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From left, Anita Pires; John H. Graham IV, CAE; and Jonathan Howe Esq.

EIC Lauds Lifetime Achievement, Social Impact

Events Industry Council has announced its 2020 Hall of Leaders members and recognized social-issue leadership around the country.

The Events Industry Council has announced the latest Hall of Leaders honorees and, new this year, its Social Impact Award recipients.

The class of 2020 Hall of Leaders inductees are John H. Graham IV, CAE; Anita Pires; and Jonathan Howe Esq. Recognized for their lifetime achievement in the meetings and events industry, they join 137 other individuals named to the HOL since it began in 1985.

Graham, the long-time president and CEO of the American Society of Association Executives, was honored posthumously. He passed away in January 2020, after leading ASAE for 16 years. During his time with the association about associations, Graham doubled its membership and earned the Association Executive of the Year Award from Association Trends, among other honors.

Pires is president of Pires Destinations & Events Intelligence based in Coqueiros, Brazil. She was nominated for the honor by the Federation of Congress Organizers and Allied Organizations of Latin America (COCAL) where she served as director. Among other honors, Pires received the Unity Award from the Joint Meetings Industry Council in 2016.

Howe, president & senior partner at Howe & Hutton, Ltd. in Chicago, has long specialized in the legal issues facing not-for-profit organizations and the meetings, travel, incentive, hotel, and trade-show industries. He is the general counsel for Meeting Professionals International, which nominated him for the award. As a speaker and author, Howe has shared his legal knowledge widely for more than 30 years.

In 2020, EIC introduced its Social Impact Awards recognizing individuals or organizations for extraordinary effort in the areas of diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility in the global events industry:

EIC Social Impact Award: Individual
Latoya Lewis, founder & executive director of EnventU, a meeting and events program for teens in Washington, D.C.

EIC Social Impact Award: Organization
The Above and Beyond Foundation, which provides grants to individuals in the hospitality industry

EIC Social Impact Award: Leading in Times of Crisis
Black Tourism and DMO Leaders. Twenty individuals share this recognition:
• Cleo Battle, CDME, CTA, COO, Louisville Tourism
• Timothy Bush, CDME, TMP, chief tourism development officer, OneSpartanburg, Inc.
• Julie Coker, president & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
• Gregory DeShields, CHE, CDE, executive director, PHL Diversity
• Jason Dunn, Sr., CTA, immediate past chairman, National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals, and group vice president, diversity, equity & inclusion, Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau
• Lorne Edwards, senior vice president, sales & services, Visit Phoenix
• Elliott Ferguson, president & CEO, Destination DC
• Darren Green, senior vice president, sales, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
• Michael Gunn, CMP, CFMP, senior vice president, convention sales, Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau
• Al Hutchinson, president & CEO, Visit Baltimore
• Charles Jeffers, COO, Visit Baltimore
• James Jessie, chief sales officer, Travel Portland
• Connie Kinnard, vice president, of multicultural tourism & development, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
• Robin McClain, senior vice president, marketing & communications, Destination DC
• Angela Nelson, CTA, vice president, multicultural business development, Experience Grand Rapids
• Marie Sueing, senior vice president, diversity and inclusion, Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau
• Melvin Tennant, CAE, president & CEO, Meet Minneapolis
• Rickey Thigpen, MSL, president & CEO, Visit Jackson
• Dan Williams, CTA, vice president, convention sales, Experience Columbus
• Ernest Wooden, Jr., former president and CEO, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Hall of Leaders inductees and Social Impact Award recipients will be celebrated at a virtual event on March 25.

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