Las Vegas NACE Ushers In Second Decade

NACEPast Las Vegas NACE chapter presidents, Cheryl Sgovio, CPCE (Thomas and Mack Center) and Frank Gregory (Aria Las Vegas), opened the festivities for annual Las Vegas NACE Gala and Awards Event, by thanking the outgoing Board of Directors and swearing in the 2012 Board. Cheryl and Frank surveyed the evening’s attendees number close to 170, and Frank commented.

“It’s hard to believe that ten years ago we had our first dinner with 38 attendees at the Riviera. Isn’t it incredible to see how far we’ve come in ten years?”

Las Vegas NACE  is in its second incarnation. The first attempt was ahead of its time and did not survive. The current edition, though, is here to stay. A significant part of the effort to relaunch the Las Vegas Chapter of NACE was spearheaded by Patti Shock CPCE (UNLV). In 2010, the Las Vegas Chapter awarded Patti a Lifetime Achievement Award and honored her with Emeritus status for her CPCE designation.

Several years before I moved to Las Vegas, and prior to the chapter being chartered, I met Cheryl Sgovio, CPCE and Michele Polci, CPCE (Caesar’s Entertainment) at a NACE National Conference in Miami. Both would go on to serve as chapter presidents. Cheryl and I served concurrently on the NACE National Board. Both Cheryl and Michele earned the distinction of NACE National Caterer of the Year. In 2006, Jodi Harris (Sight’n’Sound Event) won national honors as Event Professional of the Year.

In a scant ten years, the Las Vegas NACE has earned recognition as NACE Chapter of the Year, twice. It has been acknowledged in multiple categories for chapter achievement, in multiple years.

Individual members such as Carrie Key (DragonRidge Country Club), Annie Payton CPCE (Annie’s Gourmet Italian), and Michele Polci CPCE (Caesar’s Entertainment) have won awards for event excellence. Annie won multiple awards in a single year, and Michele is a near-perennial winner, having accumulated a armload of awards.

Since 2006, three Las Vegas members have received the George Zell Spirit of NACE Award, the national organization’s highest award for overall involvement to NACE and the catering community. Those recipients are: Andy Ebon (The Wedding Marketing Authority), Lisa Lynn Backus CPCE (Bally’s/Paris Las Vegas) and Michele Polci CPCE (Caesar’s Entertainment).

CPCE Designations Number: Lucky 13

The Certified Professional Catering Executive designation represents a level of professionalism achieved by a limited number of people throughout NACE. By placing great value on the designation, and its value to those that hold it, Las Vegas NACE added two new designees last night, bringing its CPCE-holders to 13 (all profiled in a 2-page spread the awards program).

Those designees are:

  • cpce-logoLisa Lynn Backus CPCE
  • Kathy Baldieri CPCE
  • Lynn Clark-Javanmard CPCE, CMP
  • Donnell Bayot M. Ed, CHE, CPCE
  • Amy Dyke CPCE, CMP
  • Annie Kang-Drachen CPCE
  • Shauna Lederman CPCE
  • Gary McCreary CPCE, CMP, CSEP
  • Michele Polci CPCE, CMP
  • Cheryl Sgovio, CPCE
  • Patti Shock CPCE
  • Michael Testagrossa CHE, CPCE
  • Wendy Weisgerber CPCE

Behind the Scenes Involvement

Some involvement is invisible to the average member; however, countless chapter members have served on NACE National Committees and assisted in hosting events associated with Las Vegas – based conferences, such as CaterSource.

A Personal Comment On Leadership and Organization Prosperity

Whether a chapter of national organization, such as NACE, or a one-0f-kind local organization, success starts at the top. Las Vegas NACE surged with a great start, and rode its local prosperity to great heights. While the challenges of the Las Vegas economy put great pressure on Las Vegas NACE, the chapter has survived the most difficult days, and appears poised for new successes.

A key reason for a bright outlook is the continued involvement of past chapter presidents. This is a rarity in most organizations and to Las Vegas NACE, a tremendous benefit. More than just attending an occasional meeting, one finds past presidents involved in specific projects, tasks, supporting future leaders, and even holding spots on the current Board of Directors. With that kind of complementary leadership involvement, Las Vegas NACE maintains its institutional memory, enjoys ongoing success, and promises to do so into the foreseeable future.

Wendy Weisgerber, CPCE (Rio Las Vegas) has the honor and privilege of leading Las Vegas NACE in the second year of her 2-year term as chapter president.

Acknowledging the Las Vegas NACE Past Chapter Presidents:

  • Las Vegas NACERich Beninger
  • Cheryl Sgovio, CPCE
  • Frank Gregory
  • Amy Dyke CPCE
  • Michele Polci, CPCE
  • Kathy Baldieri, CPCE

With every best wish for continued success,

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog
NACE Member since 1991

Ersatz Awards Do Not Reflect Well On Anyone

I love a good inside joke. The kind where you can have a quiet chuckle because only YOU get it.

My dad, a fulltime freelance writer. would often work on anthologies. Occasionally, he might be one writer short to contribute a chapter. In those cases, he might write that piece under a pen name. A perfectly acceptable practice in the field. My favorite pen name dad used was “Chester Butterworth.” It gives you a visual that “Martin Ebon,” his real name, does not provide. The joke for me was that reviewers or other writers would occasionally quote Butterworth. Very funny stuff.

Having a quiet chuckle is fine. Believing your own B.S., and promoting it, is another thing, entirely.

Recently, there has been growth in the number of phony awards recognition. These ersatz awards don’t pass the smell test. They are fraudulent in multiple ways.

During my 2-year tenure as NACE National Membership VP, we completely transformed the application and judging process for industry awards. The first challenge was to completely renovate the submission process, making certain subjectivity in judging would be minimized. Documentation was defined, clearly. It now takes time and effort to submit for an award, but the end result is fair, even-handed judging, and industry awards that truly mean something.

Sample award format
Sample award format

The other day, I received a solicitation from the selection committee of the U.S. Local Business Association acknowledging me for an award. Part of the verbiage read, as follows:

The USLBA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USLBA identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

This is unadulterated nonsense. For the price of $80 or $100, I can buy business a plaque touting non-existent achievement, judged by a non-existent selection committee. It’s quite a scam. I’m sure they sell a lot of plaques, though.

The only weaker move would be to actually buy one of these plaques and promote them as reality.  It would be the phoniest of all self-promotion. Yet, I see companies hanging these in their office, and placing plaque images on their websites.

So, I’m calling SHENANIGANS on these companies. If you see a wedding industry business promoting phony award recognition on their website, I’m deputizing you to needle them, directly.

This is bogus and any other similar hype should be called out for what it is: PROPAGANDA.

Andy Ebon - signature

 

 

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog