Recognising Individual Contributions to the Meetings and Events Industry

The Destination Partners of IAPCO wish to recognise an individual who has gone above and beyond their position and has shown an aptitude for advancement in the meetings industry. Someone who has shown exceptional dedication and commitment to their work and made significant contributions to the events sector, whether through innovation, excellent service, sustainability efforts, or any other exceptional achievements.

The winner will receive the prestigious Hero Award as well as an education bursary which includes travel and accommodation to attend either the 2024 Annual Meeting in Ljubljana.

We recommend setting up an office poll and asking your team members to vote for their colleague who has gone the extra mile in 2023 and deserves recognition for their hard work.

Do you know someone who embodies the qualities mentioned above?  It’s an incredible opportunity to recognize and appreciate those outstanding individuals in your team. Shine a spotlight on these remarkable individuals by nominating them for the IAPCO Hero Award!

The 2025 Hero Award nominations will open from 15 August 2024 with the deadline of 15 December 2024.

The winner will be announced on 23 February 2025 at the IAPCO Annual Meeting and General Assembly 2025 in Taipei, Taiwan.

Criteria/ Rules of Entry

Criteria/ Rules of Entry

  1. Nominees can be any member of an account team within an IAPCO PCO company, such teams being operational, marketing, client management, financial or similar.
  2. Entries can be nominated by a colleague, a client, a supplier
  3. Entries are limited to one nomination per IAPCO Member Company, but any staff member, whether from a Member Company or a registered Member Office, is eligible.


The submission should include:

  • 50 words – biographical details of the individual team member
  • 250-500 words – abstract outlining why the team member has been nominated.
    • Their job role and range of duties and responsibilities
    • The contribution over and above their normal role and responsibilities
    • The impact their contribution has made to others
    • Why they would benefit from a scholarship to the Annual Meeting


The IAPCO Council will judge the entries, based on the above criteria, and without knowing the name of the candidate or their company.

The Award

  • Hero Award Trophy
  • An invitation by the IAPCO Destination Partners to attend the IAPCO Annual Meeting from 20 – 23 February 2025 in Taipei, Taiwan (includes registration, hotel accommodation and flight in economy class)
  • Use of the Hero Award logo on email signature, stationery, biographical details/CV

Current Winner

2024 – Ginevra De Bellis, OIC Group, Italy

2024 IAPCO Hero Award winner - Ginevra De Bellis, Department Head of International Relations and Bid Management at OIC

Ginevra De Bellis, Department Head of International Relations and Bid Management at OIC Group has been named the 2024 recipient of the prestigious International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Hero Award. The announcement was made on the final day of the Association’s Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA) held from February 28th to March 2nd in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The IAPCO Hero Award, one of three unique Driving Excellence Awards presented by IAPCO annually, recognises individuals who exemplify excellence and dedication in the events management industry. Supported by IAPCO Destination Partners, the Hero Award acknowledges team members who demonstrate exceptional leadership, innovation and contribution within their organisations.

Ginevra was nominated by her team for her outstanding leadership and contributions to the success of OIC Group. As Department Head, she oversees the implementation and execution of bids, trains and onboards new team members and serves as the company’s ambassador across the international associative sector.

Her exceptional leadership skills have created a positive and supportive working environment, fostering trust among staff and clients alike. Ginevra’s commitment to quality and teamwork has made her an invaluable asset to OIC Group.

Upon receiving the award, Ginevra expressed her gratitude, stating, “Winning this award is a dream come true, it is the achievement of an important goal that confirms my passion and commitment to the industry and stimulates me to keep growing the dedication to my team and clients. I think there are no insurmountable barriers, I always try to be a catalyst for change, prioritising quality and teamwork.”

“I would like to thank Nicola Testai and OIC Group for the opportunity to grow and learn in my role. To my team at OIC, my talented colleagues, I truly appreciate every one of you.”

Ginevra, who holds a bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology and a Master’s in Business Administration, has consistently demonstrated exceptional talent in business development, public speaking, and project management since joining OIC Group in 2016.

Nicola Testai, CEO of OIC Group; commending Ginevra for her positive influence at the company said, “Ginevra’s ability to facilitate discussions on industry trends and problem-solving highlights her role as an enabler, especially at events where she represents OIC, making her a central figure in identifying and navigating the currents of change in the meeting industry.”

“Her international perspective not only enriches the corporate culture but also acts as a pioneer for exploration and professional growth among employees. Her academic background provides a solid educational momentum, raising the collective level of competence and encouraging colleagues to seek greater knowledge and specialisation.”

Commenting on Ginevra’s achievements, IAPCO President Sarah Markey-Hamm said, “Ginevra exemplifies the spirit of excellence and dedication that defines the IAPCO Hero Award. Her passion and commitment to her work, along with her unwavering support for her team and clients, set a remarkable example for all professionals in our field.”

As the recipient of the IAPCO Hero Award, Ginevra received the prestigious Hero Award trophy and an education bursary, which includes travel and accommodation to attend the IAPCO Annual Meeting in Taipei, Taiwan from 20- 3 February 2025.

The IAPCO Hero Award celebrates individuals nominated by colleagues, clients, or suppliers within an IAPCO PCO company. Nominations are sought annually from across the IAPCO member community.

Photos from the Hero Award presentation ceremony at the 2024 IAPCO AM&GA in Ljubljana:

Previous Winners

2022 – Yoke Chun Cheong, International Conference Services (ICS), Singapore



International Conference Services (ICS) Department Head of Projects & Operations Management, Yoke Chun Cheong was announced as the winner of The International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO) Hero Award 2022 at the Association’s Annual Meeting and General Assembly (AM&GA) held between 6-9 February in Jerusalem.

As the Department Head for the Project Management and Operations Team, Yoke manages the staff for both departments of ICS’s Singapore office, overseeing the implementation and execution of departmental procedures and processes, and is responsible for training and onboarding new team members.

Nominated by her own team, Yoke has proven to be an exceptional leader by creating a positive and supportive work environment and establishing a level of trust that enables staff to come to her for advice and support. Her strong but humble presence has provided stability to the team and created a collaborative environment which was missing from previous leadership.

Yoke has worked as a DMC, adjunct lecturer for Hospitality Studies and a freelance tour guide for the most part of her 25-year career and was one of two employees who joined ICS Singapore in 2019. Yoke was promoted to the Head of the Department in Jan 2022.

As the IAPCO Hero Award winner Yoke received the prestigious Hero Award trophy as well as an education bursary which includes travel and accommodation to attend the 2024 Annual Meeting in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

2022 IAPCO Hero Award Winner - Yoke Cheong (ICS)

“Winning this award is both a surprise and a great honour. It is a surprise as I feel there is still much to learn in my journey as a leader. I am also honoured to be recognized for my effort and humbled by the validation from peers and colleagues that I am doing something right.

“I would like to thank the leadership team for the opportunity to grow and learn in my role. To my fellow peers and fellow Heads of Departments who started this journey with me and worked as hard if not harder, all of them are Heroes in their own right.

“To my ‘immediate family’ at ICS, my talented Project Managers and Operation Ninjas, I truly appreciate each and every one of you.”

“I am a quintessential Singaporean, who loves her city’s diversity and cultures. As a licensed tour guide, I enjoy showing the nooks and crannies of Singapore and volunteer at the National Gallery of Singapore as a museum docent when scheduling permits.”

“One of my most vivid memories during the training was to think about how we want to show up in our leadership role and to create our own work guiding statement. Mine was ‘To stay professional, fair, and compassionate. To create a safe space where everyone respects, trusts and listens to one another’. In my daily course of work, I try to live by this mantra.”

Yoke Chun Cheong

2021 – Hannah Jarvis, MCI, UK

Hannah is an exceptional event professional – her passion and commitment to the industry and her dedication to her team and clients make her deserving of recognition. From leading the digital transformation of her clients’ events to championing sustainability initiatives across our 60 global offices, Hannah is an inspiring event talent making a significant impact through meaningful change.

Her role as Association Producer and a recent graduate with a 2:1 BA Hons in Event Management; she has gone from strength to strength to make her mark within the MCI team. Hannah’s focused on learning and mastering different virtual event platforms and leading on the implementation of these platforms for her healthcare clients’ educational programmes. Hannah’s also dedicated time to learn sign language and digital marketing to expand her skills – these are just two further examples of how driven and ambitious she is in wanting to keep on achieving.

Hannah is a sustainability champion, heading up the UKCSR team for the past two years, as well as the wider global agency. Hannah looks at the whole spectrum of sustainability, embracing intersectional environmentalism. Focussing not just on the environmental elements, but also emphasising the importance of people through diversity, inclusion, and wellbeing. People and planet are very much interlinked, and we need to be mindful of both. Hannah has been specifically chosen by global leadership to be part of the key task force looking at sustainable solutions and initiatives for our clients and talents.

Hannah’s role in the team is to research and develop a framework for inclusiveness and diversity in events. She is making recommendations on a range of event touchpoints, from marketing and pre-event to catering and virtual experiences; all the while having empathy at the centre of her work.

She has hosted multiple workshops and webinars in the development of this global framework. Hannah is championing a holistic approach when looking for solutions of how our industry can make a positive change.


Hannah Jarvis

Hannah wants to encourage more conversation and awareness around inclusivity in events and how we can remove barriers to inclusiveness. What do we need to consider in relation to individual needs and how can experiences be designed, whether live or virtual, to not only be more sustainable but also empower wider diverse audiences to participate?

It’s about not being afraid to question existing industry processes, asking for alternatives and being a catalyst for change. Events and tourism bring so much value to communities and deliver important revenue for regions, but Hannah sees an opportunity for the event industry to reflect and reset. She wants to use her platforms to generate discussion and awareness and provide a call to action for our industry to lead the way, and more importantly to make the difference now.

2020 – Kyriaki Diga, AFEA Travel and Congress Services, Greece

Kyriaki Diga

2019 – Giulia Sarri, AIM Group International, Italy

Giulia Ineke Sarri with the Hero Award

2018 – Not Awarded

2017 – Not Awarded


2015 – Société d’Exploitation de l’ACROPOLIS de NICE

2014 – Congress Centre Alfândega – Porto

2013 – MAGIX Congress Logistics, Santiago

2012 – Barcelona Convention Bureau

2011 – Not Awarded

2010 – Internationales Congress Centrum ICC Berlin

2009 – Teichman Perchig International Ltd

2008 – Fiera Milano Congressi

2007 – Drukkerij Peters Amsterdam BV

2006 – Auditorium Parco della Musica, Italy

2005 – Prestige Corporate Travel, Glasgow

2004 – Palais des Congrès de Paris, France

2003 – AENIT Productions, Amsterdam

2002 – Forum Grimaldi, Monaco

2001 – EGL, Enrique Gozalbo Latorre

2000 – Parthen Meeting Essentials

1999 – Monte Carlo Grand Hotel

1999 – Teletech Congress Services, Denmark

1998 – Gerist SRL, Florence

1998 – Sound & Vision AV Ltd

1997 – Media Plan, Austria

1997 – Perton Signs, UK

1997 – Nest Audio Visual Services, Israel

1996 – ACS Audiovisual Conference Service, Netherlands

1996 – Meridiana Airline, Italy

1995 – Vancouver Trade & Convention Centre

1995 – Sheraton, Buenos Aires

1994 – Not Awarded

1993 – Swissair

1993 – Meeting & Congressi, Trade Press, Italy

1993 – Phillips Communication and Security Systems