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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