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Karen Churchard Inducted into the International Festivals & Events Association Hall of Fame

September 23, 2013 Accolades No Comments Email Email

The Arizona Office of Tourism is proud to announce that one of the festival and events industry’s finest professionals, Karen Churchard, Assistant Deputy Director at the Arizona Office of Tourism, has been inducted into the prestigious International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) Hall of Fame. Karen was honored Monday, September 16, 2013, during the 58th Annual IFEA Convention & Expo, in Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

Karen Churchard, assistant deputy director at the Arizona Office of Tourism. (Photo: Business Wire)

Karen Churchard, assistant deputy director at the Arizona Office of Tourism. (Photo: Business Wire)

Known as the association’s most prestigious honor, the IFEA Hall of Fame recognizes those outstanding individuals who, through their exceptional work and achievements, have made a significant contribution to the festivals and events industry and a profound difference in the communities they serve. Induction into the Hall of Fame is considered the highest of industry honors. Selected from a group of her industry peers, Karen joins the prestigious ranks of 53 others inducted into the hall over the past 22 years.

For many, playing in the pros is a dream. But Karen Churchard has been working with the big boys for years, with a career trajectory that has led to prominence in multimillion-dollar football circles and landed her a key role in Arizona’s tourism industry.

In 1981, Karen began an internship at the Fiesta Bowl, which as the success of Fiesta Bowl took off, Karen’s job followed, dramatically expanding and changing its focus. Her role as events intern matured into director of special events, and finally vice president of operations, overseeing all 50+ special events, two college bowl games, staff and volunteers. Karen was also instrumental in writing persuasive bids that earned Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl the opportunity to host major national events including the Bowl Championship Series and the 1993 U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

After 21 years, Karen left the Fiesta Bowl to open her consulting business, where she was quickly tapped by the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau to write Arizona’s Bid for Super Bowl XLII (42), which was awarded and held in February 2008.

Karen’s preoccupation with the well-being of Arizona’s economic prosperity didn’t end with successful bids and consulting on major events. While continuing her consulting, she was hired in 2004 as President and CEO of the Arizona Tourism Alliance.

In 2007, Karen was appointed by then Governor Janet Napolitano to establish the Arizona Centennial Commission, serving as its Director and ultimately to plan and direct the state’s 100th anniversary of statehood.

Karen continues to work in state government as the Assistant Deputy Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism overseeing Strategic Planning and Research for the state agency. In her role, she also consults with the agency’s director on sponsorships of major events in Arizona and is assisting the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee with the planning of Super Bowl XLIX (49) in 2015.

Much of Karen’s expertise is credited to her years of being actively involved in the IFEA as she has served as a long-time member of the IFEA Presidents Council, was elected to the IFEA Board of Directors in 1993 and served in several capacities including Chairman of the Board in 2000. Karen also served eight years on the IFEA Foundation Board.

Karen says she’s blessed beyond words having had the opportunity to be so involved in the sporting, festival and tourism business. Her Arizona peers who collectively nominated her for this prestigious award said she is the ultimate event professional, has been a huge difference maker to the industry, and they couldn’t even begin to describe the void that would exist if she had not dedicated her life’s work to the field.

“It’s all so humbling,” Karen says. “I’m touched by my peers in Arizona for nominating me. And, I know I would not have accomplished much without the advice, networking and camaraderie I experienced for so many years by such an amazing group of individuals and the incredible organization that is the IFEA.”

For an in-depth look at Karen Churchard, Click Here.

“I’ve had the honor of working with Karen for more than 25 years, and there is no one better deserving than she to receive this prestigious award,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “With a well established track record in organizing statewide festivals and events, from Fiesta Bowl activities to the celebration of Arizona’s Centennial, Karen has accomplished phenomenal work for our state.”

Past inductees include Dan Mangeot, CFEE (D), Kentucky Derby Festival (1992), George Zambelli (D), Zambelli Fireworks (1993), John H.B. “Jack” French, Pasadena Tournament of Roses (1996), Jean McFaddin, Macy’s Parade and Events (1999), Robert (Bob) Jackson (D), Consultant (2003), and most recently Therese St. Onge, National Capital Commission (2006), Mike Berry, CFEE, Kentucky Derby Festival (2008), and Kirk Hendrix, 500 Festival (2010), just to name a few.

Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) is The Premiere Association Supporting and Enabling Festival & Event Professionals Worldwide. In partnership with global affiliates under the umbrellas of IFEA Africa, IFEA Asia, IFEA Australia, IFEA Europe, IFEA Latin America, IFEA Middle East (MENASA), and IFEA North America the organization’s common vision is for “A Globally United Industry that Touches Lives in a Positive Way through Celebration.” The Association offers the most complete source of ideas, resources, information, education and networking for festival and event professionals worldwide. Visit the IFEA website for additional details.

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