Should I Join an Event Planner Association? - Calgary Event Planner

Should I Join an Event Planner Association?


In my last blog I talked about “taking the guesswork out of hiring your next event planner” which included determining if your planner belongs to a professional association. So, this week I’d like to expand on that from both a personal and professional standpoint.

Early in my career while attending college to obtain my certification in event planning, I was fortunate to have some of the most amazing event planners instruct my classes. These same instructors,  some of which are international industry leaders and Event icons not just here but around the globe, believed that it was incredibly important for the special events industry in Calgary to have its own special events association. To clarify – not one that was just for meeting planners but one that spoke to those of us that specialize in special events.

The association once called the International Special Events Society and recently renamed the International Live Events Association or ILEA was a game changer for many Calgary Event Planners. I’d like to speak personally about my experiences and why and how this association makes such a difference to me, my business and ultimately my clients.


As an owner of a  boutique Calgary Event Planning company, I work on many events with the sole purpose of bringing the best event partners to the table to ensure my clients’ success. ILEA is by far and away the best place to network with local partners and learn about each other’s businesses. Almost each event (monthly) showcases different venues, audio visual companies, decorators, florists, caterers etc. giving ILEA members first hand exposure and experience of what’s possible and what they can bring to the table to elevate what they do best.


This  showcasing often leads to creativity, innovation and inspiration for all us in attendance that we Calgary event planners then bring back to our clients. When people say “imitation is the best form of flattery” that’s certainly true in our business. It’s rare to see completely new ideas BUT it’s awesome to see people’s versions and interpretation of re-incarnated ideas executed.


There is an educational aspect to each and every ILEA meeting. The ILEA board in Calgary has been one of the best in the world for a number of years. ILEA’s local membership is one of the largest in Canada and its executive are constantly striving to bring new, relevant and timely information to its members. Some of my favorite conversations have been on topics that later became game changers for my clients.


Being that ILEA is truly an international association – it allows us to ask questions of our colleagues in other markets on everything thing from suppliers to how they handle certain issues. I’m presently working on an event in Toronto and have been grateful to my ILEA colleagues for their insight, assistance and direction regarding a number of topics. They range from helping me narrow down venues to hiring them for their expertise to plan and eventually execute the event. I also follow other ILEA members via social media an am in awe of what is being created in the different markets. The relationships here and abroad have been invaluable for me both professionally and personally.

The Big Picture

Belonging to an association like ILEA helps ensure the success of each and every event I touch. I choose to work with ILEA members more often than not because they understand and can see our vision. The understand that we are here to make our clients shine and are committed to ensuring that every event we work on isn’t about personal egos or agendas, rather it’s about success for all involved.

I have served on both the Calgary and Canadian boards of ILEA and at the heart of it, ILEA is about elevating our industry and creating a great industry for all planners and event partners, who in turn create great events for our clients!

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