Notes from The Special Event 2012

March 22, 2012


By John Peckham, President-Elect of the St. Louis Chapter of ISES (International Special Events Society)

I had the pleasure of attending The Special Event 2012 at the Tampa Convention Center and the International Special Event Society leadership meetings that preceded it. Both events were full of excitement, learning, and wonderful event professionals from around the globe. I attended educational seminars, walked the show floor, saw spectacular productions and entertainment and networked with the leaders of the event industry.

While other associations and trade shows focus on a particular market, both TSE and ISES share a common focus on the broad spectrum of the special events industry. Both share the mission of advancing professionalism in the industry through education. ISES members support the education program at the show, which offers tracks in business and professional development, design, event management, event tools and resources, foodservice, professional development, sales and marketing and wedding trends. ISES provides the CSEP certification that recognizes event professionals for competency in all disciplines of the special events industry. It is earned through education, performance, experience, and service to the industry, and reflects a commitment to professional conduct and ethics. The mission of ISES is to educate, advance and promote the special events industry and its network of professionals along with related industries. Never is that more apparent than at trade shows like TSE and the coming Eventworld in Dallas, at which ISES will celebrate 25 years of service.


Our St. Louis chapter boasts a diverse group of more than 120 event professionals, several of whom attended the TSE conference in Tampa. For years, St. Louis has played an important role in TSE and ISES Leadership. As in years past, local talent Tricia Cheek, of TSquare Services, provided TSE with the custom CAD draftings that allowed the vendors to succeed in producing spectacular events and galas. This year, Erin Schulte of Exclusive Events presented an educational seminar titled “WOW Moms! Event Industry Mothers.” In an interview with Erin she acknowledged that the event production ethic in St. Louis is on par with any you might find in the cities on the coast. Debbie Bueckman, Breanne Glisan and I represented the St. Louis ISES chapter board at the leadership conference. While roaming the show floor, I ran into Contemporary Events producer Sam Foxman. Sam told me that TSE is a clearinghouse of all of the latest trends, people and products in the event industry and that he comes each year to learn from and network with peers from all over the world.

Attendance at conferences like TSE and Eventworld and membership in ISES makes available the international exchange of ideas and event information. Through education and sharing, we can manage our response to the increasing pace of change in the events industry and defend ourselves against obsolescence. As past president of ISES Calgary, Kenneth Kristoffersen said, “In an ultra- competitive market, not only will you need superior skills, but you will also need to demonstrate that you are keeping up with the changing event industry. If you dislike change you’re going to absolutely hate irrelevance.” It’s perhaps the best way to keep current and defend against the challenging economic climate that our industry faces. Hope to see you at the next ISES meeting and at Eventworld in Dallas.

John Peckham is an Event Technologies Consultant and President of ISES – St. Louis chapter.  Contact him at: [email protected]

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