PCMA Education Foundation Announces the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Honorees

December 16, 2017

Ray Kopcinski, CMP, Carrie Freeman Parsons and Dr. Godwin Charles Ogbeide, PhD, MBA will be honored at the 2018 Visionary Awards on May 2 at the Marriott Marquis, Washington DC.

More than 1,000 business events industry professionals will gather this spring at the Visionary Awards to honor these luminaries’ extraordinary contributions.

Attendees will experience an Oscars-like evening with red carpet arrival, awards show, and after party, hosted by the PCMA Education Foundation and presented in partnership with Visit Austin and Austin Convention Center.

“We are thrilled to celebrate these three remarkable individuals who have given so much to the business events industry”, said Chair of the Board of Trustees, Phillip J. Jones.

2018 Meeting Professional Honoree: Ray Kopcinski, CMP

Kopcinski has always been a passionate advocate for the globalization of our industry and was an international trailblazer during his 32-year tenure with Million Dollar Round Table(MDRT), and continues to be with his current consultancy, Peak Global Consulting.

His approach is unique in that he embraces differences rather than impose his own beliefs or customs on others. He often speaks at industry events to generously share his experiences and expertise in planning meetings in different countries. He is always willing to support others who are facing similar challenges.

Kopcinski has served PCMA and the business events industry through decades of volunteering, and most recently served as PCMA’s 2015 Chair and 2016 Immediate Past Chair. During his chairmanship, Kopcinski launched PCMA’s future visioning methodology and discovery and helped guide PCMA towards their expanded global strategy. Throughout his inspiring leadership of PCMA, he taught both the board and staff the importance of celebrating the gifts of each individual and the importance of making each member feel valued and special.

Kopcinski is a respected and seasoned meeting professional, but more importantly he is an extraordinary human being. His kindness and thoughtful manner transcends all that he does. His joy of life, climbing, travel and embracing new experiences and cultures is an inspiration to all.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this distinguished award”, Kopcinski said. “I have been extremely fortunate in my life to have had the opportunity to work in and contribute to such a remarkable industry and to meet and get to know such exceptional people that have impacted and changed my life in countless ways. I have truly been blessed.”

2018 Supplier Honoree: Carrie Freeman Parsons

Carrie Freeman Parsons began her career with Freeman immediately after college, working in a branch office and learning the business from the bottom up. Today she is the company’s vice chair, a position she has held since 2008. Freeman Parsons is fondly referred to by employees as the “heart” of Freeman, tireless in her efforts to see the business through the employees’ eyes and works hard to make sure that their views, expectations, challenges and dreams are well represented. She is often thought of as Freeman’s moral compass, and is credited with living the very values that form the foundation of Freeman’s culture.

From 2009 to 2012, Freeman Parsons served on the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) board, chairing the board from 2010-2011. As chair, she collaborated with the President of CEIR, to create PREDICT, the first event to provide a forward-looking view of the industry, based on Index data. Not only this research is essential for effecting industry growth, but the event itself generates positive media coverage that positions our industry among other proactive, data-driven marketing channels. She has also served our industry in volunteer leadership positions for PCMA, IAEM, MPI, Visit Dallas and Winit. Locally in Dallas she serves on the boards of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Women for Girls and The Senior Source.

Freeman Parsons consistently contributes to the industry through her extraordinary personal commitment, supporting individual efforts of other industry leaders, and also throwing her considerable energy and influence behind the initiatives to further their growth and priorities.

She imparts her leadership by defining issues, inspiring proactive leadership trends and ensuring high standards of quality in the service our industry provides. She is generous with her time and energy. Even her twitter posts [@CarrieFParsons] promote the priorities of the industry and encourage professionalism. Freeman Parsons is living proof that culture eats strategy for breakfast, and she has been incredibly influential in converting industry sceptics, including those within her own company.

“I have the privilege of working in one of the most impactful industries in the world,” said Freeman Parsons. “Throughout my career, I have welcomed the opportunity to amplify the impact that meetings and conventions can and should have. Although this award recognizes Lifetime Achievement, I can only hope that my life's work is far from over.”

2018 Educator Honoree: Dr. Godwin Charles Ogbeide, PhD, MBA

Dr. Godwin Charles Ogbeide is a renowned tourism, convention and event management professor, colleague, researcher, and mentor. He currently serves as a faculty member at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, where he doesn't just teach, but creates experiences for his students. Additionally, he is always quick to assist and share his knowledge with colleagues.

Ogbeide is a prolific researcher and has provided much-needed empirical research for the business events industry as well as other aspects of the hospitality industry. His research topics span from Economic Impact of Events & Tourism to Destination Marketing Management and Consumer Loyalty, Complaint Management & Satisfaction, just to name a few.

An active member of the PCMA Faculty Task Force, Ogbeide has served in a volunteer leadership capacity since 2012; including chairing this Task Force in 2014 and contributing to PCMA’sProfessional Meeting Management, [6th Ed]. Furthermore, since 2006 he has invested his volunteer time with both International and Regional Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education.

As a professor and researcher, Ogbeide shapes the industry professionals of tomorrow. He doesn't just teach from the classroom, but actually has his students plan events and interact with the real world and the industry—exemplifying everything an educator in this field should be.

“I am very proud to be a member and an advocate of PCMA and am grateful to be selected for this award," Ogbeide said. “As someone with over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality and tourism field, I have made it my mission to incorporate real life experience, critical thinking skills, decision-making skills, and research findings into my teaching processes to assist in developing my students’ abilities so that they may become society-ready Hospitality and Tourism professionals.”

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