for Eisenstodt. She also was inducted into the Convention Industry Council's Hall of Fame, was recognized by the PCMA Education Foundation for Lifetime Achievement and was the 2002 recipient of the Pyramid Award for sustained contributions to IACC education.