2021 Sam Gilmer Award Winners and Chapter Honors Announced


The Society of Government Meeting Professionals celebrated together, both in-person and virtually, the Sam Gilmer Awards celebration during the 2021 National Education Conference in Huntsville, Alabama held at the Von Braun Center. Members were glad to be back together and ready to congratulate their chapters and peers for their accomplishments.

Individual National Awards – Sam Gilmer Award Winners

The 2021 Sam Gilmer Planner of the Year was presented to Annette Wallace, CMP, CGMP, who began her two-year term as National President July 1, 2021. Her leadership, stewardship, and consistent contributions to SGMP to boost membership, support chapter leadership and build sponsorship revenue were a few of the reasons she was selected for the award. An Event Manager for the Hawthorn Foundation in cooperation with the Missouri Governor’s Office, Wallace organizes the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Economic Development and the Kit Bond Citizen Leadership Award Dinner.
The 2021 Sam Gilmer Supplier of the Year was presented to Wayne Callis, CGMP, who currently serves as a SGMP Gilmer Institute of Learning Fundraising Trustee, 40th Anniversary Cookbook leader, and Silent Auction leader. He is sales manager, government/military, for VisitNorfolk. Callis received the award for his tireless volunteer and leadership efforts nationally and with two chapters, Old Dominion and the National Capital.

SGMP President’s Award

The awards continued with the President’s Award, which SGMP Immediate Past President Michelle Milligan, MSW, LMSW, CGMP, presented to Marie Arighi, CMP, CHSP, CGMP, for helping coordinate and promote the Society’s hybrid 2021 National Education Conference, elevating the Society’s social media presence and orchestrating the Society’s 40th anniversary activities. Arighi is the director of sales and event services for the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

Michelle Milligan gave a second President’s Award to all SGMP supplier members to recognize how important government suppliers are to the success of SGMP for the next 40 years. She says, “Suppliers are the half that makes SGMP membership a whole. They work with SGMP providing locations for the NEC to hosting National Board meetings, to brainstorming ideas on how to open books to bring in more planner members, to hosting chapter events, serving on national board, the GIL and chapter boards to becoming lifelong friends to many of us…”

Milligan also recognized Rob Coffman, CGMP, who served on the SGMP National Board as National President and then Immediate Past President for many years. We celebrate his long-standing contributions to the Society, our chapters and members. Coffman is senior advisor, treasury operations for the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

SGMP Chapter Awards

SGMP chapters were honored for their excellence and efforts during a challenging year as chapters learned to deliver programming virtually and in other creative ways.

Chapter Operations Award

  • Excellence: Michigan, National Capital, Northern Lights
  • Merit: Louisiana, Old Dominion, Rocky Mountain

Communications of the Year Award

  • 1st Place – Michigan
  • 2nd Place – Rocky Mountain
  • 3rd Place – Old Dominion

Program of the Year Award

  • 1st Place – Pacific Northwest
  • 2nd Place – National Capital
  • 3rd Place – Michigan

Please join us as we congratulate all our winners!