About Us


ILEA New York Chapter

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 - Matt Bonavita

Matt_Bonavita_Headshot.jpg Without exaggeration or irony, I can say that being selected by my colleagues to be President of this chapter is one of the great honors of my life. 11 years ago, when I went to my first ILEA meeting, being a leader in this industry was not something on my mind. I was simply looking to expand my horizons outside of the silo that we all tend to build around ourselves when we do the same thing day after day. Within months, my new colleagues had opened up a world that was something that was hitherto undreamt of. I began to learn all of the aspects of our industry and very organically made friends out of colleagues that have enriched me both as a businessman and as a human being.

My predecessors, Dianne Devitt and Jessica Alton are fond of saying that to get involved in something that matters, people just need to be asked.

President Obama once said that his job was not to move our country 180 degrees, it was to move it 5 degrees. Then, like a plane or a ship, you end up in a very different place. My job as President of this organization is not some sort of wholesale change. Our job, together, you and me, is to keep moving it in the direction that those who have gone before have thus far advanced. Having taken the gavel from Jessica Alton, I can hand it off to President Elect, Jaclyn Zendrian, in June, having moved it 5 degrees.

Growing up in a household where there was much more love than there was money, an opportunity to have an experience like what ILEA professionals produce on a daily basis was almost nonexistent. In many ways, aren’t we all pushing the limits of our industry so that we can create moments for people, moments that we might have missed out on? We exist to give those that we serve an experience they will never forget. Our talents are a great blessing and a sacred trust that we have to honor and it is the backbone of the International Live Events Association.

None of us do this alone, we are not omnipotent and are most often better when we value community over competition. We get to exist in this great cross section of the world, where creativity is valued as equally as logistics. ILEA members are professionals of all stripes who can quote chapter and verse from their personal “Bible” of event knowledge and experience.

Now, here comes the ask. Join with us, not only to collaborate, network, learn and grow this organization, but also so that you can be ready to be the one there to make that experience something unforgettable, whether you are selecting the perfect accent to a client’s décor, planning a gala to raise money to help cure disease or simply providing the right music that brings an event to it’s ideal crescendo… what we do matters.

We change lives, the world is measurably better because we are in it. ILEA stands at the vanguard of live events, ready to press forward into an ever changing world. If you are not yet a part of our family, join and I promise that you will be better for it, if you are already part of our family, get involved, collaborate with each other, join a committee… because it is with your help and a bit of divine providence that I will be able to successfully navigate this year, and then we need our successors (maybe you) to whom we will pass the baton.

Thank you for your time and patience and for reading this entire message, now, let’s get busy moving this organization 5 degrees.

ILEA International

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.



“I benefited because I made really good friends.”
              – Jaclyn Zendrian.  Cure PSP
“I made professional connections in the industry that have elevated my events.”
               – Candice Soldano.  Federal Home Loan Bank Of New York
“Becoming a part of an uplifting community of like-minded industry professionals who are invested in both the growth of one another and the growth of the event industry as a whole.  I love my new friends they are supportive, smart/resourceful  and invested in our collective success.”
                – Elaina Luparello.  Cirque Central Entertainment.

About CSEP

Do you have a desire to become more marketable to employers and clients? An interest in obtaining a designation that illustrates your experience, professionalism and creative events industry acumen? Earn your CSEP and set yourself apart from the competition.

The CSEP designation is the hallmark of professional achievement in the creative events industry. It is earned through education, performance, experience, and service to the industry, and reflects a commitment to professional conduct and ethics.

Please click here to learn more about the CSEP designation and to take the first step toward advancing your career.

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February 2020

When:  Feb 19, 2020 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM (ET)
Where:   CONVENE, 810 7th Avenue, Beekman Hub Room, New York, NY, 10019, US
When:  Feb 26, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (ET)
Where:   SLATE, 54 West 21st Street, New York, NY, 10010, US

March 2020

When:  Mar 18, 2020 from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM (ET)
Where:   Neuman's Kitchen, 35-02 48th Avenue, Long Island City, NY, 11101, US

April 2020

When:  Apr 23, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (ET)

June 2020

When:  Jun 17, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (ET)
Where:   Manhattan Manor, 201 West 52nd Street, New York, NY, 10019, US