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Think ISES: January-February 2015

Think ISES: January-February 2015

The latest news from the International Special Events Society for January-February 2015

Why It’s Important to Seek Global Opportunities for Education

By James Morgan, Ph.D., CSEP

In the dynamic interconnected economy, event professionals are expected to produce events that are not only creative but provide unique experiences. As human beings in a globalized world, we are continually experiencing new ways of seeing that world, such as trying new things, new foods and new technology, seeing differing lifestyles, traveling to new destinations and immersing ourselves in new cultures.

For event professionals, understanding the way in which we represent new experiences to attendees has to be based on a robust and extensive knowledge base with a global perspective. This results in creative and unique events. But why is a global perspective important for event professionals?

Firstly, to gain a “global” perspective on designing event experiences, the interdisciplinary nature of event production is reliant on educating ourselves on the workings of other disciplines. The intersection of event production with trends and developments in other areas such as art, architecture, construction, design, digital technology, fashion and many other disciplines will contribute to creating unique experiences.  

Secondly, networking with other event professionals, wherever they may be, creates knowledge transfer. This knowledge may be about sharing best practices, how legal, safety, environmental and other regulations work in different countries, or the etiquette of doing business in a foreign destination.

Thirdly, building your capacity as an international citizen who absorbs knowledge on new practices and in disciplines that impact events will make you see the world differently. By now, you should imagine that your event will be the most creative and unique event ever delivered. You know something that your competitors do not understand or comprehend. Combine that with a good understanding of cultural nuances, and you’re a winner!

Importantly, by engaging with other people to increase your opportunities for education--whether virtually or face-to-face--and understanding cultural differences and localized ways of doing things is an advantage to you in further development of your skills and knowledge as an event professional.

Whether educating yourself through informal personal development or formal education, this should be done through the lens of a global perspective. That means grasping at international educational opportunities. This could be in the form of attending international conferences and speaker sessions at trade exhibitions to viewing a YouTube video about an event that took place in a faraway place, or even signing up for a webinar held in a foreign country. The opportunities that exist for personal development are invaluable to you and, most importantly, for your attendees at events you develop. They should also participate in the global experience economy, and you are the facilitator.

Name: James Morgan, Ph.D., CSEP
Company: Event Tech Lab
London, UK
Phone: 020 2222 2222
Email: [email protected]

Next Page: A Q&A with a CSEP from Down Under

The Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) designation recognizes individuals in the creative events industry who demonstrate the ability, knowledge and skills to produce all components of an event at the highest level. Established in 1993, its recognition continues to grow around the world through its thorough measurement of a candidate's ability in all aspects of event production; establishing each CSEP as a versatile and capable member of the global events industry.

CSEPs help to further the industry by leading their peers and elevating the standards and ethics to which all event professionals are held. We are entrusted with the safety and well-being of others at every event we produce, cater, design or supply and are recognized for our expertise--and we should hold our colleagues to the same high standards. Making the CSEP a global industry standard can help us accomplish that goal.

For a global perspective of the importance of the CSEP, I share with you a conversation with Jennifer Trethewey, CSEP, managing director of The JT Group, based in Melbourne, Australia.

MD: As a seasoned professional, why did you want to pursue the CSEP?

JT: The CSEP leverages me and my personal brand--plus, as an Australian who works internationally on a regular basis, it demonstrates my commitment and knowledge as an event practitioner to be able to work anywhere. We need to present to Australia--and the rest of the world--the importance of this qualification. The more people who achieve it, the higher profile it has. 

MD: What value do you see in continuing professional education?

JT: It's nonnegotiable. As professionals, we must commit to being continually educated. It's the only way we can keep ahead of the competition and ensure we know and understand what is at the cutting edge in the event industry around the world! 

MD: What do you perceive as the “value add” of hiring credentialed individuals on client projects/programs?

JT: The CSEP validates I am working with and have appointed the right people to the right project. It gives comfort and confidence to all of us when we are coordinating our teams to execute events. 

MD: What advice do you have for those who are thinking of pursing the CSEP?

JT: Do not hesitate--just do it! The CSEP puts you in another league of event professionals--it increases your chances of getting "that" job and gives you confidence to pursue roles and pitch to clients that you may not have attempted in the past! Go get it!

A new CSEP Content Outline is now live and will be the base for all exams beginning in January 2015. Updates to the CSEP Content Outline include sustainability initiatives, social engagement strategies, risk management, emerging technologies and more, reflecting current and projected industry best practices as well as an adjustment to the distribution of questions from each of the four domain areas. The format of the test remains as a computer-based examination that is scored as either pass or fail. The exam consists of two parts: a 90-minute, 100 multiple-choice question section and a three-hour, short essay-style written section, both based on the new CSEP Content Outline. To download a copy of the new CSEP Content Outline and/or register for the exam, visit

Name: Morgan Doan, CSEP, PWC
Company: Morgan Events
Address: 2565 Third Street, Suite 220
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: 415/728-2840

Continuing Education: Good for You, Good for the Events Industry

By Jennifer Claire Scott, CSEP

ISES People Learn. Why is that such a significant statement? It is because the International Special Events Society (ISES) and our members are committed to continuing education. This commitment helps put the event industry on a platform with many revered professions around the world that have long been associated with professional standards and lifelong (career-long) learning programs: doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, scientists, engineers.

Why do these professions rely on continuing education? Because now, even more than ever before, we live and work in a rapidly evolving community. Things happen every single day that impact what people in these fields do, what we do, how we produce and the way we do business. Whether it is new trends or new technology, to stay current we must stay informed. We must continue to learn and to hone our craft--to be relevant, to be competitive, to be recognized as the best at what we do.

Continuing education also helps us to be humble and realize that we cannot possibly know it all. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we don’t know. The more we are involved, the more we are able to identify qualified industry partners to help us. Together, we are far more capable than alone.

Continuing education is in part about academic learning--taking classes at a university, enrolling in online educational seminars, and/or attending educational sessions at local association meetings or industry conferences (like The Special Event conference or ISES Live!) is crucial. However, with so many options available, it can be confusing and hard to determine the best educational choices. So, to help identify the best available tools, ISES has recently launched the ISES Approved program. Educational products (online classes, etc.) as well as industry conference sessions that have been awarded the ISES Approved stamp are educational opportunities with content that has been reviewed by the ISES Education Council and deemed to be valuable learning tools in line with the ISES Core Curriculum for event industry learning.  

Remember that continuing education is also about the exchange of ideas--the sharing of experience helps us to develop best practices on a global level. And those best practices bring recognition and respect to our profession. Collaboration is key to advancement. A significant part of continued learning is about getting involved in industry associations and participating in informed discussion and debate. 

So, how do you announce to the world that you are committed to continuing education? Become professionally certified. Whether it is the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation, and/or one of the other professional designations for the events industry and its related fields, be proud of your expertise and take the exam! And then use your designation to demonstrate to the rest of the business community that an event professional committed to continuing education is the best possible choice for an event services partner.

Being actively involved in continuing education requires a commitment of time and resources that might seem daunting; however, as Ben Franklin very wisely advised: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Ultimately, the more we improve ourselves and our industry, the more successful we can each be.

Name: Jennifer Claire Scott, CSEP
2014-2015 ISES Education Council Chair
Company: Empire Force Events / ACCESS New York Metro
Address: 77 W. 24th Street, Third Floor
New York, NY 10010
Phone: 212/924-0321

2014 ISES Emerging Talent Student Conference

By Michael Davey 

The ISES Melbourne Student Conference has grown exponentially and developed a high profile over the last five years. It is now a “must attend” event on the tertiary student calendar throughout many institutions in Victoria, Australia.

The event industry is always changing, is competitive and is challenging--to say the least! It is critical for the ongoing success of the industry to ensure that we are growing and developing the right talent with the right skills. We believe the ISES Emerging Talent Student conference delivers cutting-edge information, creativity, education and networks that students wouldn’t normally gain in their everyday working and study environment.

The relationships between ISES Melbourne and the institutions is exceptional, and it is through this partnership that we have been able to grow and leverage the event and the brand so that students as young as 17 years of age would know that ISES is where it’s at and where they need to go to get the latest information and resources when it comes to events in Australia

The most recent annual "ISES Emerging Talent Student Conference Presented by Event Workforce" was held in the auditorium at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins on May 19, 2014.

The conference focused on career success, weddings, mentoring, festivals (White Night and Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival), how to get into the industry, and how to leave a lasting impression in the events industry, which was presented by Bennett Merriman, director of business operations for Event Workforce, which was 2014’s naming rights sponsor.

The conference also showcased the previous year’s winner of the Emerging Talent Award, Bailey O’Connor-Tennat, who spoke of her career success in the 12 months since she won the award.

More than 200 students, industry members and professionals attended the conference, where they could ask industry leaders questions in a “can of worms” forum at the end of the conference.

The ISES Emerging Talent Student Conference Presented by Event Workforce is the premier student conference on the Event Industry calendar. Visit for more details on the 2015 event.

Name: Michael Davey
Organization: ISES Melbourne Chapter
Phone: +61 (0) 402 557 169
Email: [email protected]

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