Blog

Meet Nicole Zenner (CSEP), Immediate Past President ILEA Greater Chicago

Nicole Zenner joined the International Live Events Association in 2010 and admittedly did not attend many meetings her first year as a member. That changed when Sandy Sobczak recruited her to become an Event Planner on the Programs & Education Committee. Within a couple of months, she was acting VP of Programs & Education and she has been on the Board of Directors ever since. She is very proud to be the current Chicago Chapter Immediate Past President.

Nicole did not grow up in Chicago and thus, her membership with the International Live Events Association has been invaluable to her education of the events community in Chicago. There are many talented and creative event professionals that have paved the way for her and some rising stars that make her very proud to be an event professional. Nicole’s legacy as President was to empower future Chapter leaders, give gratitude to former leaders, and validate the event industry through a strong and active membership base. The passion and professionalism found within the International Live Events Association are why Nicole continues to attend conferences, like ILEA Live, and monthly chapter meetings, and why she refers fellow members to her clients. Nicole has been in the event industry for 12 years and is currently the only wedding planner in Chicago with the CSEP designation.

Getting to Know You Q & A ...

What made you interested in participating in ILEA Leadership? I wanted to hone my leadership skills and give back to the industry that I love.

What would you say are the benefits for participating in our ILEA committees? Participating in the Programs committee not only allowed me to give back to the event industry in planning some fabulous events for our Chapter, but it also allowed me to work with some event professionals that I had not yet worked with. This is where the relationships and friendships started to grow into the ILEA family that I have today.

What's your advice for those unsure where to start in becoming active in ILEA? Look at your strengths, your available time, and what you would like to learn, and then talk to someone on the Board of Directors. We know what committee positions are available that would best align with who you are and what you would like to achieve as a volunteer. Like any type of membership, getting involved is when you are going to start seeing returns.

How has ILEA made a difference in your career? Over the past six years, I have found myself in situations where my connections within ILEA have literally saved an event or allowed me to pay my bills that month. That type of network is not easy to find, and yes it does take some work, but ILEA is that type of network to me. In addition, the leadership skill building and educational opportunities provided by ILEA have furthered my development as a businesswoman in the event industry. I could not be more grateful for this community.

To reach Nicole or find out more about LK Events contact Nicole at nicole@lkeventschicago.com or (773) 391-9997.



 

Read More

Meet Erica Buss, Board of Director ILEA Greater Chicago

Erica Buss first joined ILEA and served on the N.I.C.E. Awards committee in 2012. Being new to the industry, it was the perfect way to learn a lot, get involved and meet people.  The relationships she formed right away had her hooked and she continues to form lasting professional and personal relationships that help boost her career in a positive way.  Erica’s bubbly and outgoing personality make her a perfect addition to the ILEA Chicago Board of Directors.  This is her fourth year serving on the board and she could not be more honored and pleased to take on a larger role in the betterment of this chapter this year as well as in the future.

Getting to Know You Q & A ...

What's your advice for those unsure where to start in becoming active in ILEA? Join a committee!  I started with the NICE Awards 4.5 years ago and was hooked!

What's the biggest benefit to attending the ILEA Greater Chicago Chapter programs? The connections – both professional and personal.  You can learn so much from others, create amazing partnerships, and good friends!

How has ILEA made a difference in your career? I owe where I am now to my connections through ILEA.  When I started in the industry, the company I was with encouraged me to get involved and it put me in touch with the right people.

What's one thing most people don't know about you? I can say the alphabet backwards… very fast!

To reach Erica or find out more about Food for Thought contact Erica at ebuss@fftchicago.com or (847) 745.5153



 

Read More

Meet Brian Donahoe, Director of Marketing & Communications ILEA Greater Chicago

Brian Donahoe has been active with the Greater Chicago chapter of ILEA since 2014, where he was a member of the Programs & Education committee, as well as the Marketing & Communications committee. Since joining the board as Director of Marketing & Communications, Brian oversees the daily social media posts as well as assisting the VP of Mar/Comm with strategy and development.  Outside of ILEA, Brian is an Account Executive for agencyEA, an experiential marketing agency based in Chicago. Brian helps agencyEA's clients build relationships, influence behavior and motivate action through large-scale experiential events.

After college, Brian ventured to Chicago and began working for a corporate catering company before transitioning to a DMC, where he was instrumental in helping plan and curate distinctive and exciting events for local and international clients.

When not in the office, Brian enjoys traveling domestically and abroad, trying Chicago’s wide array of restaurants, and strengthening his knowledge of the events and marketing industry.  

Getting to Know You Q & A ...

What made you interested in participating in ILEA Leadership?  After being on the Programs & Education and Marketing & Communications committees, I decided that it was time to take the next step with ILEA and join the board of directors. The decision came from a want to increase visibility of the chapter through Marketing and Communications efforts, as well as utilizing the Board to help strengthen my leadership capabilities.

What would you say are the benefits for participating in our ILEA committees? Participating in ILEA’s committees allow for a multitude of opportunities, including: getting to know fellow members on a deeper level, both professionally and personally, adding to the success and vitality of the chapter, and gaining educational and leadership opportunities that you may not be receiving in the workplace. 

What's your advice for those unsure where to start in becoming active in ILEA?The members of ILEA, both locally and internationally, are some of the nicest and welcoming individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. My advice, for someone who isn’t sure where to begin their ILEA journey, is to attend an event and spark up a conversation with a member. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some amazing individuals help guide me on my ILEA journey, and I know those same individuals would be more than happy to help a new member start their own journey.

What's the biggest benefit to attending the ILEA Greater Chicago Chapter programs?  ILEA Chicago offers a wide array of member programs that run the gamut in terms of social, educational, and insider events. For me, it’s all about the relationships. I love attending ILEA’s events and programs for the simple fact that I get to visit and reconnect with industry professionals and friends who I don’t necessarily get to see on a regular basis. However, ILEA provides amazing educational programming, through national speakers, as well as insider access, via venue tours and more, that non-members are not able to experience.  

How has ILEA made a difference in your career?  Through ILEA, I’ve had the opportunity to introduce my colleagues to members and their respective companies. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, in that I’m helping grow that member’s business, as well as keep my company’s knowledge of local vendors and companies current.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?  I have an irrational fear of taxicabs. I blame the movie Taken. 

To reach Brian or find out more about agencyEA contact Brian at bdonahoe@agencyea.com or 312.883.1266.

 

Read More