The celebrations were in full swing from the start at the 2023 SITE Global Conference, as individual members and SITE chapters took their turn in the spotlight during the Annual General Meeting portion of this year’s event.
Held at the world-renowned Apollo Theater, this was a perfectly on-pitch way to begin an exciting Global Conference weekend.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and our immense thanks for all you’re doing to shape the next 50 years (and beyond) of incentive travel excellence!
Kevin Forde Spirit Award: Colette Baini
The Kevin Forde Spirit Award is given each year to a SITE member who exemplifies the traits Kevin Forde was known and respected for his generosity of time and energy for his fellow incentive travel professionals and volunteer roles.
Colette took the SITE Australia & New Zealand chapter that began just before the pandemic and worked throughout strict lockdown protocols in both countries to shape it into a chapter that’s thriving today. She initiated the chapter’s inaugural “Incentivise,” full-day summit in 2022, launched their Young Leaders program, and is a strong SITE advocate at the global level, too. Colette also graced the stage during last year’s Awards, with SITE Australia & New Zealand winning two Chapter Excellence Awards during her time as President.
Member of the Year: Lisa Kincannon Cherry
The SITE Member of the Year Award is presented to a volunteer who has left an indelible mark on SITE throughout the year.
This year’s winner seems to find 25 hours in every day, as a chapter president, capping off her 38 years of SITE membership. Lisa took the helm at the newly launched SITE Mountain West chapter in mid-2020. She has since grown the chapter to over 100 members from more than 18 states, and has developed ambassador and buddy programs that extend across the chapter’s four-state region. Lisa is also widely admired throughout the SITE community for her forward-thinking approach, deep engagement with SITE’s chapter network, and general passion for SITE.
Richard Ross Past Presidents' Award: Bruce Bolger
The Richard Ross Past Presidents’ Award recognizes outstanding service to the incentive travel industry. It was created in memory of SITE Past President and longtime member Richard Ross, who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The award celebrates a lifetime of achievement in service of SITE and to the larger global incentive travel industry, and recognizes those who demonstrate a commitment to integrity, honestly, and faith in others. This year's honoree, Bruce Bolger, exemplifies the core business and social values of this award, with many career highlights to his credit. He was the first to bring Ivy League university professors to SITE's educational programs, engaging members' minds in new ways and catapulting SITE to higher levels of achievement. Bruce was also key to integrating hard data into SITE's explanation of incentive travel to corporate executives, as he worked with academics and SITE Foundation in its early days to create the groundbreaking "master measurement model."
Excellence in Education: SITE Texas
SITE Texas’ annual survey helps them deliver strong educational events and communications ,that are also aligned with SITE’s global educational resources and SITE Foundation research.
Demonstrating exactly how this helps them produce relevant, engaging educational content, one virtual livestream the chapter hosted during the pandemic featured speakers from eight countries, representing truly global perspectives. The chapter also led a CITP study group, open to all SITE members, that resulted in six chapter members successfully passing the exam!
Excellence in Membership: SITE Florida & Caribbean
Look no further to find a chapter that excels at providing incredible value for its members. SITE Florida & Caribbean’s strong communications and outreach program results in consistent onboarding and engagement of new members, who are welcomed with a kit that includes key contacts, an events calendar, and links to helpful SITE resources.
The chapter president even makes personal calls to all new members, ensuring they feel truly welcome.
Excellence in Special Event: SITE Canada
Demonstrating creative excellence to deliver a signature event is the key to winning this award.
SITE Canada took to the seas for their winning effort. Held at a yacht club, the chapter used a blend of indoor and outdoor spaces to smartly account for COVID concerns, while also ensuring plenty of sailing-inspired opportunities event sponsors could tap. Together with several lower cost activations as well, sponsorship and auction proceeds from this sea-tacular event exceeded expectations, and allowed the chapter to make a generous donation to the SITE Foundation.
Excellence in Sustainable Event: SITE Scotland
That bahhh you hear is the sound of SITE Scotland’s winning event, held on a working organic sheep farm! But it isn’t just wool that you’ll find there; SITE Scotland introduced a tree planting initiative as part of their winning event too. Future event held at this venue will offer attendees the chance to put down their own roots and return to see their saplings grow.
With the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as the event framework, SITE Scotland also worked with both their chosen venue and catering company to complete a sustainability checklist, that has since grown into a systematic approach the chapter plans to apply to its own future events.
Excellence in Virtual Engagement: SITE Africa
Engaging virtual solutions are a must when your programming spans an entire continent, a challenge SITE Africa is ready to face head-on after their win this year.
Hard-hitting topics are a regular feature of this chapter’s virtual programming, addressing issues such as finding common ground in contracts and whether DMCs should charge for time spent responding to RFPs. These virtual sessions always prove to be a hit, and engage both seasoned members and the chapter’s Young Leader community, too.
Excellence in Young Leaders: SITE Texas
A perfect exemplar of strong and vibrant Young Leader communities, SITE Texas is ensuring the future of our industry will remain bright as this year’s award recipient. The chapter earned this year’s Young Leader honor thanks to its mentor program, and to the exposure the chapter’s Young Leaders gain during dedicated educational sessions that are part of monthly committee calls.
And their efforts have paid off, with 26 other Young Leaders from throughout the wider SITE community interested in joining the chapter, and growing interest from other members who are curious about serving as mentors.
Rising Star: SITE Mountain West
If only this chapter knew what was about to come when they held their first launch event in January 2020. Despite the many challenges we’ve collectively faced, SITE Mountain West has grown impressively since their early 2020 launch.
Membership has increased by 78 percent, and the chapter has implemented a wildly successful ambassador program in each of the four states in its geographic range, as well as a chapter buddy program. These are not only excellent ways to support their members, SITE Mountain West has found, but encourages volunteer engagement, with many members playing an active role within SITE committees.
Chapter of the Year: SITE Canada
Chapter of the Year is the highest honor a Chapter can receive, awarded to a chapter that exemplifies the values and mission of SITE, demonstrates value to members, advocates for our industry, and establishes a sound leadership structure.
During this year’s Awards qualification period, SITE Canada hosted an incredible 11 events (five in-person, and six virtual ones). Also widely recognized as an innovative leader amongst SITE’s chapter network, SITE Canada brought unique, incentive-like experiences to its members (chocolate couture, anyone, just to name one example!). They’ve also proudly offered personalized learning opportunities, and the chapter’s solid organizational and leadership structure ensure it operates smoothly and that its activities are executed at the highest level.