Blog Archives

Meet ILEA Chicago Member - Michelle Sterling, Sales Consultant at Entertaining Company

Who/ what inspired you to go into event planning?  With my background in theater directing, I’ve always loved putting on a show! My best friend is a chef for a catering company and I have been hearing her behind?the?scenes stories for years. When the gift company I worked for closed, I decided I wanted to make a big change and start on a new career path. Working in catering sales seemed like a great opportunity to combine many of the things I love – food, organizing, people, entertaining, and celebrating.

Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away? I love 70s rock – Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Jackson Brown.

What do you love the most about what you do? I love my team at Entertaining Company. We are very supportive of each other and that makes coming to work a pleasure. I’m also inspired by the EC style – in addition to being a catering company, we have an online store of beautiful curated tabletop items called the EC Home Store . I could dream a day away thinking of all the mysterious places these items came from and considering how I can incorporate them into my own décor and lifestyle.

Where did you grow up? The suburbs of Philly – but I’ve always thought of myself as a city girl. I went to college at Temple University in Philly, then I lived in London for a year, and I went to Tulane in New Orleans for my MFA. I’ve lived in Chicago ever since and it feels like home.

What is your event gone wrong horror story? Every event is a learning experience for me – whether it runs smoothly or it is a bumpy ride! Since I’m retty new in the industry, you’ll have to stay tuned!

What made you interested in participating in ILEA?  Lisa Ware told me about the wonderful Ilea community – and she was right! It’s inspiring to be surrounded by so many interesting, experienced, and friendly people.


To learn more about 

check out their website, facebook or instagram

Read More

Meet ILEA Member - Lucho Castilla

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

Who/ what inspired you to go into event planning?
Before I started my music business, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to play a wide variety of music for many Chicagoland corporate and social events. This experience showed me that I could successfully combine 2 great loves of mine (playing music and making people happy) and that’s what our tagline “The Sound of Happiness” is all about.

Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?
I spent 3 weeks on an Outward-Bound expedition in the Canyonlands of Utah: hiking in the high desert, mountain climbing and white water rafting down the Colorado River.

What do you love the most about what you do?
We love providing great Live music for our clients that compliments and enhances their events’ theme. Playing music with a joyful sound that makes people feel good.

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Chicago and grew up in Chicago and Oak Park, IL.

What's your event gone wrong horror story?
I’ve been blessed with the ability to forget the occasional “disaster.” But, a minor mishap comes to mind. We had a boat gig for a high end private client out of Burnham Harbor one very cold October evening. By the second hour it was pitch black and all my clients’ guests had left the upper deck and gone down below (where it was warm) to watch the World Series. We were left upstairs in the dark as a very chilly and forceful wind blew off the lake making the simple act of holding and playing our instruments extremely challenging.

What made you interested in participating in ILEA?
Through my many years in the event planning industry I have gotten to know and have worked on events with many of the members in ILEA. The idea of being able to work with them, learn from them and contribute my skills to help the organization grow in the coming year, was an opportunity
that was both timely and exciting.

Learn more about Island Dreams Music by visiting their website.

Read More

Summer's a Wrap After ILEA Chicago's August 30 Street Fest

We ended summer with a bang at the first ILEA Summer Fest hosted by Hard Rock Café.  What a perfect night on their lovely patio!  Hard Rock provided passed hors d’oeuvres, a stationary buffet with some great summer comfort food and beverages perfect for our ILEA Chicago koozies.

ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28

Our long-time member, Dave Calzaretta with Magnificent Events, kicked off the presentation.  He gave such a great overview of the world of summer fests.  Everything from musical entertainment, staging, permitting, parking, food, and more!  Everyone was impressed with all the little and complicated details that go into such a large event. 

 ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28

 Following Dave, Hayden Moldenhauer with Arena Americas, was able to dive a little deeper into the tenting structures and parameters for permitting.  We all learned that tents might as well be buildings with all the architectural details and plans required.

 ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28


Spoon Photo & Design snapped photos for us all evening, including a great group shot with our ILEA International President, Ingrid Nagy. It is always great to have members from other chapters in town for our events and we couldn’t think of a better send off for summer!

ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28ILEA Summer Fest Aug 28

 Finally, many thanks to Erica Roskoskey with Food For Thought Catering Group for planning this fabulous event


Read More