The Chapter awarded four members during the February 18 virtual Annual Installation and Awards Banquet.
The event kicked off 2021 for the Chapter with the Induction of the Chapter’s Board Members and then, emceed by André Valk, presented these awards:
Emerging Leader Award – Vicki Baker
This award is for a member within our Chapter who is a rising star within our Chapter and their career. This year’s recipient, Vicki Baker, started her career with Marriott International as a Manager Trainee and has worked her way up to Senior Account Executive, US Account Sales. Once she started to get involved in our Chapter, she has taken on more and more with multiple positions on our Board including Director and Treasurer. Vicki is also the first to step up, without hesitation, to assist with any committee or board member that needs help. She not only helps, but also wants to learn more about the Chapter and our members while she is doing it. As a member of our Executive Board, Vicki is an amazing leader, and we look forward to her continued advancement within our Chapter!
“I am very honored to have been given the Emerging Leader Award. The PCMA Heartland Chapter has so much to offer its members and I look forward to continuing to make this Chapter great!” says Vicki.
Distinguished Meeting Professional of the Year Award – Melissa Whitaker
This award recognizes a planner member who exceeds in their contributions for the Chapter. Melissa didn’t hesitate when we asked her to chair one of our toughest committees, and while she had lots of help, she never wavered in her role and never stopped providing our chapter with amazing programs. Even with a pandemic, which was devastating to our industry and her job as well, Melissa kept going and provided our members with programs month after month. In addition, she has stepped up to serve as a Director on our Board.
Distinguished Supplier Partner of the Year Award – Steve Donlin
This award recognizes a supplier member in our Chapter who excels in their contributions professionally, personally and in their community. Steve continues to step up and do more for our Chapter, both with committees and to benefit the overall Chapter member experience though their company’s continued support. He is a relatively new member to our Chapter, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he has jumped in with both feet!
“Winning the award means a lot because I felt that I was able to step up in the Chapter last year when I saw a need. I was very familiar with virtual events leading into COVID and the program committee was able to lean on me for guidance. In only my first year as a full member of the Chapter, I was excited to contribute right out of the gate,” says Steve.
President’s Award – Ashley Taber
“I have learned a thing or two from my predecessors and one of the most important things I learned is to find people who are passionate and care about the job they do,” explains Sandy Watcher, Chapter President. Ashley has only been with our Chapter for a few years. This year when our whole world changed, we asked more and more of her. Ashley said yes, not because she had to, but because she has a serving heart. “I know I have emailed, texted and called Ashley constantly throughout the year and every time she followed through like a champion,” shares Sandy. Ashley is not recognized nearly enough for all of the work she does for the Heartland Chapter. She is instrumental in keeping our Chapter running smoothly.
“Receiving the President’s Award from Sandy this year was such an honor. I am grateful to be part of this Chapter and be a help when I’m able to. I’m humbled by the acknowledgment and looking forward to a great year with PCMA!” says Ashley.
After the award portion of the evening, John George, International Champion of Magic, provided an exclusive, interactive, award-winning magic show performance, where he took Chapter members on a virtual private tour of his unique performance space complete with secret bookcase entrances and magic words.