by Michael J. Shapiro | December 04, 2013
The Professional Convention Management Association released its first-ever "20 in Their Twenties" list on Tuesday, acknowledging young professionals who are making a mark in the meetings industry. "Too often great leadership isn't recognized until the latter portion of careers," said PCMA president and CEO Deborah Sexton, who added that the list "allowed PCMA to engage and acknowledge a talented group of young professionals for their skills and provide incentive for them to lead our industry into the future." A task force of industry veterans and emerging leaders named the winners, who will receive complimentary PCMA membership for 2014, complimentary registration for the 2014 Convening Leaders and Education Conference, $1,500 for travel expenses and discounted registration for the annual conference, and PCMA membership until they turn 30. The inaugural list of winners are Ryan Barth, sales manager, Visit Indy; Yasha Bergmann, project manager, uba GmbH; Casey Carignan, meetings and events coordinator, Iia Sophia; Yih-Hsiang (Shawn) Cheng, team lead, Tourism Vancouver; Katie Dolan, convention services manager, Ottawa Tourism; Vivian Fleet, sustainability officer, Metro Toronto Convention Centre; Rosa Garriga Mora, meeting designer and ROI consultant (independent contractor);  Mindy Halpert, conference manager, the Consortium for School Networking; Rick Hyland, exhibitor services supervisor, Orange County Convention Center; Alexis Kereluk, manager, association relations, MCI Canada; Sam McNeill, creative director, Song Division; Elisa Sandoval, sales manager, Hotel Nikko San Francisco; Astrid Schrier, CMP, meeting manager, Association Headquarters; Kathleen Smith, marketing manager, Etech Events; Megan Tate, manager, event, meeting and travel management, Petco Animal Supplies; Marcela Torres, CIS, meeting and events director, Mexico City CVB; David Wagner, meetings manager, Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf; Rachel Walsh, director of meetings, Sentergroup; Alleeshia Williams, coordinator, meetings and business partnerships, Institute of Food Technologists; and Leslie Wong, CMP, creative account manager, Blueprint Studios.