TSNN Unveils 2021 TSNN DEI and Women’s Leadership Awards; Innovation and Show Pro Finalists

October 24, 2021

The 2021 TSNN Awards, on tap Dec. 1-2 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn., will honor an incredible group of people and trade shows for leadership, innovation, courage and stepping out of the box during challenging times.

Diversified Communications’ President Mary Larkin and Mad Event Management President/Founder Martha Donato have both made extraordinary efforts to not only raise the profile of, but also support women in the trade show and events industry.

As a result, TSNN is excited to announce that they will both receive the 2021 Women’s Leadership Award.

“Alongside Martha, we are delighted to receive this award for several reasons.  I am passionate about helping other women increase their visibility, advocate for themselves and know they have a voice and the support from other women in the industry as they move forward in their careers,” Larkin said.

She added, “It is important that we continue to work to improve the number of women who rise through the ranks in our industry, so newcomers have role models as well as mentors and advocates as they navigate their careers.  I couldn’t be happier than to receive this award with Martha who has been the person who kept many women together during the pandemic and has been a lifeline to many in our industry.”

Larkin is the immediate past chair of UFI, the Global Association for the Exhibition Industry, and was the organization’s first female chair. She serves on many industry Boards, including the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) where she is currently serving a Secretary and Treasurer and is a Board member of the Exhibitions and Conferences Alliance and as Past President of the Board of Directors for the Center for Grieving Children in Portland, Maine.


"It's such an honor to receive this award from TSNN. To be able to share it with my friend, Mary Larkin, is a wonderful way to underscore the importance and significance of the award itself,” Martha said.

She added, “We have both championed women's leadership in the exhibitions industry, each of us in our own vision of what is needed at this time, and always in complementary ways. It's a reminder of the African proverb - If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

In January of 2021, Donato co-founded and became the President of the International Women in Exhibitions Network North America Chapter. Women in Exhibitions Network was launched in 2018 with the aim of supporting the continued professional development of women working in exhibitions and providing opportunities for them to meet and network.

Donato also spearheaded a weekly Zoom meeting for women in the trade show industry that offered invaluable support to those that took part.

Along with these two amazing leaders, TSNN will be honoring Ray Rhodes, Global Director Inclusion, Diversity for RX Global, as the 2021 TSNN DEI Leadership Award honoree.

After several years of intensive engagement with Inclusion and Diversity programs, including launching and leading RXUS Pride, the first Employee Resource Group (ERG) to be introduced at RX, Rhodes was appointed the Global Director of Inclusion and Diversity for the business in April 2021.

Rhodes has launched a number of important initiatives across RX, including forming the RX Global Inclusion Council, an I&D advisory board comprised of RX colleagues from 19 countries, representing many cultures and diversity dimensions. He and his team deliver programs that promote unconscious bias awareness, team psychological safety, equality allyship and inclusive leadership.


“It’s a great honor to be awarded the inaugural TSNN DEI Leadership Award. I am so fortunate to work in an industry that I love, and for an organization that shares my passion for making a positive impact on society, our colleagues, and our customers through our unique contributions as a business,” Rhodes said.

He added, “ This award is recognition that we have started on the journey, a journey that a community of over 140 RX’ers worldwide have volunteered to be a part of, so that together we will drive our culture of inclusion and belonging, internally and externally  I want to thank our CEO, Hugh Jones, and the entire RX Executive Leadership Team for their unwavering support and sponsorship – genuinely showing that you have to lead from the front in order to make a difference. I can’t wait to come back and share our progress in the coming months.”





The 2021 TSNN Awards will be honoring the following individual trade show professionals for outstanding leadership:


Todd Moritz                Opus Agency  

Martha Donato           Mad Event Management

Andria Gibbon             NATDA

Michelle Swayze         Informa Markets        

Lydia Janow                Informa/Aviation Week        

Dorothy Belshaw          World Market Center

Gene O'Neill                North American Veterinary Community

Manolita Moore         North American Veterinary Community


The 2021 TSNN Awards will be honoring shows that have really shone bright. Here are the finalists for the following awards:


Best Use of Technology

SAP TechEd 2020


The International Surface Event (TISE)

Brave, Courageous, Adaptable

World of Concrete


Nightclub and Bar Show

Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX) 2021

Pathfinder Award


Offprice Show


Created a Community

MRO Americas/Community Forum


Channel Partners Conference & Expo

Savvy Marketing Campaign

ISSA Show North America - Virtual Experience

The Utility Expo

Trailblazer Award

Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo

Thrive Energy Conference

Dallas Market Center June 2021 Markets

All of the honorees, winners and finalists above will be celebrated at the 2021 TSNN Awards – for more information please visit www.T-awards.com

For information on sponsoring, contact John Rice – jrice@tsnn.com or Arlene Shows ashows@tarsusus.com.

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Partner Voices

As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework: