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Corporate Event Planner Rising Star of the Year — Alyssa Perna, Head of Event Operations for the Americas, Smithers Information

When you’re under the age of 30 and managing the entire special events department for an institution such as the Great Lakes Science Center, chances are someone somewhere will take notice. And that explains why Alyssa Perna is now employed by Smithers Information as its head of event operations for the Americas. Certainly there were many reasons for Perna to celebrate in 2015. In the final of her three years with the Science Center, she booked more than 80 facility rentals and was promoted to director of event innovations. Planning the Science Center’s largest annual fundraiser, Yuri’s Night Space Party, was always the biggest challenge, Perna said. “Prior to my arrival at the Science Center, the event’s ticket sales were extremely low, the budget was overspent by thousands of dollars, and the atmosphere for the event was nothing more than what a guest would see visiting the museum during normal business hours,” Perna said. “I knew that I needed to think outside of the box and do something different in order to create a successful fundraiser for the Science Center.” Foremost, Perna’s team created strategic partnerships with more than 30 young professional organizations in Northeast Ohio who promoted the event via social media and at their meetings. She secured partnerships with YELP and prominent local bloggers and strategically selected the most appropriate and cost-effective media outlets for marketing the event to the target demographic, young professionals.

Runners-up: Amanda Green, Corporate Event Planner, Marigold Catering; Kevin Grissinger, Special Events and Communications Coordinator, Greater Cleveland Food Bank; Cristina Lowenfeld, Catering/Sales Manager, Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland Downtown; Rosemary Macey, Catering Sales Coordinator, Levy Restaurants at the Cleveland Convention Center.

CCA WINNER TIMELINE

2015 — Alyssa Perna, Smithers Information
2014 — Kate Walter, Executive Caterers
2013 — Kevin Grissinger, Greater Cleveland Food Bank
2012 —  Katie Stevenson, Council of Smaller Enterprises
2011 — Colleen Saunier, Epilepsy Association
2010 — Alicia M. Hansen, Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation

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