Meet Sandy Sobczak (CERP) - VP Membership ILEA Greater Chicago

Sandy Sobczak has been in the rental industry for 20 years. Initially starting off selling rental, and tools for Chicago Party Rental, she is now the Director of Sales for M&M Event Rentals; developing new business, maintaining current business, and staff training. Among her many notable accomplishments, Sandy served as the President of ISES-Chicago for 2 terms, Sandy is the current VP of Membership for ILEA, a current board member of Wish Upon a Wedding and won the NICE Lifetime Achievement Award, after only 15 years in the business. When Sandy isn’t busy spending time with her hunky fireman husband, Larry, or cheering for her volleyball playing 13 year old daughter, Elizabeth, she is turning client’s visions into reality. Ask any one of Sandy’s clients what she is like and they would tell you about her eager to please attitude and passion for customer service. There isn’t an event Sandy doesn’t go to where she isn’t known as the legendary Rental Queen.


Getting to Know You Q & A ...

What made you interested in participating in ILEA Leadership?
I wanted to see change in our association, so in order to make changes I needed to jump on board! It was the best move I made for my career!

What would you say are the benefits for participating in our ILEA committees?
I have built a great book of business with ILEA, and that is due to getting involved making the most out of my membership,

What's your advise for those unsure where to start in becoming active in ILEA?
GET INVOLVED in the association, join a committee, come to meetings! Get in a habit to attend monthly meetings, and member only events, when you do this all falls into place!

What's the biggest benefit to attending the ILEA Greater Chicago Chapter programs? NETWORKING and getting your book of business together, building a vendor list that you can trust! Education is very needed in our industry, we should be constantly learning every aspect of this industry!

How has ILEA made a difference in your career?
I have built a GREAT client list, and friendships that are lasting more than 20 years!

What's one thing most people don't know about you?
I am a scrapper! I love to Scrapbook! I AM A PACKER FAN!!!!  

 To reach Sandy or find out more about ILEA Chicago or M&M Event Rentals contact Sandy at or 630-473-7274.


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Fresh Starts

I am a woman who lives for fresh starts.  In as many ways as I find change in some areas uncomfortable, I look forward to embracing the hope and promise that a new start brings.  And you can, too.

Even when you are overwhelmed, hit a wall, lose patience, or feel overworked and underappreciated–as many of us do in today’s work environment, where we are asked to do more with less –take comfort in knowing that a fresh start rekindles a new passion for your work.

So, as I embark in recreating the excitement and determination of my first day of what is now 11+ years in my current position, I find it’s all about changing my view and attitude. 

I offer you these following tips to hit the ground running to your fresh start.

  •          Spick-and-span your space.  Clear off everything from your desk, bookcase and credenza. Clean, purge and re-organize as you replace. The devil is in the details: replace plants, organize your desktop and move furniture around if you can.  Redecorate to refuel your creativity!
  •          Create a greatest hit-list. Now that you have a clean view of things, list the top three things you must accomplish to be productive, effective and successful. Make one item a short-term goal.  Break the long-term goals into steps and plan each step’s achievement.  Don’t forget to add some rewards along the way for yourself.
  •          Find a mentor.  Search for someone outside your immediate environment to confide in; sharing your goals and dreams as well as any fears about your current situation.  Be careful to be honest in your conversation. Remember whiners never win and winners never whine. 
  •          Tap the talent at ILEA Chicago.  You’re most likely to find a mentor when attending ILEA Chicago member events.  You don’t have to go alone, bring a friend.  Many of you know that at my first ventures into ILEA I brought one of my 20-something sons as my “wing-man”.  Their presences made me comfortable enough to break-the-ice and meet others.  It also gave them a nice intro to networking on a professional level which is always a great skill to have.  As a result, I count our current Board members now not only as my mentors, but industry friends.  Watch for up-coming events at: and be sure to attend – be ready to mingle and engage.
  •          Volunteer. Putting yourself out there to serve, when your day job is taking up all your waking hours, is tough. But trust me, take it in baby steps, and your new role will be more than rewarding.  To find the right ILEA Chicago committee for you, check out these overviews.  We are currently looking for new members in these areas:


Contact:  Barb Siska -


Contact:  Vicki Bowman –


Contact: Sandy Sobczak -

  •           Give back.  Mentor another.  When you help to shape someone else’s future, you secure your own.  By building up the confidence of another, showing them the way, your future becomes clearer as you see yourself through their eyes and are reminded of all you know. 


Start your fresh start, today.  Now is the perfect time to breathe new life into your career.  Get out there, participate, give back and trust yourself.  

Author:  Vicki Bowman, VP Communications

Motor Coach Industries, Marketing Manager

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Meet Lisa Bryant - President ILEA Greater Chicago

Lisa Bryant is a Sales Consultant for Food for Thought, a catering company specializing in full service events for over 30 years in Chicago.  She hails from Indianapolis and was on the Board of Directors for the ILEA Indiana Chapter for 2.5 years. Upon moving to Chicago two years ago, Barb Harris was instrumental in her involvement with the ILEA Chicago chapter.  She joined the Board a few months after moving to Chicago and was the NICE Awards Co-Chair for 2016-2016.  She took her experience on the ILEA Indiana Board as well as her experience as the NICE Awards Co-Chair and jumped at the chance to tackle the President position for 2016-2017.  Her ILEA connections have been instrumental in her transition to the Chicago market and the success of her career in Chicago. She hopes to personally meet every ILEA Chicago member as President and lead her amazing fellow Board of Directors to a year filled with leadership, education and relationship building. She can’t wait to share with you all of the ways ILEA has helped her career and how it can change yours too.

Getting to Know You Q & A ..

What made you interested in participating in ILEA Leadership?  I was new to the Chicago market and wanted to meet as many Chicago event people as possible in a short amount of time.  My experience on the ILEA Indiana board was instrumental in jump starting my career so I knew ILEA Chicago would be the best way to do the same in Chicago.  It’s amazing how fast you can build relationships within ILEA. 

What would you say are the benefits for participating in our ILEA committees? It’s the best way to get involved.  By being in a committee, you are helping put together a program you want to see or attend.  You are meeting countless people who you ordinarily wouldn’t know and instantly have a support group of other event professionals around you. Joining a committee sets you on the path to be actively using your membership to its fullest potential. 

What's your advise for those unsure where to start in becoming active in ILEA? When you join ILEA, someone from the Membership team or the Board of Directors will reach out to you and invite you to a program.  They will help introduce you to people.  It’s intimidating to walk into a room of people you don’t know that seem to all know each other – trust me, I’ve been there.  Find a Board member and they will guide you through and help make introductions. After that, the best thing to do is join a Committee – this will be a smaller group of people who are working within Programs, Membership or Marcom.  Pick which one is the most interesting to you and get as involved as possible.  You will be amazed how fast you meet people.

What's the biggest benefit to attending the ILEA Greater Chicago Chapter programs? Networking and Relationships – I couldn’t pick just one!  Those are my biggest takeaways always.  There is also some pretty great content as well at the Education Programs. 

How has ILEA made a difference in your career?  I wouldn’t be in Chicago without ILEA, wouldn’t have met my boss at Food for Thought without my ILEA connections with Barb Harris.  In both Indiana and now in Chicago, ILEA was a game changer in introducing me to the people I needed to know who have been instrumental in the success of my career.  One relationship can literally change everything.  

What's one thing most people don't know about you? I have been to every state except Hawaii and Alaska!  I also just got engaged!!  

 To reach Lisa or find out more about ILEA Chicago or Food for Thought contact Lisa at or 847-745-5142.


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