Meeting Professionals International Announces 2014 RISE Award Recipients

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DALLAS, May 12, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is proud to announce the winners of the 2014 Recognizing Industry Success and Excellence (RISE) Awards. The recipients have been selected for exceptional achievements in leadership, community and organizational initiatives, and will be honored at the annual RISE Awards presentation and luncheon on August 3, 2014, during MPI's World Education Congress (WEC) in Minneapolis.

The RISE Awards include annual awards in three categories: individual achievement, community achievement and organizational achievement. Recipients are recognized for innovation, global transferability, impact and influence within the meeting and event industry.

"The 2014 RISE Awards recipients all demonstrate how one can create life changing results for individuals and businesses by simply identifying a need and focusing their efforts. By being strategic in our actions like these exemplary leaders, we can all influence and make an impact within our industry," said John Ehlenfeldt, CMP, chair of the RISE Awards Judging Panel.

The RISE Award for Young Professional Achievement will be presented to Jenn Wheaton of Sacramento, Calif., for her strategic use of technology and social media to help the bed and breakfast industry in California embrace the new generation of travelers. As a program coordinator for the California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns (CABBI), she provides training to members on how to use new marketing channels to reach younger audiences and has updated the organization's website as well as increased their use of social media. Wheaton has also leveraged her marketing and web development talents to improve the MPI Sacramento/Sierra Nevada Chapter's website, newsletter and member directory.

The RISE Award for Meeting Industry Leadership will be presented to Silke Fleischer of Santa Rosa, Calif., for her innovation in helping produce sustainable meetings. Shortly after co-founding ATIV Software in 2010, she launched the EventPilot mobile app to fulfill a vision to reduce the amount of paper used and discarded at conferences and events. The app gives event organizers a platform to share conference materials without the need for paper or a Wi-Fi connection. In addition, Fleischer developed a unique environmental cost savings calculator to help meeting professionals and organizations realize the impact of hosting a paperless conference. As an avid supporter of green initiatives, she previously served on the Green Meetings Industry Council Education Committee and has presented at several industry conferences, contributed to news articles and participated in media interviews about the benefits of going paperless.

The RISE Award for Member of the Year will be presented to Robyn Mietkiewicz, CMP, CMM of Irvine, Calif., for her volunteer leadership with the MPI Orange County Chapter and international volunteer groups. She previously served as chapter president and had an integral role in the development of the Southern California Industry Summit. Mietkiewicz has also been instrumental in increasing her chapter's student participation by engaging with the local colleges and universities. One of her most successful initiatives was in the co-creation of the MPI Orange County Chapter Advisory Council, which provides rich dialogue and insight from a diverse group of members for enhancing the chapter's education and networking opportunities. Mietkiewicz currently serves on the global Professional Development Advisory Council.

The RISE Award for Community Achievement in Knowledge and Ideas will be presented to the MPI Chicago Area Chapter for its annual Technology Conference (TechCon), which began in 2010. Created to meet the increasing demand for technology-specific education as it relates to the meeting and event industry, the conference provides helpful information for suppliers and planners on how technology can solve common challenges such as sales leads, event marketing and audio-visual needs. In 2013, TechCon held the first industry "Hackathon" – bringing together computer programmers and software development experts to collaborate on building new solutions for the meeting and event community.

The RISE Award for Community Achievement in Marketplace Excellence will be presented to the MPI Rocky Mountain Chapter for their annual program, Backpacks to Briefcases (B2B). The program connects college students with meeting professionals for personal and professional growth through education, mentorship, internship opportunities and networking. Offered annually since 2007, the program also serves as a recruiting platform for local companies to meet with students already engaged in the MPI network.

The RISE Award for Organizational Achievement will be presented to LPL Financial for its strategic and successful use of multiple conferences to roll out its new corporate theme of a "Smarter, Simpler, More Personal LPL" for its advisors, clients and employees. The company surveyed stakeholders to help develop relevant content for its large conference, focus13. Also, executives were involved in the design of the conference to ensure alignment with business objectives and key messaging. Post-conference survey results from attendees – including financial advisors, sponsors and employees – were overwhelmingly positive, giving the annual conference some of the highest ratings in the 25-year history of the event.

The RISE Award presentation will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. on August 3 during MPI's WEC event at the Minneapolis Convention Center. For more information, please visit

About MPI

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) is the largest and most vibrant global meeting and event industry association. The organization provides innovative and relevant education, networking opportunities and business exchanges, and acts as a prominent voice for the promotion and growth of the industry. MPI membership is comprised of approximately 20,000 members belonging to 71 chapters and clubs worldwide. For additional information or to join, visit

CONTACT: Sonya Thorpe Cobb

Source: Meeting Professionals International