Executive Director, Baltimore Convention Center
Nominated by the Baltimore Convention Center Staff
Shaping the Industry
In 1978, Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer selected Peggy Daidakis to put together a Convention and Visitors Bureau office to sell what would become the Baltimore Convention Center. Eight years later, she was promoted to Executive Director of the Baltimore Convention Center, becoming the first woman to manage and operate a convention center in the United States. In addition to making history, Peggy has also shaped the industry by demonstrating a totally different leadership style. An interesting trait of Peggy’s is that even today, with a staff of 350, she goes out of her way to meet each and every employee and remembers and addresses them each by their first names.
Single Most Important Contribution
Peggy has led the Baltimore Convention Center in its commitment to building and implementing an innovative environmental management system based on four essential areas: energy efficiency, environmental design, environmentally-friendly products and services, and waste management. Under Peggy’s tutelage, these initiatives place the Baltimore Convention Center as a green leader in the industry.
Peggy is actively involved in many aspects of the industry, including fostering relationships and developing best practices, particularly with respect to the convention center’s exclusive partners, with whom she works to assure that the center is offering its customers a range of innovative services and products, from new technology to haute cuisine. Peggy makes it a priority to direct the Baltimore Convention Center in a manner that demonstrates to clients that staff and partners work as one team. She believes that success is measured by the total experience at the center not a singular portion.
Distinguished Achievements of Lasting Value
Peggy’s outstanding contributions to the industry have been recognized by numerous awards, including International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Board of Trustees Recognition, Visit Baltimore’s Honorary William Donald Schaefer Award, Centerplate’s 2013 Promise Award, “1999 Professional of the Year” by Southwestern Academy of Hospitality, and “2008 Women of Influence Award Winner,” by Venues Today. As an executive director of a major convention center, Peggy also utilized her position, knowledge, and connections to mentor other women in the industry.
Outstanding Service to Industry Organizations
In 2006, IAVM and Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI), formed a committee called the DMAI-IAVM (formerly IAAM) Liaison Group. The focus of the group was to enhance the customer destination experience by providing consistency and communication between destination marketing organizations and convention facilities. With Peggy serving as co-chair on the project, representing IAVM and convention centers, the committee identified nine (9) best practices in sales and operations that ensure a seamless experience for the customer utilizing the destination and convention center, regardless of the business or operating model.
Contributions to Society
Peggy volunteers and is the chair of the facilities committee at her church, the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Annunciation. Also active in the Combined Charities Campaign at the Baltimore Convention Center, her staff set an all time high contribution record in 2012, donating $8,464.90— a seven percent increase from the previous year’s donations. In addition to her volunteer efforts through work and church, Peggy provides support to The National Academy Foundation of Baltimore and the Old Otterbein Church.