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Hall of Leaders

2024 DMAW Hall of Leaders Award
Call for Nominations

Deadline for nominations: Friday, May 17, 2024

The DMAW’s Hall of Leaders is our association’s highest honor. The origins of this award go back more than 60 years and have included such industry greats such as Hal Malchow (2013), Roger Craver (1986), Richard Viguerie (1972), and Austin Kiplinger (1987). Just check out the phenomenal "hall of honorees" below!

Previously known as the Professional Man of the Year, Professional of the Year and the Award for Distinguished Achievement, the award was renamed in 2014 to acknowledge the breadth and depth of luminaries that have been honored.

Is there a professional you have worked with who has been impactful in your life and in the industry, so much so that the individual needs to be recognized for their amazing contributions? Here’s your chance to recognize that individual… nominate the professional for the 2024 Hall of Leaders Award.

It’s easier than ever to nominate a professional!

Just click here to use an interactive pdf:
 2024 DMAW Hall of Leaders Nomination Form


Click here to complete an online form: 2024 DMAW Hall of Leaders Call for Nominations 

The Award is based on the following criteria:

  • Current membership and a high level of personal involvement (Committee Member, Event Volunteer, Board Member, etc.) in and dedication to the activities and objectives of the DMAW;
  • Notable individual accomplishments in their professional career spanning at least 10 years;
  • Demonstrable contributions made to furthering knowledge and careers of direct marketing professionals through mentoring, teaching, writing, etc.;
  • Recipient of national awards, individual recognition, recognized competence, or major contributions to other direct marketing organizations;
  • The award is given to an individual, not a company, organization, or group;
  • Nominations are only valid for one year and do not hold over. You may re-nominate a candidate who has not previously won.

We have a rigorous vetting process for candidates that takes a couple of months. So, all nominations must be in by the deadline, Friday, May 17, 2024.

Any member of DMAW can nominate a candidate for this award. The Hall of Leaders Steering Committee will do the work of acquiring the information and interviewing the person for details. You just need to let us know that this person deserves to be recognized!

The Honoree will be announced in September and recognized at our annual awards event,
The Best of Direct, on Wednesday, December 4 at the National Housing Center.


Best of Direct Gala
Wednesday, December 4, 2024
National Housing Center in Washington, DC!  

Best of Direct is a fantastic recognition award event, as well as a great kick-off party for the holiday season! It’s a phenomenal way to celebrate the year-end with colleagues and friends, as well as looking forward to a new year!

John Bell


John Bell
Vice President of Sales, MMI Direct

Marvin Dawson, Vice President of MMI Direct has this to say about John… “…I have been so thankful to be a teammate of John’s for over 30 years. No one has more energy – which goes without saying – and dedication than John. He is the first person to give credit to others and not take any for himself… which is actually kind of annoying… He likes to say ‘I’m the lunch guy’ and all of these other people are the ones that get everything done. 

John is the glue that keeps MMI Direct connected to everyone and everything outside of our four walls. The honor that is being bestowed on John by the DMAW is so well deserved… I’m just sorry I can’t be there tonight to help with this celebration of John. Go Blue!”

John's life, as captured by Marvin's quote, reflects the essence of a man who defied expectations and embraced a journey uniquely his own. With three older sisters, John enjoyed the luxury of no hand-me-downs and the freedom to carve his distinctive path. Post-graduation from the University of Michigan, his initial plans for bartending and carefree travel took an unexpected turn.

Guided by a nudge from his father, John's career unfolded into a trajectory that not only shaped his professional identity but also introduced him to Laurie, his lifelong travel partner and future wife. Landing at Wiland and Associates in Alexandria, VA marked a pivotal moment, setting the stage for a flourishing direct marketing career. His subsequent role with PSA brought him to Los Angeles, where his second enduring partnership, this time professional, blossomed with Marvin Dawson.

The duo's move to MMI Direct marked a strategic decision to focus on their strengths – data hygiene and processing – while dedicating efforts to serving the nonprofit sector. The success of MMI Direct was sealed when they joined the PMG family in 2009, a move that reflected foresight and a commitment to sustained growth.

John's dedication to philanthropy knows no bounds. Joining the DMFA board in 2007, he continues to contribute his time and expertise. In 2010, alongside David Whitehead and Tracy Lea, he assumed control of the Bridge Conference sponsorship committee, steering it for seven years and consistently growing revenues.

In 2013, John's leadership shone as he became the overall co-chair of the 8th Annual Bridge Conference, overseeing remarkable growth in attendance, sponsorships, and exhibits. His involvement extended to the DMA Nonprofit Federation (now ANA Nonprofit Federation), where he generously shared his time and expertise.

A key player in the nonprofit sector, John, alongside industry leaders, played an integral role in establishing The Nonprofit Alliance in 2018. This organization embodies the very principles that John, a man of action, lives by – promoting, protecting, and strengthening the nonprofit sector.

Driven by a passion for education and mentorship, John's legacy includes the creation of DM101 over 15 years ago, a program attended by over 2,500 young professionals in DC and NY. DMAW has benefited from this program at least 14 times. His contributions extend to DM201, attended by 1,500, and a Production Seminar in NY and Boston.

Reflecting on John Bell's journey, one finds a man who defies conventional narratives and paves his own way. His story is a testament to the power of individuality, resilience, and a commitment to making a lasting impact.

Previous DMAW Hall of Leaders Award Recipients

Tracy Lea, CFRE

Roger Hiyama

Tiffany Neill

Kate Carr

Allison Porter

Greg Adams

Rick Powell

Rob Rudderow Jr.

Geoffrey Peters

Hal Malchow

Greg Albright

George McDonnell

Syma Mendelsohn

Rick Whelan

Jinny Fleischman

Denny Byrne

George Lizama

Jonah Gitlitz*

Karen Depew

Jean Gianfagna

Liz Murphy

Charles Cadigan

Patricia Silver

Linda L. Fisher

Michael O'Hara*

Sherry Marshall

Shephen H. Winchell

James V. Bullard

James Prendergast*

William T. Armistead*

Catherine R. Lincoln

Lu Corbett Daly

C. David Wallace

Jordan M. Lowenstein*

Kathryn A. Smiley

Austin Kiplinger*

Roger Craver

M. Virginia Daly

Kate Petranech

James G. Aldige III

Thomas M. Beers*

Ed* and Clyde Sisk

John Murchake*

1979: John Carlin*

1978: Gwen Fitzpatrick*

1977: Paddy Skinder

1976: Bob Ames*

1975: Robert Warfel*

1974: Eileen Charney*

1973: Orville Shirey*

1972: Richard Viguerie

1971: Dorothy Kerr

1970: Roland Kuniholm*

1969: John Jay Daly*

1968: Jim Dimond

1967: Stan Mayes*

1966: Edwin Riley*

1965: Ralph Ives*

1964: Ferd Nauheim*

1963: Guy Yolton*

1962: Anthony Gould*

1961: Jack Fauntleroy

1960: Troy Rodlum*

1959: Boyce Morgan*

1958: Rodney Daffer*