Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: Phone: 440.725.8861...

Finalist field set for 10th anniversary edition of Connectors Choice Awards

More than 13,000 online votes result in 99 nominees in 21 corporate event, business networking categories

CLEVELAND – The most prominent year in the history of Northeast Ohio’s corporate event industry coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Connectors Choice Awards.

Presented by Cleveland Business Connects magazine and parent company Contempo Communications, the Connectors Choice Awards annually honors organizations, individuals, and events within the local corporate event-planning industry as well as the region’s business networking community. The winners in 21 categories will be announced March 1 at the 10th annual CCA ceremony at Tenk West Bank in the Flats.

Online public voting — 13,293 ballots were cast from Nov. 1 through Dec. 11 — determined this year’s 99 finalists (predominantly five per category). A panel of judges is selecting the 21 winners while reviewing written submissions by the finalists, all of whom are being recognized exclusively for their accomplishments in 2016.

CBC expects many of the 99 finalists to promote their work on a variety of noteworthy 2016 events, including the Republican National Convention, NBA Finals, and World Series, each of which transpired, in part, in downtown Cleveland.

Most of the finalists are familiar faces to CCA; many of them have won multiple plaques, including Rock The House, GhostLight Productions, Event Source, FastSigns Downtown Cleveland, Plantscaping and Blooms, Marigold Catering, and Executive Caterers.

There are some new contenders: A Touch of Class Limousine Service, HKM Direct Market Communications, Pink Gorilla Balloons and Events, Balloon Crew, Lago Custom Events, Hungry Bee, Red Space, and FirstEnergy Stadium.

The March 1 ceremony will occur from 5-9 p.m., with a networking cocktail hour preceding the 6 p.m. awards ceremony and 7:45 p.m. dinner. To purchase tickets and VIP tables, visit Interested sponsors should contact CBC magazine at or (216) 831-9557. Pease and Associates is a silver sponsor.

All 21 categories and 99 finalists are listed below:

Business Networking Star of the Year:
Jen Pickel, senior catering sales manager, Metropolitan at the 9
Linley Murphy, senior account executive, Event Source
Nathan Wright, salesman/business development assistant, Mar-Lou Shoes
Nick Borelli, president, Borelli Strategies
Vincent Iannaggi, director of business development, L’Nique Specialty Linen Rental

Business Networking Organization of the Year (Young Professionals):
Cleveland Professional 20/30 Club
Engage! Cleveland
New Partners of Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center
Playhouse Square Partners
United Way of Greater Cleveland Young Leaders

Business Networking Organization of the Year (Women):
National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
Professional Women’s Connection
WIN Cleveland
Women in Sports and Events (WISE)
YWCA Greater Cleveland Women’s Leadership Institute

Business Networking Organization of the Year (All-Around):
City Club of Cleveland
Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce
International Live Events Association (ILEA)
Rotary Club of Cleveland
Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce

Corporate Event Speaker of the Year:
Amy Martin, partner in marketing, JumpStart
Diane Helbig, founder, Seize This Day
Hugh Littleton, director of learning design solutions, Corporate College
Lisa Crilley Mallis, owner, Impactive Strategies
Phil Stella, president, Effective Training and Communication

Corporate Event Photographer/Videographer of the Year:
Dale McDonald, owner, Dale McDonald Photographer
Katie Garvas, owner, KT Rae Photography
Linda Ford, owner, Linda’s Lenses Photography
Tess Smith, owner, Tess Smith Photography

Corporate Event Entertainer of the Year:
Burning River Entertainment
Mike Petrone Band
Raise the Roof
Rick Smith Jr.
Rock The House

Corporate Event Planner Rising Star of the Year:
Amanda Green, corporate event planner, Marigold Catering
Aria Buford, conference service manager, Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland East
Catlin Layton, manager of special events and volunteers, Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Kevin Grissinger, special events manager, Greater Cleveland Food Bank
Nicole Sidoti, event planner, Executive Caterers

Corporate Event Planner of the Year:
Adina Magda, event manager, Greater Cleveland Partnership/COSE
Amber Muslusky, event planning manager, Corporate College
Amy Van Duyne, executive assistant to the CEO, Rock The House
Lee Ann O’Brien, director of community relations, special projects, planned giving, McGregor
Moya Donnelly, event planner, Executive Caterers

Corporate Event of the Year (less than $25K expense budget)
Business Expo (Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, May 12, 700 Beta and Banquet Center
Flavors of Northeast Ohio (American Liver Foundation, Oct. 17, Westin)
Savvy Women Succeed (National Association of Women Business Owners/Red Key Network, Oct. 28, Parkside Church)
Thursday Therapy-Boo Bash (Aable Rents, Oct. 27, Aable Rents)
WISE Within Speed Mentoring Roundtable (Women in Sports and Events, Jan. 20, Skylight Financial Group)

Corporate Event of the Year (between $25K-$75K expense budget)

Fall Ball: Rock the Night Away (United Way of Greater Cleveland Young Leaders, Oct. 8, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
FORE! Wellness Classic Golf Outing (Lake Health Foundation, Jun. 24, Fowler’s Mill Golf Course/Legend Lake Golf Club)
Home Team Celebration (Northeast Ohio Adoption Services, Oct. 22, FirstEnergy Stadium)
Links for Life Golf Tournament (LifeAct, June 27, Kirtland Country Club)

Corporate Event of the Year (more than $75K expense budget)
Glitz 2016: A Masterpiece in Medicine (Lake Health Foundation, Oct. 1, Cleveland Museum of Art)
Jump Back Ball (Playhouse Square Partners, Oct. 24, State Theatre)
Rotary Foundation Centennial Celebration (Rotary International, Oct. 23, Severance Hall)
Up! A Creek (West Creek Conservancy, July 9, Watershed Stewardship Center)
Women of Achievement Awards (YWCA Greater Cleveland, May 2, Renaissance Cleveland Hotel)

Corporate Event Venue of the Year (Hotels):
Hilton Garden Inn Cleveland East
Metropolitan at the 9
Sawmill Creek Resort

Corporate Event Venue of the Year (Non-Hotels):
Cleveland Museum of Art
Corporate College
FirstEnergy Stadium
Music Box Supper Club
Red Space

Corporate Event Offsite Caterer of the Year:
A Taste of Excellence
Driftwood Catering
Executive Caterers
Hungry Bee
Marigold Catering

Corporate Event Onsite Caterer of the Year:
A Taste of Excellence
Driftwood Catering
Executive Caterers
Lago Custom Events
Marigold Catering

Corporate Event Gift/Awards Company of the Year:
Balloon Crew
Baskets Galore
EmbroidMe-North Olmsted
Gino’s Awards
Pink Gorilla Balloons and Events

Corporate Event Floral Design Company of the Year:
Joe Mineo Creative
Plantscaping and Blooms
Tokar Event Design
Urban Orchid

Corporate Event Sign and Banner Company of the Year:
FastSigns of Downtown Cleveland
HKM Direct Market Communications

Corporate Event Rental Company of the Year:
A Touch of Class Limousine Service
All Occasions Party Rental
Event Source
Everything Tented
L’Nique Specialty Linen Rental

Corporate Event Production Company of the Year:
Ghostlight Productions
Raise the Roof
Rock The House
Solus Lighting
Vincent Lighting Systems

  • Dec 20, 2016
  • CBC Magazine
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