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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 ILEA Chicago member - Howard Wallach

 

Meet Howard Wallach....

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Who/ what inspired you to go into event planning?

Always the pleaser, always the solutionist, hospitality came naturally to me. I distinctly remember DJing my first ever wedding. I loved the advocacy, the intimacy of the planning process, the rush of all the moving parts coming together. Non-stop with my questions: Why this way? Is there a better way?This led me to providing Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and theme party entertainment. I could introduce staging and screens and intelligent lighting with party motivators. More intricate coordination to make sure that every person in the room, from the youngest to oldest, had a complete and thrilling experience.

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

Easily the biggest influence in my life has been my big-hearted storytellingfather, John Wallach. Kind to all: bank teller, servers, laborers – that he left people feeling better for having interacted with him made a huge impact on me.He lit up every room he was in. This panache for handling the spotlight rubbed off on me. When I’m on stage, I leave it all on the floor.

What do you love the most about what you do?

No two days are alike. I enjoy a fast-paced schedule filled with travel, fitness, and family. My week is sprinkled with performing, networking and industry events. While A-Z Entertainment continues to grow, I have a talented team of professionals supporting our clients, I still stay personally involved in all of them.

Where did you grow up?

Skevanston ( the border of Skokie and Evanston )

Always the organizer, Always vying for attention.Maybe a bit too rambunctious for my teachers. Ok, definitely . . . School pals could count on me for reciting back movie lines and celebrity impressions faithfully. I grew up playing ping pong, baseball and pinball. I dabbled in photography and theater. Larger than life were my childhood heroes: Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee, & Evil Kneivel.

What's your event gone wrong horror story?

Early 90s. When performing at a bar mitzvah at Jim McMahon’s Restaurant, the entire building lost electrical power. Determined not to disappoint, my team ended up striking our set, driving to the family’s home and we were able to complete the young man’s celebration with his family and friends like nothing happened. Recently ran into him as an adult - great vibes, great memories!

What made you interested in participating in ILEA?

Never underestimate the power of a little fun mixed with some interesting people!  Sometimes it’s about taking a selfie with someone who’s influenced you or sharing a business idea with someone you admire, or making a connection that can lead to finding your next mentor. I thoroughly enjoy paying it forward; presenting best practices, lessons learned, and sharing ideas.

 

-Howard Wallach   

 IN THE NEWS<https://hereschicago.com/blog/howard-wallach-chicago-hospitality-professional-month-october-2016/>

WEBSITE<http://www.azentertainment.com/>    LINKEDIN<https://www.linkedin.com/in/howardwallach>    INSTAGRAM<https://www.instagram.com/azentertainment/>    FACEBOOK<https://www.facebook.com/HWAZDJ/?fref=ts>

 

 

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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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A Message from Lisa Ware, President ILEA Chicago

 

Hello ILEA Chicago! 

I cannot believe how quickly two years has passed as your Chapter President.  It seems like the time has passed so quickly but when I think about everything that has happened to me – then it seems like so long ago.  I got engaged and married in the past two years, I have traveled to the Dominican Republic, Israel, Argentina and so many states in the United States. I have attended The Special Event in California, ILEA Live in Austin, Catersource both in New Orleans and Las Vegas and personally spoken at the Day of Education in Indianapolis.  I have switched jobs and am three months into a new position as Director of Sales at Entertaining Company.  I remember how nervous I was to take over as the ILEA Chicago Chapter President.  How do I live up to past leaders?  How do I move our Chapter forward while paying tribute to where we have been?  When I think about what ILEA Chicago has accomplished in the last two years – I am PROUD.  As a leader, there is no better feeling than being proud of what your team has accomplished. 

Let’s talk about a few things that ILEA Chicago has accomplished that make me proud.  Any group of individuals who make up a Board have different opinions and ways of doing things but for the last two years, the people on your ILEA Chicago Board have worked together with kindness and respect and always held the best interests of the Chapter as our priority.  This group of people have worked together to create a dynamic calendar of events full of education, networking, unique opportunities, fun and friendship.  Our MarCom team has created a content calendar of communication that is beyond my wildest dreams to ensure our members have the information needed to get the most out of your ILEA Chicago membership. We had an extremely ambitious goal of getting 50 NEW members this year and we are less than 10 away.  That alone is unbelievable. The work of our Membership Committee and the way they work together has been inspiring to watch.  The NICE Awards have had record setting attendance and surpassed all fundraising goals the last three years.  I was terrified of maintaining a budget during my tenure as President and I am so happy (and relieved) with the progress we have made to build our resources for future years.  And a huge goal that I have always had for ILEA Chicago is to win a Spirit of Excellence (SOE) Award and go for Chapter of the Year.  That means we are not just submitting one SOE – but four.  And we are going for Chapter of the Year this year!! A huge accomplishment just to go for it!  Wish us luck!

All of the above cannot be done without a lot of amazing people.  To the ILEA Chicago Board Members and Committee Members over the last two years – THANK YOU!  You have no idea how proud I am of all that we have accomplished.  Thank you for your time and dedication to this amazing event city and to our ILEA Chapter.  To Barb Harris, CSEP, DMCP and Nicole Zenner, CSEP for your amazing guidance and leadership as I navigated my way through being President.  I could not have done this without you.  My biggest goal during my tenure was to leave the Chapter in good hands and Chicago – we have some of the best event people in the business leading the charge.  Lastly– thank you to our members for trusting me to be your Chapter President! Thank you for your time, your generosity, your participation and your friendship.  Being the Chapter President for this amazing organization has been my sincere pleasure! As a former Kindergarten Teacher – our ILEA Chicago future is so bright, we have to wear shades!  No better time than now to become a member! Thanks for making me proud!!

Lisa Ware
ILEA President, 2016 - 2017 & 2017 - 2018

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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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Enjoy this Vlog post by VP Membership, Jeff Durocher

 

VP Membership Jeff V. Durocher shared the following message today.

Jeff's May Membership Video

For information on ILEA membership types and pricing, go to ILEA - International Live Events Association.



Enjoy!

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Summer's a Wrap After ILEA Chicago's August 30 Street Fest

We ended summer with a bang at the first ILEA Summer Fest hosted by Hard Rock Café.  What a perfect night on their lovely patio!  Hard Rock provided passed hors d’oeuvres, a stationary buffet with some great summer comfort food and beverages perfect for our ILEA Chicago koozies.

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Our long-time member, Dave Calzaretta with Magnificent Events, kicked off the presentation.  He gave such a great overview of the world of summer fests.  Everything from musical entertainment, staging, permitting, parking, food, and more!  Everyone was impressed with all the little and complicated details that go into such a large event. 

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 Following Dave, Hayden Moldenhauer with Arena Americas, was able to dive a little deeper into the tenting structures and parameters for permitting.  We all learned that tents might as well be buildings with all the architectural details and plans required.

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Spoon Photo & Design snapped photos for us all evening, including a great group shot with our ILEA International President, Ingrid Nagy. It is always great to have members from other chapters in town for our events and we couldn’t think of a better send off for summer!

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 Finally, many thanks to Erica Roskoskey with Food For Thought Catering Group for planning this fabulous event

 

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