NC professor receives prestigious hospitality industry award in Washington, D.C.

It was the Oscars of the business events industry, and the outstanding contributions of a Niagara College professor stole the spotlight.

Janet Jakobsen, a faculty member in the College’s Hospitality and Tourism programs, recently made history at the Professional Convention Management Association’s 2016 Visionary Awards, held in Washington D.C., as the first female Canadian to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Jakobsen, who received her award in the Educator Honoree category, was one of three luminaries honoured at the event held which drew more than 1,000 industry professionals.

“As a 2016 PCMA Education Foundation Lifetime Achievement honoree, Janet Jakobsen, CMP, MBA embodies the word ‘visionary,’” said PCMA executive director, Meredith Rollins. “Janet has advanced the hospitality industry as both a professional and educator, and has truly been a trailblazer. We are pleased to recognize her many accomplishments.”

Jakobsen, a Toronto resident, is a fifth generation hotelier who worked for a variety of companies in the hospitality industry before beginning her career as an educator at NC in 2008. A PCMA member since 1993, she was instrumental to introducing the association to Canada and served as a founding board member for its Canada East Chapter. She was the first Canadian to chair the PCMA’s International Education Committee in addition to being one of the first Canadians to obtain the Certified Meeting Planner designation 20 years ago.

Jakobsen noted that her involvement with the PCMA has played a key role in her personal and professional growth – including the fact that it was catalyst for completing her master’s degree at the age of 41. She is also grateful for how it has opened doors for her students.

“The PCMA has been very influential in my life and career and, since I arrived at NC, I am grateful for the substantial support that the College has given me to continue participating,” she said. “As I introduce my students to the PCMA, I believe it equips them with real-world industry experience that not only enriches their learning while at the College, but will continue to benefit them as they build their own careers and make their mark on this exciting industry.”

Jakobsen has organized student attendance at the PCMA’s Convening Leaders conference since 2009. In 2013, she escorted a record number of NC students to the PCMA’s Boston meeting; five of them were selected as the first Canadians to be recruited as Interns for a 15,000-person international conference in Washington D.C. organized by Precision Meeting and Events the following year.

“We applaud the recognition of Janet’s achievements, both professionally and as an educator,” said the College’s dean of Business, Hospitality and Environment Vivian Kinnaird. “Her wealth of knowledge and experience not only enhances learning in our classrooms, but she brings the industry to life for our students, exposing them to high-profile industry events in Canada and the U.S., and sharing her expertise as a mentor to the next generation of Hospitality professionals.”

This wasn’t the first award for Jakobsen. Two years ago, she was inducted into Meetings + Incentive Travel’s Hall of Fame as its 2014 Industry Mentor.

About the PCMA
The PCMA is the definitive authority in education, business networking and community engagement for leaders in the global meetings, convention and business events industry. With more than 6,500 members and 50,000 customers PCMA drives innovation through risk taking, research and data driven decision making. Visit

About NC
Located at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, Niagara College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports is at the epicentre of the Hospitality, Tourism and Golf industry. Niagara is Canada’s golf capital and Niagara welcomes millions of visitors annually. Hospitality, Tourism and Sport offers a variety of programs including Sport Management, Event Management, Golf Management, Hospitality, Tourism, Spa, Esthetics and Bachelor of Business Administration: Hospitality.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit

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