Your clients love your work. Your events go off without a hitch. But sometimes, you’d like nothing more than an opportunity to share a few war stories or tricks of the trade with people who understand your job the way no one else can. Participating in a professional organization can off er that kind of camaraderie, along with some real-world help in sharpening the skills you need to be your best. (And don’t be surprised if you form some lasting friendships, too.) Here’s a quick guide to some of Minnesota’s top industry associations for planners, suppliers and vendors.
Formerly known as MSAE, the newly rebranded Associations North is now being led by co-directors Angela Kisskeys and Sarah Ruzek. “We’re excited about our new roles and committed to being innovative, strategic and living out our mission to advance and serve the association management profession” Kisskeys says. The organization, which is an association for associations, celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, and went through strategic planning to help it more effectively speak to its future audiences. With a purpose to advance and serve association management professionals, it currently serves 1,200 members from 300 associations in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“We work to be continually engaging and innovative, from large conferences to halfday symposiums on specific topics,” Kisskeys says. “We’re especially focused on diversity and inclusion, and we want to be a model of how to be an inclusive culture. We hope that our members will always be able to take something back to their associations with fresh knowledge to help them do their jobs better.”\
The International Live Events Association (ILEA)
“Most creative event professionals look for ways to connect with like-minded peers,” says Maria Cabrera Hutera, CMP, Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter president. The ILEA Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter is not only a local community of creative event professionals, but also a global community of thousands whose skills, expertise and experience plan and execute some of the most influential live events around the world. Membership includes event planners/producers, caterers, meeting planners, decorators, audio-visual technicians, convention coordinators, entertainers, educators, journalists, photographers, hotel sales managers and more.
“Our objectives locally, and globally, are to ensure a thriving and global creative events profession by providing our members and stakeholders with collaborative networking, education and professional development, inspiration and outward awareness and credibility,” Hutera says. Every month, ILEA Minneapolis-St. Paul has great opportunities for creative event professionals to connect. Chapter members receive special benefits such as discounted program pricing, access to local and global member directories and invitations to special members-only events.
"The live events industry is in a constant state of evolution,” she notes. “The event needs of clients and organizations are changing, technology progresses rapidly and newer trends emerge. ILEA has the resources, education and most importantly, a broad global network, to build relationships that grow business and propel events to the next level of success.”
Meeting Professionals International (MPI)
The MPI Minnesota Chapter, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, offers members a wide variety of opportunities for professional and personal growth, including continuing education, CMP credits, mentorship programs, networking and leadership development. This local chapter is part of an international organization with 18,500 members from 71 countries, representing more than $22 billion in global buying power.
“We’re a strong chapter that not only celebrates tenure in the industry, but also welcomes those new to the meetings and events industry,” says Amy Mauzy, social media and PR chair on the organization’s marketing committee. “We focus on education, recognition and giving back to our industry.”
“Being involved in MPI Minnesota is a great way to gain knowledge and career depth in the meeting and event industry—not only for meeting planners but also for those in the hospitality industry, event suppliers and students,” Mauzy says.
National Association for Catering and Events (NACE)
“At every NACE meeting, we strive to create a ‘Moment of Wow’ to inspire and delight our members and meeting attendees,” says Vice President Jamie Quickert. “It helps us stay ahead of the trends and is a playful reminder of why we love what we do.”
The organization is focused on creating a strong community in which event professionals can network and learn from one another personally and professionally. NACE’s mission is to be the premier resource and community for catering and event professionals.
“In a world where margins are slimmer and expectations are greater than ever before, catering and event professionals must keep current on trends, produce creative ideas, and continually build upon their network of innovate professionals to be successful and competitive,” Quickert says.
“We provide a clear career path for catering and event professionals that directly affects the way they do business and sets them apart as a professional in the hospitality industry. We understand that as an event professional your time is valuable, and we strive to create programs that are rich in both education and experience.”
Senior Planners Industry Network (SPIN)
As a place to connect and network, SPIN provides a space for senior-level planners to meet and have meaningful conversations and a safe space to ask difficult questions and get solid answers from peers. “We also provide education meant for senior-level planners, and we offer CEU credits for some sessions,” says Dana Ellis, president of the Twin Cities branch of the organization.
“We’re an organization that’s created by planners, for planners,” she says. “Our goal is to build real relationships with each other, help each other by sharing our experiences or advice and build our own knowledge base. We select different venues around the Twin Cities to hold our events, so that we can tour new, different and updated venues,” Ellis says.
SPIN is one of the associations on the planning team for the local celebration event for Global Meetings Industry Day on April 12. “It’s a day designated to talk about the importance of the meetings industry, which globally has a huge impact on local and national economies,” Ellis says. “We get together to discuss how we can better articulate the importance of meetings and events and how professional planners can bring increased value and strategic thinking to the team.”