When I speak to Young event professionals today and they asked me what they need to do to succeed in the special event industry, my best answer is to tell them to educate themselves. No one can learn this industry from a book, it takes practical experience and surrounding yourself with people that will help set yourself up for the maximum amount of success. When I suddenly became the owner of my families catering company, I had to learn things very quickly. A colleague suggested that I attend and ILEA meeting. I did, and quickly became aware that this organization could provide the opportunity for education and networking that became vital in my growth as an event professional. The more you can surround yourself with the best and the brightest the more opportunities you will have to work with them and learn from them. I quickly became aware of the CSEP designation and started educating myself about that certification and the process to obtain it. That process became a higher education opportunity all on its own. The principles that I was taught through earning my CSEP gave me a clear blueprint to become a more efficient event professional in my planning and execution of all of my events. The principles have not changed in the last 20 years, but the industry has. Oddly enough, the principles apply just as strongly, if not more so today than they ever have. If you are a young professional looking to grow in this industry my advice is the same; get involved in the special event industry and in its greatest professional organization, ILEA. Join the committee, participate in the process and surround yourself with the best and the brightest to set yourself up for the maximum amount of success.
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