Canadian Association of Exposition Management
ABOUT CAEM HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES * 2016 Exposition Member Hall of Fame Inductee

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2016 Exposition Member Hall of Fame Inductee

Isabella Wai, CEM, Director, Convention Exhibits, Ontario Hospital Association

Introductory Speech by Heather Neale:

The 2016 Hall of Fame Award winner in the exposition category has been an active member and volunteer to CAEM and has contributed to our industry in many different ways. 
Almost immediately on joining CAEM this person signed on with the Education Committee and soon moved up to Education Committee Co-Chair.  Our award winner obtained the Certified in Exhibition Management (CEM) designation and was soon elected to the CAEM Board of Directors.  This individual was appointed a Co-Chair for the conference, and in 2009 was awarded Member of the Year in the Exposition category.  Our honouree moved into the CAEM Executive and served as the Association President for two years, then as Past President and Chair of the Nominating Committee for two more years. 
Since completing their term in office, this individual has continued to give back to CAEM and our industry by co-chairing the Conference Education Sub-Committee for two years, accepting speaking engagements for CAEM, Centennial College’s Festivals, Events, Conferences and Meetings Post-Grad Program, PCMA Canada East Annual Conference, and more. 
Our award winner has published articles on our industry in The Globe and Mail and The Huffington Post, and has won numerous industry awards including Best Trade Show at the Canadian Event Industry Awards. 
A very impressive list of accomplishments indeed.  You could not ask for a more enthusiastic and committed champion for CAEM and the exposition industry.
Please join me in welcoming the 2016 Hall of Fame Exposition – Isabella Wai, Ontario Hospital Association.  
Acceptance Speech by Isabella Wai, CEM:
First of all, I would like to offer my sincerest gratitude to the Canadian Association of Exposition Management Nominating Committee for this award. 
I am deeply humbled and honoured to be up here tonight.
Of course, I did not make this journey here alone. 
Many people have supported me along the way, and I wanted to share some of my experiences and express my gratitude.
One of the first things I learned through CAEM was how to become a good volunteer. 
For this, I would like to thank the remarkable CAEM office team with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with for so many years.
Serge, Michael and Christiane, you’re such an amazing group of professionals.
You helped me understand why volunteering is so important. What it means to be a committee member, how to run meetings as a chair, and ultimately, how to run the Association as a President. 
I could not have done any of this without the tremendous support from all of you.
If you are new to the industry, and you’re on the fence about getting involved, I encourage you to talk to Serge and his team.
One of the really wonderful things I’ve enjoyed from joining CAEM, is the networking opportunities.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached out to my CAEM colleagues to ask for their perspective on a particular work-related challenge.
I must admit that I’ve become a go-to resource person not only at my work place but to a lot of CAEM members that I met throughout the year.
CAEM is like an extended family – one I’m very proud to be a part of. 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my many valued and wonderful business partners.
My sincerest thank to :
·          Ray Culliton at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre
·          Ralph Scali at Showtech

·          John Domonkos at Target
·          Trish Hayter, Nasera Pirbhai, Maria Kitamura, and Heather Neale at GES
Speaking of Heather, CAEM should really thank her as she’s the person who initially invited me to join the Conference Education Committee when she was a co-chair. 
And I’ve been a volunteer ever since.
During my first show, Heather asked me, “Isabella, how would you like to set up your show office?” 
What a simple yet very important question… and as a new show manager, I had no idea what to suggest.
Heather, a professional, said to me, “You know what Isabella, why don’t you go grab some lunch, and when you return, your show office will be ready for you.” 
And as promised, it was.
Similarly, when I work with Ray, Trish, Maria and Ralph, they always say “No worries Isabella, we’ll take care of you”.
We’ve been through so many shows together, and every time I always tell them the best time for me personally as a show manager, is when I’m actually at the show itself.
The reason?
Because I am in such capable hands that I can really enjoy my show.
Every one of you had helped me enrich my knowledge, enhance my skills, and boost my self-confidence.
Of course, there are so many other wonderful people that I met at CAEM as fellow volunteers, I can now call friends like Naomi Wagschal, Sheila Wong, Anita Schachter, Jennifer Allaby, Sherry Kirkpatrick, Sonia Moffatt, Debbie Dugan and many others.
CAEM will enable you to surround yourself with good people – great partners – especially if you’re interested in moving your career forward.
I would also like to express appreciation to my Ontario Hospital Association and HealthAchieve colleagues who are here with me tonight.
It means so much to me to have you here. 
There is one person I’d like to thank who is very, very, very special to me
Without this person, none of this would be possible.
When I first joined CAEM, this person said to me, “I want you to become an OHA ambassador, and truly show that the Ontario Hospital Association completely supports not only the Canadian Association of Exposition Management, but the trade show industry as a whole.” 
What an amazing assignment and journey this has been.
Thank you to my boss, my mentor, and my friend, Warren DiClemente.
Warren, can you kindly stand up.
Warren is the most important man behind me in my whole career.  Thanks for motivating me, cheering for me and guiding me throughout the whole CAEM journey.
Please help me to give a round of applause for Warren.
It feels like every time I volunteered for a CAEM project, I had such a great experience; I was motivated to volunteer time and again.
If you are not yet involved with CAEM, I encourage you to do so. 
I guarantee you’ll be so impressed with this group of volunteers. 
And if you’re an employer, I hope you will support your staff to volunteer at CAEM.
I guarantee your employee will have a meaningful and positive impact on your company.  Your staff will make you proud. 
If I could go back in time and do my CAEM journey all over again, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing because it is such an inspiring, rewarding and challenging experience.
Again, thank you for this incredible honour.