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Our History

Through the enriching networking and continuing education of our monthly programs, and the creativity and innovation of our leadership, our dynamic chapter members are recognized as leaders for the special event industry.

Chapter Awards + Milestones

ILEA, formally the International Special Events Society, was founded in 1989 to foster enlightened performance through education while promoting ethical conduct. ILEA works to join event and meeting professionals to focus on the "event as a whole" rather than its individual parts. ILEA has grown to involve over 5,500 members active in over 51 chapters throughout the world. The solid peer network ILEA provides helps special events professionals produce outstanding results for clients while establishing positive working relationships with other event colleagues.

For over 30 years ILEA has been a valued and trusted partner in the events industry. An industry that generates over $200 billion for the global economy and supports over four million jobs.

ILEA members are regarded as the very best in what they do, creating a powerful and influential community of event professionals around the world, working together to find new ways to communicate through the power of live events.As our association continues to expand and engage, reaching new audiences and markets around the globe, so the ILEA brand continues to evolve. Today, we have a new brand vision and story to tell our clients, colleagues, suppliers and partners. ILEA is changing. We are launching our new vision to become a community of creative event professionals. A community that values creativity as part of our culture and our spirit. A community that is looking to the future with confidence and anticipation, and looking back at our achievements with pride.

  • 2000 - Sally Cooksey, CSEP

  • 2001 - Mark Thorton

  • 2002 - Anne Decker-Steinberg

  • 2003 - Kelly Early, CSEP

  • 2004 - Gene Huddleson

  • 2005 - Leslie Swathwood

  • 2006 - Vince Early, CSEP

  • 2007 - Kari Strohlberg, CSEP

  • 2008 - Dee Haddad, CSEP

  • 2009 - Monica Richard, MWP

  • 2010 - Jim Cerone, WED

  • 2011 - Jennifer Barenie

  • 2012 - Mike King

  • 2013 - Sarah Mullins, DMCP

  • 2014 - Jason Ryan

  • 2015 - Kristin Hornberger

  • 2016 - Chris La Mar

  • 2017 - Kate Edwards-Baumbach, CSEP, CMP

  • 2018 - Megan Laigaard, CSEP, CMP

  • 2019 - Amanda Roell, CMP

  • 2020 - Amy Payne

  • 2021 - Amy Payne

  • 2022 - Jessica McCormick

  • 2023 - Neely Slawson

Past Chapter Presidents

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