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Meet new ILEA Chicago member - Audia of Audia Motion and Still

 

Meet Audia....

A photographer, an artist, an in-the-moment visionary, Audia knows how to find the signal through the visual noise for over 20 years. His focus on the details, nuances to seeing the light has benefited magazines, bridal gowns, celebrities from presidents to Vera Wang to anyone in front of his camera. Audia captures moments that aren’t just beautiful, but make you feel.

My mother continually told me as a child I was a big daydreamer. I dream big! I thought everyone did. Ideas roll out of my mind at the speed of light. Maybe not the speed of light but close to it. BTW, they tried clocking my big dream ideas on the Large Hadron Collider but it was broke that day. I eventually grew up, kind of, and went into radio for 6 years. That was fun and I thought I would become the next Mancow, Larry LuJack, Greaseman, etc. 

After harboring excitement about the first time I had a camera in my hand and took a photo, around 7 or 8 years old, I decided it was time to do something with my speedy HUGE, BIG and FAST dreams and a camera was the perfect conduit. I learned from the school of hard knocks, books (pre internet), and any photographer, famous or otherwise, that would put up with me asking a bazillion and a half questions. I photographed in crazy conditions. An underground coal mine, NY runways, babies, weddings, presidents, beer ads, (ok the beer ads were difficult but had loads of fun) and whatever I need to do to make those big, fast dreams work for me or for you. 

All of these challenges and experiences along with those who came before me, make up who I am and what I see at a magnificent moment in time. Sometimes it’s with a still camera seeing the beauty or smelling the changes in light and sometimes it’s seeing the ending of a video before most people imagine the beginning. Whatever it is, it was gifted to me and I try to embrace it, utilize it, and pass it on or be the conduit to those that can’t. 

Getting to Know You Q & A ...

Who/ what inspired you to go into event photography?

I knew the moment my parents asked me to take a photo of them with the brownie, it was magic. It took me awhile to get here, but the road and experiences were worth the ride!
Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?

2 beautiful children and 2 exceptionally beautiful grandchildren are a big part of my life. And my wife, too! And my wife and I used to skydive, a whole lot. And I traveled in the US and Europe for 2 months to photograph a book for the Pope. Seriously. It’s really cool and comes out in October but I can’t talk about it so you didn’t hear this from me.

What do you love the most about what you do?

It sounds corny but besides skydiving, I am so immersed in the moment and the wonder of people and life, I loose myself. 

Where did you grow up?

Fairmont, WV. Small town. Coal mines. Pepperoni rolls. Mary Lou Retton. But close enough to Pittsburgh.

What's your event / photoshoot gone wrong horror story?

When I moved to Chicago, one of the first gigs was shooting runway for the Merchandise Mart. I was shooting with a hasselblad and black and white film. The shoot was to be in W Magazine. The leaf shutter on the camera broke after the first 3 or 4 shots. I didn’t know it until the film was developed. Most of the images looked really cool, like a long exposure drag. However, that’s not what The Mart or W was expecting. I managed to get a few images to publication and found a way back into the hearts of The Mart that lasted over 10 years.

What made you interested in participating in ILEA? 

I was photographing Vicki Bowman for some new portrait/headshots and she talked so highly about the organization and how it might be a good fit, I was hooked! Thanks Vicki!

For more information on Audia or Audia Photography Motion, you can reach him at audiapoto@me.com

 

 

 

 

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Meet Kathy Miller, ILEA Member and Owner of Total Event Resources

 

Every association has a member who has been a leader in not just your organization, but in your industry. Go to any events industry award ceremony and you'll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't know Kathy Miller.  As a frequent speaker at events and long time ILEA Chicago member, we've asked Kathy to share a little about herself below and what she humbly doesn't share is that aside from a leader and business owner, Kathy was ILEA International President from 2012-2013.

Meet Kathy Miller....

I’ve been in the industry for what feels like a really long time…I literally started my career at 17 working for Hyatt Hotels.  It was a great introduction to the industry and an amazing company to be associated with, 10 years with Hyatt was my training ground for building my event agency over the past 23 years!  Total Event Resources has been producing innovative meetings and events all over the world with Fortune 100 Corporations, Major Trade Associations and Non-for Profit organizations and ILEA has provided the global supplier partnerships to do so.  When I started my business, I knew that I needed to market my business and remember joining ILEA to “win awards”, I was sure that would provide credibility to our company.  Little did I know that not only would we build credibility through the organization, but I would serve our industry on a global basis through the 8 years that I served on the International Board and we would create hundreds of supplier partnerships and long lasting friendships all across the globe!

Personally, I’m a wife, mother of two grown young men and a grandmother to one 3 year old boy, Hudson, who lives in Australia!  Who knew that my sons would watch me travel the world and decide to live in places like Africa and Australia, thank goodness I love to travel! 

For more information on Kathy Miller or Total Event Resources, you can reach her at kmiller@total-event.com.

 

 

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ILEA Member Spotlight: Aaron Kaufman

Aaron Kaufman, CSEP Joined ILEA orginially in 2007 and works hard – with extreme passion! As the President of Fifth Element Group, a live experience firm with offices in Chicago & Toronto, it is safe to say that Aaron is an international influencer in a very competitive industry. With his finger on the pulse of business & creativity whether it’s new trends or developing strategic partnerships, Aaron always stays ahead of the game as a leader and trendsetter. 

With a long list of international award wins and nominations, including multiple Special Event Gala Awards, Fifth Element Group has been recognized for their creativity, originality and ability to push the envelope each and every time.  In addition to company accolades, Aaron is in demand as an international speaker and lecturer, has garnered attention in many industry "best of" lists and hold the prestigious industry position as the current Chairman of The SEARCH Foundation.

Getting to Know You Q & A ...

Who/ what inspired you to go into event planning? 

           I honestly believe that there have been multiple influencers and my road has been paved with experiences that have helped to shape me in to the event professional I am today.  At each juncture of my career I feel that I have met the right people to help me learn about myself, new strategies & industry benchmarks that can be attained through hard work and dedication.  Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that networking and my current network have been integral in my success and ILEA has, and continues to, give me access to some of the best seasoned industry professionals and new industry innovators.   

Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?

           My natural tendency is to prefer to spend time alone and quiet.  I credit ILEA with a lot of my confidence and have learned I want to ascend to become someone that leads the industry but when I can, I still find myself searching for quote space to catch up on sports news, watch documentaries or just spend time strategizing on future plans for myself. 

What do you love the most about what you do?

          Our industry is one of the only, worldwide, that impacts people on a daily basis.  Events, experiences, gatherings and parties all serve a purpose to create emotional reactions from guests and delegates.  What I love most about what I do is that through the experiences Fifth Element Group produces, we can make people feel things through live elements that no other job can.  When we design, we make a conscious effort to consider not only the production but the reactions to it and that moment when we watch live, the emotional impact we predicted around a board room table, is the greatest feeling of accomplishment for me.  Knowing that reaction helps foundations raise millions, associations raise awareness and corporations boost morale is the ultimate gauge of our success. 

Where did you grow up?

           I grew up in Toronto and am Canadian.  I have such a great appreciation of travel and have been lucky enough to visit most of North America and have grown fond of many cities....especially Chicago! I'm excited for my family and myself to spend more time in Chicago and enjoy the warmth of the people and the city!

What's your event gone wrong horror story?

           I always shudder when asked this because, to this date, I've been lucky to not have experienced anything out of the ordinary as far as unexpected incidents or horror stories.  I do take every opportunity to listen to others though and am always making note of things I should be prepared for! :-) 

What made you interested in participating in ILEA? 

           I believe that you get out of anything what you put in to it and if you aren't in something to be the best, find something else to do. I was a member long before I became involved and received a call one day which convinced me I should start using my growing stature towards bettering the industry and a board role was the way to do that.  Initially, and reluctantly, I became the MARCOM chair to two terms and moved from there to become a president and followed that with time on International committees...all which have helped me meet my mentors and many who I consider to be some of my most amazing friends across the world.  No one knows a great party until a group of ILEA friends meet up!

Thanks Aaron and Thank You For Sharing!

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ILEA Chicago Member Spotlight: Jennifer Seidler

Especially now, during our May Membership Drive, we're so very proud of the amazing event professionals in our chapter. Meet ILEA Hospitality & Tourism Management professional - Jennifer Seidler.

Jennifer Seidler believes she has always had a passion for the hospitality industry, for as long as she can remember. At first she didn’t know how to break out into the industry. After taking some time off to travel and really discover what she believed her passion was she decided to go back to school and enrolled in the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program at Roosevelt University. It was through that program that she discovered that my passion lies in the events world. It was during her time at Roosevelt that she discovered ILEA and she is grateful that she had that opportunity. Now that she has graduated and gained a few years of experience working within the industry she is thankful for the many opportunities that she has had and is ready to continue to grow her career in the hospitality industry alongside some of the many professionals that she has come to admire!

Getting to Know You Q & A ...

Who/What inspired you to go into event planning?

I believe it was a combination of my love of traveling, growing up in a city that offers so much for the hospitality industry and being a people person that inspired me to be in the events world. It is a career that allows me to meet different people every day as well as allow my creativity to shine through. It’s also an inspiring career that requires hard work and dedication and ILEA members have made me even more inspired to continue to network and grow for years to come!

Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?

I have a passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. There are an endless number of experiences and possibilities that can come from traveling and stepping outside of you’re comfort zone. When I travel to somewhere new I’m in awe of how one small experience can change my perspective and open my world to new and exciting things. 

What do you love the most about what you do?

I love the people, the learning experiences and the ability to be creative. I love working with people and creating moments for them. Working with clients brings me happiness and I love all the wonderful people I get to meet. I love the learning experiences and opportunities that come with working in the hospitality industry. The ability to be creative and showcase you’re talents makes the possibilities seem endless in the industry. It’s a great feeling and makes me excited for what’s to come in my career!

Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the south side of Chicago, about 10 miles away from the city.

What made you interested in participating in ILEA?

A couple years ago one of my professors spoke of the importance of networking and becoming involved in the hospitality industry. He encouraged my classmates and I to join at least one of the many organizations that the industry has to offer. That same week two members from ILEA, Nicole Zenner & Barb Harris, were guest speakers for that same class. Not only did their professional stories inspire me, but they also spoke of the organization ILEA. After learning about the organization I reached out to them and decided to attend an event. My first ILEA events were the Day of Education & Master’s Dinner and I felt fortunate to have been able to experience those two events. After those two events I was overwhelmed with how nice everyone was and I knew that I wanted to be a part of this organization. I joined that same week and I’m glad that I did. I’m excited to continue my journey of learning and growing within the industry and with ILEA!

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Member Spotlight: Claire Bracco

Claire Bracco's career in hospitality began the summer of 2012 when she joined the team at The Plaza Park Grill restaurant. It was such a fun job and she loved interacting with all of the guests and being able to answer questions about Chicago. She was lucky enough to return the following summer. It was then that she realized her love for the city, and that working in the hospitality and events world was something she needed to pursue. So she transferred from a school in Ohio to DePaul University and started to take business and hospitality classes. She choose to major in Hospitality leadership with a concentration in event management at first because of how everyone kept talking about the super fun and exciting classes. But, it also helped that the program is a very unique one and provided her with the incredible opportunity to visit different venues around the city almost every week and to meet so many people in the Chicago event and hospitality world, but she never imaged wanting to make a career out of it. That is until she got my first internship as a part of an event team.

DePaul requires all business students to have at least one internship before graduating and she was fortunate enough to be connected to the development team at After School Matters and get the position of Events Intern. From day one she was hooked and hasn't looked back since. It has been two and half years and she is still with After School Matters but now as the Events and Special Projects Coordinator. Their team is quite small, in fact there are only two of them. That being said, Claire very fortunate and thankful to have this opportunity as it has allowed her to flourish as a young events professional and the opportunities that she has been given in her time here has done nothing but help validate that working in events and all of the long hours and hard work that comes with this career path is truly her passion.

Getting to Know You Q & A ...

Who/ what inspired you to go into event planning?

My mom played a huge role in my decision to go into event planning. I originally went to school with the goal of becoming an elementary school teacher but changed paths after about a year and came back to the city to explore other career paths. I grew up going to events with my mom and always had a blast and loved watching her plan and execute such incredible experiences and when I discovered that DePaul has a Hospitality Program it just seemed like a natural fit and path for me to take!

Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?

I am a city girl through and through, but I would absolutely love to own a small farm one day. When I am much older and ready to retire, I would love to be able to move to the country and have a small little farm with all kinds of animals, especially goats and chickens. 

What do you love the most about what you do?

As an event planner in general, I love to create experiences and memories for people. In my current position as a part of the events team for After School Matters, a Chicago based non-profit that provides out of school time programming for Chicago Teens, I love being able to work collaboratively with many different groups of people. From our staff, to our board of directors, and the teens that we provide opportunities for, planning and executing events for After School Matters allows me the chance to advocate for the future of Chicago, our teens. The teens that we work with everyday are a huge inspiration to me as well. They are all so incredibly talented and I love being able to create opportunities for our guests and supporters to see what they are working on and to learn more about After School Matters.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Oak Park, one of the western suburbs.

What made you interested in participating in ILEA? 

My supervisor at After School Matters encouraged me to join a professional organization because it is a great way to network with other people in the industry and develop my skills as a young event professional. She used to be a member of ILEA and after hearing her stories of the connections that she made and still keeps to this day, it really encouraged me to get more involved in the Chicago Event world. As a young professional, especially in Events and Hospitality I think it is so important to do things that push you to get outside of your comfort zone and build a network of people with similar interests and goals, and ILEA is one of the ways that I can do that.

Welcome Claire!


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