2016 Day of Education

On May 17, the Greater Chicago Chapter of ILEA hosted the annual Day of Education conference. This legacy event for the chapter was founded in 2007 by Vice President of Membership Sandy Sobczak, CERP after she attended The Special Event conference. Recognizing that not everyone had the resources and time to attend a 3 – 4 day conference, the chapter leadership team had an opportunity to bring a world class education seminar to Chicago.

For the 2016 program, event co-chairs Meaghan Tiberio and Tracy Gleason put together a full day conference and cocktail reception for almost (100) of Chicago’s creative event professionals. The event took place at the Chicago Illuminated Company, and began with breakfast provided by Paramount Events and Catering.


A stage provided by Luxe Event Productions and styled by Modern Event Rentals, the conference began with an energetic kick off from Emcee Greg Werstler of CSz Chicago. After housekeeping notes from President Nicole Zenner, CSEP, the morning keynote began.

New York Times Best Selling Author David Farbman spoke on Winning Strategies from the Hunting Field to the Board Room. The presentation incorporated David’s personal story about how he uses his passion for hunting as a metaphor and strategy for finding the business results you want. He also uniquely incorporated how to read XXX

The next presentation featured a DMC (destination management company) panel discussion moderated by Jill Gauthier from Navy Pier. Panelists included Jillene Szostak, DMCP from Chicago Travel Consultants (CTC), Michelle Castady, DMCP from 360 Destination Group, and Barb Harris, CSEP, DMCP from On The Scene. The group addressed what exact IS a DMC, the lifecycle of an event when it is produced by a DMC, how they select supplier partners, and how you can best partner with a DMC.

The following TED-style talks focused on entrepreneurship. David Caruso from Dynamic Events by David Caruso opened with an informational power session on management, and growing a solid team. Catherine Marsden, MS, PMP from Ardent Scope Marketing covered best practices in Marketing and social media. Jamie Butcher from Threat X rounded out the group identifying strategic approaches to the sales process.

Greg Werstler wrapped up the morning, guests took a break to enjoy a delicious lunch provided by Paramount Catering & Events. Arena Americas provided a heated, clear span tent on the terrace of the venue and rental items. Soft lounge groupings from Modern Event Rentals and floral arrangements from Fragrant Design completed the summery environment.

With information and lunch to digest, Aaron Kaufman, CSEP from Fifth Element Group presented “Design Redefined” in which he presented his thoughts on the difference between designers and decorators, and unique ways to push the envelope in creativity.

Next, Lora Haines from JB Training Solutions spoke to “Dude What’s My Job? Managing Millennials in Today’s Workforce”. The anthropologic approach to this topic provided insight as to how our generations have all been perceived as the “entitled youth” at some point in time, and ways to manage your own expectations when working with millennials.

With the closing Keynote came Ceci Johnson, Founder and Creative Director of Ceci New York, with her presentation “The Road to Success is Not Always Paved: Lessons in Developing a Luxury Brand”. Using an anecdotal approach, Ceci shared her story of how she made her passion and hobby a worldwide recognized brand used by celebrities for some of the world’s most famous events.

With a closing thank you to the event’s co-chairs, Meaghan and Tracy, Greg Werstler wrapped the education portion of the event and welcomed guests to the tented patio for a cocktail reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvres provided by Tasty Catering. The day was captured in photos by Jennifer Kathryn Photography.

Thank you to the many, many volunteers and generous sponsors who made the day happen!

Event Sponsors:
Venue: Chicago Illuminating Company
Breakfast, Morning Break and Lunch Catering: Paramount Events & Catering 
Reception Catering: Tasty Catering
Rentals: Arena Americas
Stage, Audio & Visual Equipment: Luxe Productions
Lounge Furniture Rentals: Modern Event Rental
Printing: Ivan Carlson & Associates
Floral: Fragrant Design
Master of Ceremonies: CSz Chicago
Photography: Jennifer Kathryn Photography
Hotel Accommodations: Trump International Hotel & Towers, InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

Planning Committee
Co-Chair: Meaghan Tiberio, Trump International Hotel & Towers
Co-Chair: Tracy Gleason, Ivan Carlson & Associates
Sponsorship, Speakers and Management: Ryan Campbell, AFR Event Furnishings
Speakers: Barb Harris, CSEP, DMCP, On The Scene – The Event Company
Day of Coordination: Kristina Fossbakk Ferris, Jessica Trent, Jennifer Seidler, Brian Donohoe, Shelley Tuntland, Kristie Davidson, Annette Buonavola

Full album of photos from the event can be found here.

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ILEA Master’s Dinner

On May 16, 2016, the ILEA Greater Chicago Chapter hosted the inaugural Master’s Dinner at the modern event space Chez in downtown Chicago. The purpose of the event was to gather a seasoned group of professionals to have an open discussion about topics that affect our daily business. The by-invite-only event was exclusive to members who have worked in the special events industry for a minimum of 10 years, or been a business owner for a minimum of 5 years. Also in attendance were the 2015 – 2017 Board of Directors, and speakers from the 2016 Day of Education. Nearly (60) guests attended from Chicago, Toronto, New York City, Denver, Philadelphia and Milwaukee.

After a 1-hour networking reception, guests were seated at gleaming white tables immaculately styled by Kehoe Designs. Following welcome announcements from President Nicole Zenner, CSEP, guests enjoyed a beautiful four-course plated dinner from Catering by Michael’s served on provisions from Hall’s Rentals.

Immediate Past President Barb Harris, CSEP, DMCP moderated the discussion after watching the announcement of ILEA’s new brand identify. The open forum discussion covered the new brand name, how the industry and association has evolved over time, the challenges of price integrity, and the differences between millennials, Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers. The evening was captured by Spoon Photo and Design.

This event could not have been possible without the incredible generosity of our sponsor partners. Thank you again!

Venue: Chez 
Catering: Catering by Michaels
Rentals: Hall's Rental
Décor, Design, Production and Lighting: Kehoe Designs
Photography: Spoon Photo and Design

Day of Volunteers: Lisa Bryant, Jennifer Seidler, Erica Buss, Kristina Fossbakk Ferris, Barb Harris, CSEP, DMCP

The full album of photos from the event can be found here.

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