September Event – Armour House

In the spirit of partnership with our fellow associations, our September meeting was a joint meeting with NACE-Chicago. We were all intrigued with our host venue, the Armour House at Lake Forest Academy. The house has so much character and unique rooms to host events, but the best part of the venue is the outdoor gardens. It is truly spectacular, and our guests were loving everything about the Armour House.
Our evening began with refreshments and passed appetizers in the Garden Room.  Amidst the networking between members of ISES and members of NACE and non-members, we all enjoyed the amazing musical talent of Twin Strings from Backthird Entertainment. Very quickly we were ushered into the library for our educational component of the evening. This was a perfect location for our gathering, and BBJ Linen and Yanni Design Studio had a beautiful and cozy fall tablescape for us to enjoy.
We were very honored to have Vince & Kelly Early from ISES-Indiana as our featured speakers for the evening. They are from Thomas Caterers of Distinction and are charismatic speakers showing their passion for food and events. Their presentation focused on trends in catering and, more specifically, on how caterers need to be “on the cutting edge of food fashion.”  There were a few “oohs” and “ahhs” from the audience as Vince and Kelly discussed some of the common, yet out of the box, items they use to present their culinary delights. We think even the amazing Chicago caterers in attendance picked up some inspiration!
The evening then progressed into a panel discussion on submitting for the NICE Awards which will be April 2, 2013. We are always encouraging ISES and NACE members to submit their work, and our panel was kind enough to talk about the commitment and benefits of the NICE Awards. We heard insight from Kathy Miller (Total Event Resources), Lanie Hartman (BBJ Linen), Jim Bailey (The Meetinghouse Companies), Valerie Braun (Classic Party Rentals) and Jamie Pritscher (Tasty Catering). All of them are repeat winners and see the value of their awards pay off when they are selling to new clients. Yes, the first time you submit may be a challenge (on average it takes about 10-12 hours to put all of the documentation together); but it is a huge payoff to be recognized by your industry peers and to be able to tell your clients about your achievements. If you have further questions on how to submit for the 2013 NICE Awards, please contact Lauren Bettcher at
Finally, we must thank our other sponsors for the evening – Roper Photo who documented the entire evening, Freeman who provided all of our A/V and presentation needs, and The Westin Chicago North Shore who provided lodging for our speakers.

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