If you follow the Association for Women in Events’ social media feeds, you might have seen the July 30 announcement on Facebook Live of this year’s AWE Hall of Fame recognition program. Founded in 2015 to focus on gender equality and diversity in the events industry, AWE acknowledged five industry professionals for their achievements in one of five categories: Trailblazer, Coach, Woman of Influence, Emerging Leader, and Organizational Leader.
Winners are given a lifetime membership in AWE and are offered flights and accommodations at IMEX America, where there is a reception in their honor. "It is important that we continue to recognize the leaders blazing the trail for women, diversity, and inclusion," said AWE Awards Committee Chair Michael Fuller, co-founder and president of Event Waves.
This year’s AWE Hall of Fame inductees are:
• Brad Weaber (Trailblazer) is the founder and principal of the Brad Weaber Consulting Group, a firm focused on professional board and panel facilitation as well as management efficiencies and event strategy review. Weaber's previously served as COO for Connections Housing, a provider of event and housing management for large events in North America. Weaber is active with ASAE, IAEE and PCMA
• Stacey Thorp (Emerging Leader) is executive director of conferences & events at Freeman, specializes in creating brand experiences to bring clients’ marketing goals to life.
• Sharon Bonner (Coach) is founder and CEO of Bright Ideas Events Ltd. AWE calls her “an industry pioneer full of ideas, who forged her way independently through the event business during the 1980s.” Now, after a career spanning some 3,000 events, Bright Ideas Events has earned 19 industry awards and 32 nominations for its work.
• Marin Bright (Woman of Influence) is the founder and CEO of Smart Meetings, directing its magazine, digital operations, events, and site-selector business. In addition to AWE’s recognition, Bright has earned the PCMA Legend Award for significant contributions to the meetings industry.
• KiKi L'Italien (Organizational Leader) is CEO of Amplified Growth and chief growth officer and host of Association Chat, which helps people connect with each other to build communities and ideas. Among L'Italien’s recent interests is research into the science of community and the role of trust.