The NY metropolitan area is host to the most events, the most high-profile events, and the most event industry professionals of any city in the world. Our ILEA Metro chapter, founded in 1988, has supported the local members, and the industry at large, through cutting-edge educational programs, dynamic networking events, partnerships with tangential associations, and a peer-to-peer support system that helps our members grow their businesses and their careers. Our Year-end Big Apple Celebration acknowledges the outstanding volunteer work of the Committees and Chapter Members. The Hall of Legends honors the most senior level event professional who has made a significant contribution to the industry. We invite you to join us as our chapter expands in new areas, in lock-step with the expansion of the NY metro area’s outstanding and diverse events.
Letter from the President - Jaclyn Zendrian
This year really hasn’t turned out like any of us thought it would. I’ve been asked about what I want to accomplish with my time as President. This is a difficult mission to comprehend and convey. Had you asked me six months ago what I wanted from my Presidency - I would have had a much clearer answer. I think the answer for this year lies, in part, where I was five years ago.
Five years ago, my life was very different. I was living in suburban Maryland and working as a Project Manager and occasionally planning live events. Truthfully, I was unfulfilled, and stagnating and I did the logical thing and started to look for a new job. I went on one job interview and they asked me the typical interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” And I thought and still do, that’s a baffling question because five years is such a long time. I answered honestly and said, “So much of life can happen in five years. I can give you an idea about what I want to happen from six months to a year from now. But to tell you my plans for five years from now wouldn’t be fair or accurate to either of us.” I got the job.
This week marks my five-year anniversary with CurePSP. In these five years at CurePSP I’ve worked my way up to being Vice President at the only nonprofit of its kind in the Western hemisphere. This is in no small part to the connections I’ve made in ILEA. A year after I started at CurePSP, they moved the headquarters to midtown, and I was back to my home state.
A year after moving back, is when I joined ILEA. It was the Sunset Sail where I met so many of my friends now. It’s still my favorite event and I like to think of it as the love boat because there are just so many genuine connections that are made. It stops being about business shortly after boarding and you’re now with friends. In the four years I’ve lived here, I’ve gone from not knowing anyone in this massive, notoriously difficult city to becoming the President of this amazing, vibrant, warm chapter of people. They are the ones I want to work with first because I trust them that much. They are ones I would call in the middle of the night for an emergency, event related or not. They are my chosen family.
In normal circumstances, I right now would end this letter by asking, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” But these are not normal circumstances.
I hope you don’t see yourself here in five years.
In five years, I hope you’re not still in the middle of a global pandemic that has so specifically devastated our industry.
In five years, I hope you’re not still begging, and tweeting, and protesting, and petitioning elected officials to have your voice heard.
In five years, I hope that you are the one to have set the standard for the industry to not only recover but to have created the playbook for the next time something like this happens.
In five years, I hope that you are the voice that politicians and changemakers cannot ignore.
In fact, I hope these things don’t take five years.
These are all very achievable things, but so much more so with the help of some friends like ILEA. The truth is I’m still figuring out what it is I want from my Presidency. This has always been an industry of change; now more so than ever. I do know this much though - this year isn’t just about this year. This year is about the setup for the next few years. I hope to help the chapter find their way through this difficult time. I hope to look at fresh ways of doing things and to have conversations with other chapter and industry leaders to strategize that process.
My time spent working in the nonprofit sector has taught me at least one thing, when you need help - ask for it. So here I am, asking and hoping for your help – not just for the NY Metro Chapter but for the events industry as a whole. And if you’re going to start to help, start here, start with ILEA, and start with New York.
To end this letter, at CurePSP we have a slogan and it is, “Because Hope Matters”. And it does - hope does matter. These are my hopes for this year and the next five years; may they move us all forward five degrees.
President, ILEA NY Metro Chapter
Vice President – Events, CurePSP
International Live Events Association is the new name for the International Special Events Society. We represent and support more than 5,000 members globally – live event professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress our industry.
ILEA has grown to involve nearly 7,200 members active in 49 chapters throughout the world. Membership brings together professionals from a variety of special events disciplines including caterers, meeting planners, decorators, event planners, audio-visual technicians, party and convention coordinators, educators, journalists, hotel sales managers and many more. 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 more information about ILEA International, visit www.ileahub.com.