Chapter Mission and History

Chapter Mission Statement

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of ILEA is a diverse group of business professionals serving the event needs of the business and social community. We are dedicated to continuing the advancement of quality and professionalism while upholding the highest ethical standards within the special event industry. We promise to respect and support each other by providing professional education and opportunities for networking in an atmosphere of fun.

Collaborative. Creative. Credible.

To create our chapter’s operating positioning statement, we felt these three words demonstrate the benefits of ILEA membership for our members and for our community. We are “A collaborative community of creative professionals dedicated to continuing education and service in special events”

Collaborative: It is who we work with and for; our teams and our audience
Creative: It is how we do what we do; innovation
Credible: It is about our process and our expertise; as professionals seeking results

It is these three words which best describe the members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of ILEA.  We believe Collaborative. Creative. Credible. is the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter’s core personality and how we as a local chapter support the international ISES brand: “Dedicated and educated to deliver creative excellence and professionalism in special events.”

Chapter History

In the early 1990s major events such as the Special Olympics, the US Open, the Final Four and the Superbowl raised the bar for event in the Twin Cities and gave impetus to a thirst for more knowledge, products and talent.

Each year event professionals would travel to international conferences like The Special Event searching for connections and new ideas to bring back to the Twin Cities marketplace. Eventually, inspired by our experiences and searching for more, the question was raised, “How do we start an ISES Chapter in Minnesota?”

In the winter of 1998, Diana Brasch, Becky Harris, CSEP, Jolene Ihle, Michelle Kramer, Jayna Larrea, and Cheryl Kranz, CMP,  began the process of establishing a “Chapter in Formation”. These ‘competitors’ committed to work together on this worthy mission and as the idea gained momentum. The first membership rally was held on April 2, 1998. Over 100 people attended to learn more about ISES from the President of the International Board of Governors, Tim Lundy. That first meeting yielded membership applications from 20 people! Our second membership rally on June 11, 1998 yeiled the additional fifteen memberships needed to become a chapter. On Saturday, August 8, 1998 the National Board of Governors officially voted us in as the Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of ISES, and on September 10, 1998, we held our first official meeting.

International Immediate Past President Tim Lundy returned to swear in Becky Harris, CSEP, as President of the inaugural Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter Board of Directors and the twenty-fifth chapter of International Special Event Society was a reality.

Over the next ten years, ISES helped grow the sophistication of the event industry in the Twin Cities. By 2004 the chapter had introduced a Scholarship program, assisting members by funding higher learning opportunities. In 2005, we introduced the Minnesota Star Awards to recognize all Minnesota event professionals for their creative efforts. We learned that when we collaborated to harness our creativity, credibility in the community followed. Our membership exploded in 2006-2007 from 77 to 176 members. In 2008-2009 we introduced a Mentorship Program to benefit our growing membership. In 2010-2011 we expanded our education offerings to include Learning Labs and Event Previews.

In 2016 ILEA Minneapolis-St. Paul member and International Board of Governors President, Jodi Collen, CSEP led the way to changing the name from ISES to ILEA, the International Live Events Association. 

ILEA Minneapolis-St. Paul is the only chapter in the international organization to be recognized as International Chapter of the Year three times. Through the enriching networking and continuing education of our monthly programs, and the creativity and innovation of our leadership, our dynamic chapter is recognized as leaders for the special event industry.

International Involvement:

The ILEA international leadership teams are responsible for providing the vision and plans across all chapters. The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter has been honored to have our local leaders serve at the International Level:

Board of Governors:

Jodi Collen, CSEP, Director Term 2008-2011
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Secretary, 2012-2013
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Treasurer, 2013-2014
Jodi Collen, CSEP, President Elect, 2014-2015
Jodi Collen, CSEP, President, 2015-2016

Regional Vice Presidents:

Jodi Collen, CSEP 2006-2008

International Committee/Council Chairs:

Ryan Hanson, CSEP, MarCom-ISES Pages Editor 2008-2009
Matthew Trettel, MarCom 2009-2010
Lisa Marie Borchert, CSEP, Spirit of Excellence 2011-2012
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Chair, Education Council 2011-2012
Ryan Hanson, CSEP, Chair, Education Council 2012-2013

International Committee Members:

Craig Oliver, Jodi Collen, CSEP, Jim Leighton, Cara Schultz, Lisa Marie Borchert, CSEP, Ryan Hanson, CSEP, Kate Stahl, CSEP, Matthew Trettel, Xander Castro, Ruth Wikoff-Jones, CSEP