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TSE’s Irene Sperling Receives CSPI Award

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
February 9, 2016
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Washington, DC – Trade Show Executive’s (TSE) own Irene Sperling is this year’s recipient of the annual Shawn Corwin-Myland Award presented by Convention Sales Professionals International (CSPI) February 8 at the CSPI Annual Conference and 25th Anniversary Celebration in Washington, DC. 

 Sperling Sparkles. TSE’s Irene Sperling (center) is this year’s recipient of CSPI’s Shawn Crowin-Mylan Award. She accepted the honor in Washington with CSPI President Russell Kice and Past Presidents Sherry Chambers (L) and Stacy Knoppel (R).

Sperling Sparkles. TSE’s Irene Sperling (center) is this year’s recipient of CSPI’s Shawn Crowin-Mylan Award. She accepted the honor in Washington with CSPI President Russell Kice and Past Presidents Sherry Chambers (L) and Stacy Knoppel (R).

The prestigious award is named after former CSPI president, Shawn Corwin-Myland, a longstanding member and past president of the association who lost her battle with cancer in October 2006. The award is presented to a CSPI member who is considered to be “a leader and a contributor” to the association and its mission of serving the cities and individuals in the convention sales field. Sperling was one of four nominees for the award, and was voted as the one who exceeded the qualifications.

“This award is a huge honor considering all of the award recipients who came before me,” said Sperling, Vice President and Associate Publisher of TSE. “It is especially rewarding that this award is in the name of Shawn Corwin, who I admired for her dedication and giving nature.”

Sperling joined a distinguished list of past honorees, including Cathy Keller, Director of Sales for the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau; Sandi Harvey, Director of Convention Sales for the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority; and last year’s recipient, Fred Wise, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.

Sperling joined TSE in 2003 after serving as Publisher of Reed Business Information’s Tradeshow Week. She is an active member of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), serving on numerous committees through the years and also on the board of the local chapter, SWIAEE. She is a frequent speaker and a familiar and welcoming face at industry events around the world. 

Sperling began her career working with Skip Farber and his team on the International Security Conference which was later acquired by Reed Exhibitions. She also was the Show Manager of the Kitchen and Bath show before being tapped to move over as Advertising Manager for Reed’s Tradeshow Week.

“When I started in this business, I had no idea what a trade show was,” Sperling said. “But I learned quickly that this is a people business and no one can be successful in it without those people who help them along the way.” She thanked TSE President Darlene Gudea who she has worked with since 1979, and the writers and logistics team who all make her success possible. She also credited one of her mentors, the late Bob Krakoff, who was her boss in the ‘80s. “Bob was one of the first CEOs in our industry to hire and promote women to such a huge extent and entrust young people with a lot of responsibility to help them – and the company – grow,” she said.

Sperling has a trove of memories about the early days of the exhibition industry. A particularly memorable glitch at the security conference came when a career thief was booked as a speaker, but was picked up on a robbery charge shortly before delivering his presentation which sent the quick-on-her-feet Sperling into action to find a backup.

Sperling’s natural “stick-to-it-iveness” got her through that particular issue and helped her become a key asset in the heyday of Tradeshow Week and later Trade Show Executive. “Irene’s dedication, competency and her passion for the trade show industry has been an unwavering asset to TSE from the very beginning,” said Gudea. “She has been a mentor and friend to thousands of trade show professionals in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe and Asia over the years. This award is a well-deserved honor for one of the true luminaries and unsung heroes of our industry.”

Reach Irene Sperling at (818) 990-9108 or isperling@tradeshowexecutive.com; Darlene Gudea at (760) 630-9111 or dg@tradeshowexecutive.com; CSPI President Russell Kice at (215) 418-4755 or rkice@paconvention.com

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