Canadian Association of Exposition Management
ABOUT CAEM MEMBER OF THE YEAR AWARDS * 2010 Exposition Member of the Year Award

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2010 Exposition Member of the Year Award

Sherry Kirkpatrick

Team Leader Conference,
Industrial Accident Prevention Association

Introduction by Isabella Wai, CEM (2009 Member of the Year Award Recipient)

Each year, the Canadian Association of Exposition Management recognizes one individual with an “Exposition Member of the Year Award”. This annual award is presented to members who, through their time and talent, make an outstanding and special contribution to the Association and the Canadian exposition industry over the course of the year.
The winner of this year’s Exposition Member of the Year Award was chosen for several reasons. First of all, I’d like to recognize the great strength in leadership this individual demonstrated as the annual conference co-Chair. During this challenging year, this person led by example, was always reliable and provided full support to the different committees. Particularly noteworthy was this individual’s leadership of the education committee, and their organization of an excellent program for the annual conference.
I have had the honour of working with this individual, and her no-nonsense approach was quite impressive to me. Although she has a quiet personality, she has a strong character and is determined to do the best and never doubt herself in making any critical decisions. When there was a good suggestion brought forward by a committee member, “Let do it” was her “famous” statement that I heard often during our planning meetings.
This year was also a very challenging year for her with the changing landscape of her own Association. However, this did not prevent her from continuing to volunteer her time for CAEM. She is currently a member of the CAEM Board of Directors and also is the CAEM Education Committee Co-chair. 
This individual is an enthusiastic leader, a great role model and a passionate volunteer who is a tremendous asset to CAEM and therefore, is a perfect choice to receive the Exposition Member of the Year Award.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in honoring this year’s Exposition Member of the Year Award winner, from the Industrial Accident Prevention Association, Sherry Kirkpatrick.
Sherry’s Acceptance Speech
My first exposure to CAEM and the great people that make up its membership, was at the very soggy conference in Mont St. Anne, Quebec, in 2006. I vividly recall the first evening – having to get into that cable car to go up the mountain for the opening reception – in driving rain and howling winds – trying not to spill beer all over me and my seat mates as the cable car is swaying back and forth. And you should know that I’m afraid of heights. So already I am wondering what the hell I am doing there. Finally reaching the summit, the next challenge was to walk into a room full of mostly strangers, which is way outside my comfort zone, but I figured I had made it this far, how much worse could it get? No surprise that my fears were totally unfounded. Within minutes, I was being made welcome, being introduced to other members, and very quickly I had a sense of how terrific this group of people was. And I have never looked back.
Although I am being recognized tonight for my contribution to CAEM, CAEM has given me at least as much as I have given back. My involvement has represented a personal growth journey. I have met many wonderful people and made some great friends. And I have learned so much in the process. I’d like to thank the people with whom I’ve worked on committees, my fellow Board members, and many others of you that have helped to make CAEM so important to me. 
I’d also like to thank my employer for their support, and specifically my colleague Helen McDowell, for encouraging me to get involved in the first place. Some of you know that we are experiencing significant change due to amalgamations taking place in the Ontario health and safety system. I guess change is nothing new to us in this industry – you could even argue that change is a fact of life and part of doing business for us. But for me, my involvement and committee work with CAEM has been a steadying factor when work seems a little out of control.
I cannot tell you what an honour this is for me. I am acutely aware that this award puts me in the very lofty company of past winners, and I am truly humbled. Thank you.