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2020 Professional of the Year

2020 Professional of the Year

2020 Professional of the Year

Each year, Unique Venues members are provided the opportunity to nominate themselves or a colleague in the hospitality industry for the prestigious accolade of Professional of the Year. The Professional of the Year award is announced each October at the Unique Venues Annual Marketing Conference at the conclusion of the Best Of awards presentation ceremony, being the most anticipated award of the year.

Recipients of this award are regarded as distinguished experts in the hospitality industry, and often times leaders in their respective fields - whether an industry planner, venue manager, venue owner, or association representative. Unique Venues uses its platform and network to promote and celebrate the winner’s achievements and accomplishments over the past 12 months, recognizing each winner’s career milestones along the way. Alyson Salem, Unique Venues’ Director of Marketing notes, “It is equally important to shed light on the winner’s future goals and aspirations each year, not just their past accomplishments. The importance of introducing our unique community to new ideas, thought leadership, and goals from one of the most distinguished individuals in our community brings positive momentum, optimism, and opportunity to their peers. Someone reading about our Professional of the Year can be positively impacted or find common ground when it comes to ideas and solutions for a better tomorrow.

Now, more than ever, it is imperative to rally our industry because it has been so severely impacted by COVID-19. Progressive ways of thinking are a large part of what will boost morale and keep our industry moving forward. Each year, our winners embody this kind of attitude and are role models to the Unique Venues team and the industry.”

While each year the selection process seems harder because there are so many qualified nominees, this year was one of those times when the winner was clear, and the process was simple. Lisa Morrell, Director of Member Services at Unique Venues is in direct communication with the Unique Venues partners and has been a champion for efforts to assist and mentor these partners during the pandemic. “Our members and network of planners are the reason we wake up every day and get to work. We are passionate about our industry, with next year being our 35th year in business, we are indebted to our clients, who we consider family.”

On October 27, Chuck Salem, Unique Venues CEO and Neal Burghardt, Unique Venues COO presented the 2020 recipient of the Professional of the Year. With heartfelt gratitude and excitement, Chuck and Neal announced the winner of the award.

That’s right, YOU are the 2020 Professional of the Year. You are the reason the hospitality industry is surviving this year. Each day you dedicate your time, efforts, ideas, creativity, and leadership to a world that is learning how to connect, learn, engage, and celebrate in a non-traditional, and some might say a unique, way. It goes without saying that this year has not been easy – but we owe you our gratitude. We could not do what we do without you. When it feels like you are hopeless, helpless, or downright tired, remember this:

Parents, grandparents, siblings, guardians, and college students could not have celebrated the accomplishment of graduating without you and your planning and execution efforts.
Corporations and Associations were able to continue conducting business and developing strategies with your help by creating a new and safe environment to meet.
Learning was achieved because of the use of the hybrid meeting model that was implemented this year.
Couples could not have said ‘I do’ without you. They refused to let a pandemic get in the way of their love stories, and YOU made it happen.
And there are so many other instances, big and small, that we can highlight of how you, your company, and your colleagues have made a difference this year.

As we look forward to a new year, it is important as professionals that we continue our growth in professional development. As pioneers in the hospitality industry, we are dedicated to being fearless leaders, who use our creativity to generate new ideas and opportunities. We are dedicated to building on safe environments for people to gather, learn and celebrate. Let’s collectively make the most of 2021.

Cheers to your hard work, dedication, and service, Professional of the Year. It is well-earned.

During this global pandemic, the team at Unique Venues has been working to serve our industry planners and venues with free resources including roundtables, webinars, and workshops. You can visit our COVID-19 Resources page to learn about our upcoming programs this month and next that you may be interested in registering for. Be sure to follow Unique Venues on Facebook (@uniquevenues) and be on the lookout for Facebook Live sessions from Unique Venues CEO, Chuck Salem who will be providing tips and trends for weathering the storm.