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Think ISES: January-February 2014

Think ISES: January-February 2014

The latest news from the International Special Events Society, including news on ISES Live 2014 in Seattle

ISES Live®: From Nassau to Seattle

When the first ISES Live was announced back in February, we were promised something new, something different for the events industry. The event, which was at Atlantis, Nassau, Bahamas, was billed as the new international event designed for the creative event professional. It was established to deliver an inspirational experience that would provide a platform to stimulate ideas and share knowledge with other creative professionals from around the world. The content and design of ISES Live was to be inspired by thought leaders from a range of creative industries, including event planning and production, film, fashion, music, marketing, art and design.

So, did ISES Live deliver on its promises over its three days in the Bahamas? Debbie Bueckman, DMCP, ISES Live 2013 Education Chair, believes it did that and more.

“We had more than 300 attendees from all over the world, which made it a truly international event, and we were able to broadcast elements of the conference live to thousands of others who weren’t able to be there,” Bueckman says. “The education, which was always going to be the foundation of ISES Live, was particularly successful, with diverse sessions allowing on-demand learning at the attendees' discretion and pace.”

Planning for ISES Live 2014 has already begun with Seattle announced as the host city, a natural choice with Seattle’s reputation for creativity, innovation, arts, culture and technology. Melissa Jurcan, CSEP, is director of sales, marketing and communications at Seattle-based Seafair and a member of the International Board of Governors of ISES. She believes ISES Live 2014 will build on last year’s success.

“Seattle will enable us to move ISES Live to the next level in 2014,” Jurcan says. “We are fortunate to have a number of iconic businesses based here, including Microsoft, Amazon and Starbucks, all of which provides us with the opportunity to draw on some great content, as well as inspiration for our attendees. Seattle is also a very accessible city, which again is important for our delegates, who come from all over North America and around the world. Add to that the great climate in August, outstanding locally sourced food and wine, and, of course, world-famous coffee, and you can see why ISES Live 2014 is going to be something very special.”

ISES Live takes place at The Westin, Seattle, Aug. 18-20, 2014. Learn more at

Why I Pursued the CSEP

A Q&A with two newly minted CSEPs


Why did you decide to take the CSEP exam?
For many years, there has been little appetite for certification and recognition in the U.K. Last year, while attending ISES Live, I sat for the four-hour exam. Being in the examination room with two other "internationals" from Canada inspired me that times were changing—finally, the CSEP is becoming more internationally recognized.

What were the challenges of preparing for the exam?
For me, the biggest challenge was the potential of failure. As a member of the ISES Board of Governors and a so-called veteran, how would it look if I failed? This was the biggest challenge by far.

I discovered that the fear of failure prevented many skilled individuals from applying, and it is possibly why many more seasoned creative event professionals haven't taken the exam.

Preparation is important, as the exam requires a very wide knowledge base. If you are a caterer, you need to gain more than a cursory knowledge of the challenges surrounding lighting, sound and production.  

What do you hope to gain from earning this designation?
As the first CSEP resident in the U.K., I will use it to spread the word and to prove the credibility of the certification. The examination was much more difficult than I thought, and it was also very international in terms of terminology and approach.

What advice do you have for those who are thinking of pursuing the CSEP?
Think about how you can use it as a point of differentiation for your business, then put this at the forefront of your mind to justify the effort that is required in preparation, as well as the financial outlay.

Be honest with yourself of areas where you have less knowledge than you should, and then research, read and inquire of colleagues and vendors to build your knowledge.

Name: Richard Foulkes, CSEP
Company: The Paradise Experiment
Phone: +447817295047
Email: [email protected]


Why did you decide to take the CSEP exam?

I was in Nassau at ISES Live 2013 and was pressured by friends to take it. I made a comment that I hadn't written an exam since graduating university 40 years ago, and the anxiety of taking an exam was a real deterrent. I was worried, but was assured with 24 years in the industry, I should know most of the information.

Taking the CSEP exam without preparation does not in any way downplay the significance of the accreditation. I probably would have had a harder time with the waiting and anxiety associated with the preparation, and being in a room full of my peers. The smaller group of three examinees in Nassau was the better route for me. 

What do you hope to gain from earning this designation?

As president of ISES Canada, I think it was important to step forward and support the CSEP designation by earning it and then encouraging others to do it as well. It gives you a sense of achievement and credibility with industry peers. I am proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks! 

What advice do you have for those who are thinking of pursuing the CSEP?  

Just do it. Watch your timing on the test as it can get away from you, and don't second-guess yourself. 

Name: Leslee Bell, CSEP
Company: Decor & More Inc.
Address: 1171 Invicta Dr.
Oakville, ON L6H 4M1 Canada
Phone: 905/844-1300
Email: [email protected]

The ISES Esprit Awards: A Chance to Learn and Grow 

By Kathy Newby, 2013-2014 Chair, ISES Esprit Awards

Have you ever thought about entering the ISES Esprit Awards and then been distracted by an activity that took priority? Have you ever wished you were better versed on a topic, but didn’t invest the time to learn? Well, consider this: The ISES Esprit Awards is a competition that is both enriching and educational. The feeling of satisfaction when you submit your entry is uplifting, and organizing your thoughts as you respond to the questions allows you to hone your communications skills.

As the Chair of the 2013-2014 ISES Esprit Awards, I am honored to be part of a 19-year tradition that recognizes excellence in the special event industry worldwide. From corporate event producers and off-site caterers to wedding planners and entertainment, the categories recognize the full spectrum of achievement from the service side of the business. The awards showcase the products of our industry, including tenting and rentals, audio visual and transportation. Whatever your focus, there are more than 35 categories and one is right for you … and your team. Yes, your team. To give you a preview what’s new this year, there are now two team categories: “Best ISES Team Event" (for client events)” and “Best ISES Team Event (Industry--for ISES chapter events).”

Our qualified Esprit Committee comprises five CSEPs, all veterans in the special events industry. They have been working diligently to fine-tune and clarify the entry and judging questions. They are revising budget requirements to better match the disciplines, and drafting a marketing plan to get the word out about the awards programs and aid the nominees and winners in leveraging their accomplishment within their own business community.

The Call for Entries for the 2014 ISES Esprit Awards is now open. The online entry has a user-friendly application format and easy-to-understand instructions. To streamline the entry process even more, have all of your collateral documents readily accessible. If you’ve entered before, you know the positive feeling of pushing the submit button. If you haven’t entered, make this your year--make the effort. You won’t regret the experience.

Need an extra nudge? Just imagine the thrill of being nominated as one of the best in your field. It comes with peer recognition, credibility in the eyes of your clients and personal satisfaction, not to mention the great marketing opportunities provided when you’re nominated and even greater opportunities when you win.  

The feeling of excitement doesn’t stop after the ceremony is over; the ongoing recognition follows you throughout your career. But you can’t know that sense of pride if you don’t enter! So set aside some time and invest in yourself. Take advantage of the chance to learn about yourself and grow your professional knowledge by entering the Esprit Awards.

Log on and enter today:

Name: Kathy Newby
Company: Stuart Rental Co.
Address: 454 S. Abbott Ave.
Milpitas, CA 95305
Phone: 408/856-3236
Email: [email protected]

ISES Membership: The Benefits are Boundless

Why join ISES? We can come up with a few reasons right here.

You are a leader in an industry that's essential, an industry that's creative, an industry that helps people communicate, a global industry. You are looking to learn, to connect, to be inspired, to belong, to be part of something special, something valued.

ISES has supported your industry for more than 25 years. ISES is your association, your partner and your friend. Join ISES and join a membership that is the driving force behind furthering education, professionalism and excellence in the special events industry. 

When you join ISES, you instantly gain access to an elite pool of like-minded creative event resources, exclusive discounts, business opportunities and tailored educational information. ISES membership is your resource for everything you need to craft events that are impactful, exceed expectations, inspire and are remembered.

As an ISES member you get:

·       A listing on the ISES website ( and access to all our valuable information and resources

·       Unlimited use of our online, downloadable and searchable membership directory

·       Professional development and education—at the Chapter and International level

·       Access to ISES Live, ISES’s flagship event, bringing together the world’s best creative minds

·       Exclusive networking opportunities through your local Chapter and globally

·       Eligibility for the ISES Esprit Awards

·       A subscription to Special Events Magazine

·       Accreditation as a Certified Special Events Professional, earned via education, performance, experience and service to the industry

·       Special member discounts and access to affinity programs

We want to learn more about you. Want to learn more about ISES? Visit to explore your next business partner, your supportive colleague and your biggest champion. We are ISES.

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