NACE & ILEA Joint Meeting

November 13, 2018
11:30 AM - 1:30 PM
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Gino's East of Chicago
162 East Superior St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Venue website

Have you been curious about the NICE Awards, but too intimidated to enter a submission? Our industry experts shed some light on the history of the awards, what winning can mean to *your* business, and clear up any concerns about the process! The NACE & ILEA Lunch & Learn will begin with a quick panel discussion from some people involved in the inception of the awards, past winners and people involved in planning the event this year. From there, we will have table discussions to go over the details on putting together a successful submission. Thanks to Gino's East for providing lunch and our panel of experts for providing the brain food!  

Event Agenda: 

11:30am - Guest Arrival, registration 

12pm - 12:30pm - Panel Discussion with NICE Winners 

12:30pm - 1:00pm - Table Discussion & Winning Strategies 

1:30pm - Event Ends  

MODERATOR - Martin Lawrence


Ellen Harte, CPCE, CSEP -Tasty Catering,  Director of Business Development

  • Member of ILEA and NACE since 1999
  • NICE Awards committee member, multiple years
  • 2006 NICE Awards Co-Chair
  • 2011 ILEA Chicago Day of Education Co-Chair
  • 2014 NACE Conference Panelist
  • NACE CPCE module facilitator

“Participation in the NICE Awards program is fulfilling on a personal and professional level.  Receiving recognition for a job-well-done is validating and establishes you and your organization as experts.  ILEA and NACE provide the framework for education and development.  The tools are all there – you just need to learn how to use them!”

Valerie Braun - Arena Americas/Industry Relations Manager

  • I have been a member of ILEA from the beginning which is almost 30 years
  • Throughout this time I served as a Board Member, Secretary, VP of Programs, Vice President, President in 1999-2000 and Regional VP
  • Served many years on the NICE Awards Committee.
  • NICE Awards winner

 “As a winner the NICE Awards has given Arena Americas a great vehicle to promote the work of not only our company, but our industry as well. As an attendee it has given me the opportunity to meet and interact with the most talented industry professionals from the most well respected event companies in Chicago.”

Linda Whitlock - Corporate Event Interactive, President

  • ILEA (ISES) Board Member, VP Programs and President
  • Inaugural NICE Awards Committee Member and Event Co-Chair
  • Member for 12 years

“We love being part of the Chicago event community and the NICE Awards demonstrate our dedication. It is especially important to show clients that we are recognized by our peers as a leader in the industry. Whether we win or not, it is the effort of playing the game that counts : )”

Brett Ihde, CPCE

  • Magnificent Events - Vice President
  • NACE Immediate Past President
  • NACE former Treasurer
  • NICE Awards winner

"The NICE awards are an amazing representation of the best of the best of what Chicagoland professionals have to offer."


Sandy Sobczak - Senior Sales Rep

  • Marquee Event Rentals
  • ILEA Board, 2 term past president, Membership VP, Program VP, Membership Committee
  • 20 year member of ILEA
  • Current NICE Awards Co-Chair 2019

“Being a part of the NICE Awards has been a complete package with me.  Creating buzz about our company, getting your company out in front of the industry is key!  This association event is the way to do it.  Creating partnerships is what it’s all about and we are the group in our industry to do just that!!! My tag line with the NICE Awards: You have to enter to win!!”

Whitney Taylor -Drape Kings, Business Development Manager

  • Current NACE Secretary
  • Previously served as NACE VP, Director of Programs for most recent 2 terms

“I've had the opportunity to serve as a Co-Chair, committee member, sponsor, winner, and attendee. Being involved in so many different aspects of this event has been extremely rewarding; for personal event education, to deepen industry relationships, broaden Drape Kings' visibility to our Chicago clients and partners, and give back to our community which has been so gracious to me and my growth”

Timot McGonagle - Kehoe Designs, Senior Event Producer

  • ILEA Boards of Directors
  • ILEA Program Committee Member
  • NICE Awards winner

“We put so much passion and care into what we do.  We were proud of the results and that the industry chose to honor us.  Best of all, both awarded events were a result of loyal multi-year client multi-year relationships.”

 Zachary Stevens - Calihan Catering, Account Executive

  • NACE Treasurer
  • CPCE Candidate
  • NACE Student Member of the Year Nominee
  • NICE Awards winner

"Being recognized by your peers who understand the amount of hard work that goes into these events make any sort of recognition so incredibly special, and it resonates through all of our employees at Calihan Catering"






Gino's East Valet Parking available for $17.00 ( 3 hours) or $10.00 Spothero parking 3 blocks away at 750 N. Rush (The Chicagoan.) 



$25.00 Member Ticket

$45.00 Non-Member

$15.00 Student Ticket