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Meet new ILEA Chicago member - Kelly Jandura

Who / what inspired you to go into event planning?

My mother Nicole was definitely the first person to inspire me to take a step into the event industry. One afternoon, after a conversation about what I planned on doing after college, she boldly told me to pick a career path that brought me passion so that it didn't feel like I was doing as much work. After listening to her advice I told her I was unsure what I was passionate about. She was the first person to initially make me aware of the fact that I loved being a host and socializing. That being organized and paying attention to detail always came naturally to me. She taught me to lean into my networking skills and continue to explore my passion for decor and design. Her encouragement inspired me to hone in on my natural abilities and that is what eventually excelled me into the career path that I am on today.


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

I love prank jokes. I am known for gag gifts and getting people when they least expect it.


What do you love the most about what you do?

The final product. Seeing all of your hard work and creativity come to life.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago in Plainfield Illinois where I stayed until my family and I relocated to the small farm town of Manhattan Illinois my sophomore year of high school.


What is your event gone wrong horror story?

I had a bride taking photos, prior to the wedding, with her wedding party and her heel got stuck during the shoot and literally snapped off into two. She was beyond upset since every woman pictures her big day to be perfect. I quickly sprung into action and tried to relieve her stress by letting her know I would purchase her another pair of shoes so she and her wedding party did not have to leave the venue. So I played the role of personal shopper, took her shoe size and purchased new white shoes for her to wear the rest of the wedding. She was so happy she did not have to leave and rush back before her big day. She trusted me to select a wedding shoe and she ended up loving the selection I made and it was a crisis averted.

What made you interested in participating in ILEA?

Rachel Fersten from Windy City Linen and Jeff Durocher made it hard to say no. I attended a couple of their events, met some great contacts and had fun while networking so it ended up being a no brainer.

 

To find out more about Kelly and Chicago Venue Rental, check out their website at www.chicagovenuerental.com  

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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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