Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award recognizes an individual, relatively new to the industry, who exceeded expectations by doing more than what was asked of them.

Rising Star Award Criteria:

  • Member of CAEM for 1 to 3 years.
  • Outstanding volunteer contribution and “gone above and beyond” on at least one CAEM Committee.
  • 5 years or less of industry experience.
  • Can be Associate or Expo Member (either category of membership).
  • Cannot be a member of the CAEM Board of Directors.

2017 Rising Star Award Winner: Lerna Gurunluoglu

Lerna Gurunluoglu, CEM, Business Development Coordinator, Restaurants Canada

Introductory Speech by Ralph Scali:

It is now my pleasure to introduce the winner of the Rising Star Award.  Since its inception in 2014 The Rising Star Award has been given to new members to recognize the significant contribution they have made to CAEM.  Tonight’s recipient is a great example of a “Rising Star”.

Since joining CAEM in 2015 this person has volunteered tirelessly and received their CEM designation in under 2 years.  Through this activity they have illustrated their passion for continuing their education, as well as their commitment to their employer and our Association.

Possessing an outgoing personality this person was a natural fit when they volunteered to help with the Special Events and Sponsorship Committee.  With enthusiastic energy they were instrumental in the creation and success of the new Summer Social Event last July.  No job is too big or too small for this nominee.  Whether it is hand making props, arranging for Santa to make a special appearance at the Holiday Luncheon or helping to increase our social media impressions at events – our nominee is always ready to take on the challenge.

This positive, can-do attitude has been instrumental in helping to elevate the experience of our members at our 2016 social events. Presently our nominee is bringing her infectious energy and creativity to the Conference Committee in the role of Co- Chair of the Expo.

As a member of CAEM this nominee has shown the desire to learn, and to be an active, contributing volunteer for the improvement of both this association and the events industry.

It is for these reasons and many more that Lerna Gurunluoglu, CEM from Restaurants Canada is the 2017 Rising Star Award recipient.

Acceptance Speech by Lerna Gurunluoglu, CEM:

I have a few words I’d like to share. During my adolescent years, I was never sure of what I wanted to study, what I wanted to become or what profession I wanted to pursue. I just knew that whatever I studied or did, I would give it my hundred percent. I guess that showed me that I take pride in everything I do.

About 7 yrs ago, one of my best friends encouraged me to go back to school to study event management. She saw something in me that I never realized. She saw my passion for events. Because of her I am truly grateful that I have found my industry and love what I do. So I want to give a shout out to Teanna who is here as my guest this evening. Thank you Teanna!

Winning this Rising Star award means a lot to me because it means that this association and the talented professionals who are a part of it, see my passion and dedication too. From day one, CAEM has given me a feeling of belonging and encouragement. Two years ago I decided to work towards getting my CEM. I’m proud to say I have completed and earned this internationally recognized designation. Taking the courses allowed me to learn from my peers and led me to meeting amazing new friends.  Achieving a CEM designation is definitely a milestone in my life that I would have never imagined. With the support of my family, friends, colleagues and peers, I can truly say that I am blessed and I will continue to RISE and make you all proud.

Thank you again

Past Recipients of the Rising Star Award

2017: Lerna Gurunluoglu, CEM, Business Development Coordinator, Restaurants Canada

2016: Avery Levitt, CEM, Marketing and IT Manager, SX Marketing Inc.

2015: Kelly Antonaros, CEM, Manager of Operations – Zoomer Shows, Zoomer Media

2014: Kyle Dugan, CEM, Event Coordinator – CONEXSYS Registration Ltd