HSMAI Honors Chapter Excellence at Annual Leadership Conference

  • 04.27.09
The Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) honored 15 of its chapters with Chapter Best of the Best Awards in the 2008 Frank W. Berkman Chapter Awards Program at the 2009 Annual HSMAI Leadership Conference held at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Va. April 13-15, 2009.

HSMAI presented 29 Chapter Best of the Best Awards, an award representing chapter excellence and performance, in three groupings – large, medium and small chapters – in 10 categories. HSMAI received a record number of entries, 125, from more than half of HSMAI’s 40 Americas Region chapters.

"HSMAI chapter leadership is comprised of some of the most talented minds in the hospitality profession,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI. "The awards program recognizes chapters that embody HSMAI’s values and implemented strategic and creative programs for professionals to help the growth of the profession and organization."

Recipients of the Chapter Best of the Best Awards include:

Large chapter winners:
  • South Florida won awards for communications, membership, partnership and best use of the Web. The South Florida chapter was also named HSMAI Chapter of the Year for 2008.
  • The Arizona chapter won awards for best awards and recognition, fundraising/community involvement and customer interaction.
  • Central Florida received awards for collegiate chapter and educational programming.
  • The Greater New York chapter received the award for leadership development.
Medium chapter winners:
  • The Mid South chapter won for customer interaction, educational programming and membership.
  • The Georgia chapter received the award for fundraising/community involvement.
  • The Mexico chapter won the award for partnership.
  • The Dallas chapter took home the awards for Communications and Awards & Recognition.
  • The Greater Houston chapter was honored for collegiate chapter programming.
  • The San Diego chapter received the award for leadership development.
  • The Greater Los Angeles chapter won the award for Web site.
Small chapter winners:
  • The Missouri chapter won for best awards and recognition, partnership and fundraising/community involvement.
  • The Southern Colorado chapter received the best awards for educational programming and membership.
  • The Curacao chapter received awards for communications, customer interaction and Web site.
  • The Minnesota chapter received the award for fundraising/community involvement.

In addition to the Best of the Best Awards, chapters were also given Chapter Assessment Report (CAR) Awards. Chapters had to excel in all their performance areas to receive a platinum ranking. The following chapters received platinum designations.


  • Arizona Chapter
  • Central Florida Chapter
  • Greater Los Angeles Chapter
  • Mid South Chapter
  • Greater New York Chapter
  • San Diego Chapter
  • South Florida Chapter
  • Southern Colorado Chapter

In addition to giving out the chapter awards, members of the HSMAI Americas board of directors and special interest group advisory boards (SIGs), managing directors and presidents of more than 32 chapters, collegiate chapter presidents and faculty liaisons gathered together for two days of leadership bootcamp that focused on the theme, “When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going!”

Each year, HSMAI hosts chapter, SIG and student leaders at this special conference to meet with other association leaders, discuss common issues and hear from renowned industry leaders on best practices related to key hospitality issues.

This year's program kicked off with Major Nicole Malachowski, the first woman USAF Thunderbird pilot, to energize and motivate conference attendees to be leaders within the organization and for their team. The conference was moderated for a second year by John Parke, president and CEO of Leadership Synergies, who led one-on-one discussions with Bill Connors, executive vice president and COO of the National Business Travel Association and Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHA, president and CEO of HSMAI.

The first panel of the conference, “A View from the Top,” included HSMAI’s Americas executive committee members and generated lively conversation amongst panelists and attendees about the current economic state and best practices.

Additionally, Karen McSteen, president of brandMatters, emphasized the importance of a personal brand as well as a company brand to define success. McSteen left attendees with guidelines to help them create their personal brand in 2009.

On the final day, Edelman senior vice president, Cathleen Johnson, presented on, "Good Purpose" and how chapters can incorporate social causes into chapter activities. The conference concluded with a chapter best practices exchange.

Sponsors of the HSMAI Leadership Conference were American Express, Newmarket International and the Marriott Westfield Washington Dulles.

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