Award Description:

We are part of an industry that is essential, creative and communicates. For an organization like ILEA Canada and our industry to survive and thrive, it requires the volunteer efforts of countless people in each chapter and across the country. It is important to recognize and thank these individuals, as their volunteer efforts help to provide our members with collaborative networking, mentorship, education and professional development, inspiration, advocacy, economical and social benefits to our communities, and outward awareness and credibility to ensure a thriving local and global creative events profession.

The ILEA Canada Penni Holdham Volunteer of the Year Award was developed to recognize the outstanding achievements of an individual that has demonstrated their commitment to our Association, our members or our industry in a defined and measureable way.

This Award was inspired by the applied volunteerism demonstrated by Penni Holdham CSEP between 2008 and 2010 as she developed policies and protocol for the efficient operations of the ILEA Canada Structure.



ILEA Canada Penni Holdham Volunteer of the Year Award Recipients

2017 – Keri Miller CSEP


Keri Miller CSEP is not only a fully engaged, long time member, but supports memberships in 3 of the 4 Canadian markets (Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto). Her volunteer and leadership initiatives include:

  • Canadian Brand Champion on Int’l Marcomm team representing the voice and needs of Canada on the Int’l level – has always gone above and beyond the role to ensure our voice is heard
  • Cheerleader for ILEA through speaking engagements at various ILEA events
  • Coached ILEA Canada in brand strategy around various initiatives
  • Built initiatives and conceptualized a few revenue generating and friend-raising activities and annual events for ILEA (ie: Loading Dock Classic for example)
  • 2017/2018 Brand Chief for Canada (liaise directly with Brand Champion on the Int’l  MarComm team and unify the voice of the chapters and ILEA Canada)

2016 – Niels Hagen

A member of ILEA Calgary, Niels Hagen joined the Calgary Board as a Director at Large in 2015.  Shortly afterwards, the position of VP Marketing, Sponsorship & PR opened up and Niels volunteered to take on this new role with great enthusiasm.  Here are some of the highlights from his tenure in this role:

  • Confirmed 3 annual chapter partners and 4 keynote sponsor positions
  • Co-chaired the inaugural ILEA One Conference in partnership with MPI, a role that included ensuring that there was a balanced partnership between both associations.
  • Selling out the One Conference sponsorship opportunities (a huge feat in a very challenging economical year in Calgary)
  • Provided mentorship to a subcommittee member who would eventually transition into the role of VP Marketing, Sponsorship & PR for the 2016/2017 chapter year
  • Prior to passing his role onto the incoming VP Marketing, Sponsorship & PR, he confirmed 3 annual chapter partners and established – and filled – a new sponsorship level, allowing the Calgary chapter to be set up for success for the 2016/2017 chapter year.

2015 – Emily MacDonald


Corinne Kessel CSEP (left) Emily MacDonald (right)

A long time board member of ILEA Vancouver, Emily’s work in the role of VP Communications made a great impact on the Chapter’s marketing reach and she helped resolve number of issues that arose for the chapters across Canada as a result of CASL coming into place.  Emily was committed to innovative communication tools and launched the ILEA Vancouver App and new website to better engage Vancouver and global members.

2014 – Jason Harmer


Jason Harmer (left), Corinne Kessel CSEP (right)
Dedicated to using technology to bring our industry closer together, Jason worked tirelessly to establish a series of online moderated educational panel discussions, ISES Hangouts, to help ILEA members form closer ties with other Canadian and International chapter members through brining event professionals together from around the world to share their experiences, knowledge and expertise with other members and students.

2013 – Debra Lykkemark


Debra Lykkemark (left), Corinne Kessel CSEP (right)
Debra has been a long time industry supporter and advocate.  Her work creating a lobby group advocating to change outdated BC liquor legislations in 2012-2013 resulted in positive change to legislation that not only benefits the growth of the special events industry, but also simplifies processes for all parties, government included.

2012 – Peter Cornforth

Peter, a founding member of ILEA Calgary, was instrumental in Chapter development across Canada and in particular with developing and guiding the ILEA Edmonton Chapter In Formation Board through the 2011-2012 year.

2011 – Karen Eluck CSEP, CMP

Karen Eluck CSEP, CMP (left), Penni Holdham CSEP (right)
Karen worked closely with the ILEA Canada chapters to create and implement new discounts to help motivate successful membership drives and resulted in increased membership numbers across Canada.