• ESPA Recognizes Event Services Star

    POSTED February 8, 2018

The Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA) bestowed Doris Sims, Vice President of Destination Services, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the 2017 Executive Excellence Award for her commitment and dedication to the profession of event services. The event took place during “Rockin’ Nashville,” the association’s annual conference at the Sheraton Grand Nashville Downtown.

The Executive Excellence Award is meant to honor a person for their contribution to the profession of event services and their leadership abilities. Recipients are nominated by their service team and must demonstrate quality assurance, as well as support staff development, growth and continuing education.

“We’re thrilled to name Doris Sims as our Executive Excellence winner for 2017,” said Amy Cabe, president of ESPA. “She exemplifies the outstanding service, teamwork and leadership that we all strive to attain. She sets an example for the next generation of service professionals.”

Other awards include:

The Meeting Professional of the Year Award recognizes professional’s life work exemplifies the characteristics required to spearhead a team and create a supportive event services profession. Linda Finnerty, Director of Meetings and Events, received this year’s award.

The William H. Just, CAE, CMP Memorial Award is given to an ESPA member who has achieved their CMP designation within the last five years and remains in good standing with the association. The award honors the late William Just is given to recipients who incorporate creativity, professionalism and leadership into the profession. This year, the scholarship was awarded to Courtney Hunt, CMP, Destination Service Manager, Visit Baton Rouge.

The Donald S. Freeman Jr. ESPA Conference Scholarship covers the expenses needed to attend the ESPA Conference for a promising student. This year’s recipient was Sydney Bedford, a senior at Texas A&M University, majoring in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences with a concentration in Event and Tourism Management.

The Convention Service Manager of the Year Award is given to those who have exceeded the expectations of meeting planners. Known for their high standards, these industry leaders bestow this honor to thank the recipient for their ability to provide the highest level of service. The winners come from three different branches of the industry—a convention center, a hotel and a convention and visitors bureau. The 2017 CSMs of the Year (in partnership with Successful Meetings) are:

  • Convention Center: Lachelle J. Harrison, CMP, Events Manager, Walter E. Washington Convention Center
  • CVB: Lisa Bethea, CTA, CTIS, Tourism Sales & Convention Services Manager, Frisco Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Hotel: Jennifer Thomsen, CSM, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach

“Event services is more than a job for our award winners,” Cabe said. “It’s a passion that drives them to be the best. We are truly proud to recognize them with ESPA’s highest honors.”

Houston City Council approved the appointment of Brenda Bazan as the new president and CEO of the Houston First Corporation (HFC).

“It’s an honor to be selected by Mayor Turner and confirmed by the city council,” said Bazan.


The Greater St. Charles Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCCVB) has named DeAnn Wagner as Interim Executive Director.

Wagner’s main goal in this interim role is to increase awareness for the greater St. Charles I1 area.

“In the last twelve years, I’ve grown to love this community with its treasure trove of unique meeting spaces, attractions, and events, and I want everyone to experience them,” said Wagner.

Wagner brings more than a decade of experience in the tourism industry to her credit.


The 14-brand-hospitality company, Hilton, recently announced the appointment of Noelle Eder as its executive vice president and chief information and digital officer.

Eder will oversee the continued digital transformation benefiting the guests and team members of Hilton.