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Events Industry Council features the 2018 Pacesetter Awardees

Oct 03, 2018

Jeff Chase, Zena Phillips, CMP, CPCE and Jessie States, CMP, CMM

Washington, D.C. (3 October 2018) — The Events Industry Council continues the tradition of celebrating the best and brightest in the events industry with their Hall of Leaders and Pacesetter awards programmes. Three Pacesetter award winners will be recognised at the 2018 Hall of Leaders and Pacesetter awards celebration on 16 October 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada, during IMEX America.

Established in 2012, the Pacesetter Awards recognise the valuable contributions individuals are making to impact the events industry today as well as charting the course for a thriving future. The 2018 Pacesetter award winners are recognised for their contributions for sustainability and corporate social responsibility, innovation and as a young professional in the events industry.

Pacesetter for Innovation – Zena Phillips, CMP, CPCE

Zena PhillipsZena Phillips, CMP, CPCE, President-Elect, Foundation of the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) and Senior Director, Luxury Catering & Events, Hilton Americas, was nominated by NACE for the Innovation award.

In her 20 plus years of experience, Zena worked her way up through the industry after beginning her career as a meeting planner for a non-profit organisation. She transitioned into catering sales and operations in the sports and entertainment industry before starting her career at Hilton 13 years ago.

Zena is actively involved in catering and events through industry and association participation. Zena has served on the national board of the Foundation of NACE for three years, as well as serving on NACE national committees for three years. She contributed to the Professional Reference Guide, the primary manual accompanying the CPCE designation. In addition to national involvement, Zena served on a local level as a board member for the South Florida chapter of NACE.

Pacesetter for Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility – Jeff Chase

jeff-chaseJeff Chase, Vice President of Sustainability, Freeman, was nominated by Freeman for the Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility award.

Jeff learned the events and exhibition business starting from the ground and moving up from there. After spending eight years expanding the Networld+Interop show to one of the largest tradeshows in the industry, Jeff branched out to start his own successful event production agency, Chase Marketing Group. After working with clients such as eBay, PayPal, Visa and Google, Wachovia Capital Investors purchased Chase Marketing Group, which rebranded as Immersa Marketing, a company of Wheelhouse Solutions Group. Freeman purchased Wheelhouse in 2011 and Immersa later became FreemanXP. Jeff then created a position at Freeman to lead the development of sustainability.

Jeff served as the local Chapter President of IAEE Northern California, was a featured traveling speaker for IAEE Foundation, a presenter or moderator at PCMA, IAEE, EDPA, ESCA, IMEX and other global industry events and is currently the Immediate Past Chair of the Events Industry Council Sustainability Initiative.

Pacesetter for Young Professional – Jessie States, CMP, CMM

jesse-statesJessie States, CMP, CMM, Manager of Professional Development, Meeting Professionals International (MPI), was nominated by MPI for the Young Professional award.

With a passion for education and a reputation for being the face of MPI at Future Leader Forums and industry events around the world, Jessie also is a sustainability and CSR pacesetter.

Jessie also acts as the internal CSR and sustainability champion, where she recommends internal and event policies that can reduce MPI’s global footprint and works closely with MPI's event host committees to create engaging and meaningful CSR activations.


“The Events Industry Council is excited to have these three deserving professionals be recognised for their contributions in innovation, sustainability and as an emerging leader in our industry,” said Karen Kotowski, CMP, CAE, CEO of the Events Industry Council. “They have made a significant impact on our industry and act as role models and inspiration for other professionals to learn from.”

Visit the Events Industry Council website for more information about 2018 Hall of Leaders and Pacesetters awards celebration table packages and individual tickets to attend the event on 16 October 2018 at the Jewel Nightclub at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.


The Events Industry Council’s more than 30 member organisations represent over 103,500 individuals and 19,500 firms and properties involved in the events industry. The Events Industry Council’s vision is to be the global champion for event professionals and event industry excellence. We promote high standards and professionalism in the events industry with the Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) programme and our four signature programmes — Sustainability, Industry Insights, Knowledge, and Leadership — that represent the key initiatives, assets, services and products for the Events Industry Council. Learn more online at