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CS + TSE Announces Annual Leadership Award Recipients

Congratulations to the outstanding individuals who have impacted the industry this year!

We at Catersource + The Special Event are happy to announce the 2023 Leadership Award winners! 

These awards honor individuals who have gone above and beyond in their work to elevate and impact the industry. Congratulations to this year's winners: 

The Special Events Lifetime Achievement Award 
Michael Cerbelli (Cerbelli Creative, NY, NY)


Michael Cerbelli has been in the live events industry for over 44 years, beginning at just age 13 with some turntables and a dream. Being born and raised in Brooklyn, Cerbelli’s passion is to do more than create incredible experiences, but to also be an inspiration to the events community. In 2019,  Cerbelli was inducted into the event industry Hall of Fame by BizBash for his decades of experience working in event design and production, meetings, hospitality and sponsorships, corporate events, rentals, and more.

Michael Roman Lifetime Achievement 
Warren Dietel (Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, Orlando and Tampa FL)


Unprecedented service and superior quality are the driving principles behind Warren Dietel’s success as an entrepreneur and established business owner. Prior to owning and operating Puff ‘n Stuff Catering, Dietel made his mark in the business community both in private ventures and with recognized leaders such as Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Institute, and Scott Kay Platinum. Upon the acquisition of Puff ‘n Stuff Catering in 2003, Dietel set out to grow Central Florida’s premier catering operation into a full-service event company.  His priorities were enlarging and strengthening infrastructure and moving operations into a purpose-built production facility by 2006. With strong sales growth and business development efforts, Puff ‘n Stuff Catering joined forces with a leading Tampa competitor and launched in 2010.  A second production facility in Tampa opened in 2015 to serve clients on the west coast of the Sunshine State.  Puff ‘n Stuff Catering is recognized as a national leader in the catering and special event industries with honors including the Catersource ACE Award, ICA CATIE Award for Best Dessert, and Event Solutions Spotlight Award for Catering Company of the Year. Dietel is an active member of several industry associations including ICA, NACE, MPI, FRLA, ECEP, EPCAS, and ILEA, and previously served as a Director for the International Caterers Association. 

Richard Carbotti Volunteerism Award 
Kate Patay (Chairperson, SEARCH Foundation)


Kate Patay, CPCE, is the Chief Strategy Officer of Patay Consulting, a firm designed to help businesses and individuals identify their unique brand and voice. She is an international speaker & consultant, SEARCH Foundation Chairwoman and ambassador for Meetings Mean Business. Patay has been a recognized industry professional, brand ambassador and influencer for over 20 years in many facets of live events, and has served on the boards of numerous industry organizations. She currently speaks for and coaches some of the top leaders and companies in our industry and beyond. Her list of achievements and recognition is immense, but some highlights are: The coveted Pacesetter Award from the Events Industry Council, the Smart Meetings HOF, and numerous other organizational awards. In 2021 she was recognized as the NACE Icon and one of the Top 25 Women Who Run Events, as well as a Top 20 Global Professional to Follow by Cvent; 2020 brought her praise as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Global Events, Top Keynote Speaker, and a Top 14 Changemaker.

First ever MeetingsNet Lifetime Achievement 
Michael Dominguez (CEO, Associated Luxury Hotels International)


Michael Dominguez has been advocating for the events industry for over 30 years. He has held c-level positions–currently the President and CEO of ALHI–and prior to this, the Senior Vice President and CSO for MGM Resorts International, one of the premier global hospitality companies. In addition, he takes an active role in dedicating his time to serve on several industry boards, lead keynote speaking sessions and contribute to numerous articles that provide thoughtful insight, tips, and tools for the MICE industry.

Join Us In Celebrating

You can show your support in congratulating these exceptional leaders during our annual ACE, GALA, and ICA CATIE Awards, which will be presented Thursday, March 30, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at this year’s Catersource + The Special Event in Orlando. With a kick off keynote by Michael Cerbelli and lifetime achievement and volunteerism awards added to this event, this will be an unforgettable evening.

A nominee reception will be held from 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the Orange County Convention Center Lobby.

Congratulations to our winners! We are excited to join everyone in honoring these individuals this March. 

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