History and Mission

ILEA_Minneapolis_St_Paul_Chapter_2603C.pngAbout the International Live Event Association - Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter

The International Live Events Association is comprised of over 5,600 professionals associated among 50 chapters in 37 countries around the world who work in the live events industry.

We are a dynamic group of special events professionals dedicated to providing educational and networking opportunities for our members, as well as promoting professionalism in the live events industry.

The ILEA Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter is the authoritative voice on special events throughout the upper Midwest.  A unique association, ILEA connects independent/corporate/association/non-profit and educational planners and producers, venues, transportation services, catering, design, floral, rental, technical, and production suppliers all under one umbrella. As the special events industry continues to become an active force in our ever-changing economy, our members are the human voices and talent driving the local industry.

Our Mission

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter of ILEA is a diverse group of event professionals serving the 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 live event industry. We promise to respect and support each other by providing professional education and opportunities for networking in an atmosphere of fun.


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 and problem solving
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 ILEA brand.

Our History

In the early 1990s major events such as the Special Olympics, the US Open, the Final Four and the Super Bowl 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 International Speical Events Socity (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 the association 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, the chapter 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 SIX times (2020-2021, 2017-2018, 2016-2017, 2009-2010, 2006-2007 and 2005-2006). 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.

In August 2019, ILEA Minneapolis-St. Paul was the host city for ILEA Live - the theme was "Cultivating Creativity".

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.
Ryan Hanson, CSEP, Board of Governors Director, Term 2020-2021
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Board of Governors President, 2015-2016
Jodi Collen, CSEP, BOG Executive Committee (President Elect, Treasurer,Secretary) 2012-2015
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Board of Governors Director Term 2008-2011
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Regional Vice President Midwest 2006-2008
Ryan Hanson, CSEP, Chair, Education Council 2012-2013
Jodi Collen, CSEP, Chair, Education Council 2011-2012
Lisa Marie Borchert, CSEP, Spirit of Excellence Chair 2011-2012
Matthew Trettel, MarCom Committee Chair 2009-2010
Ryan Hanson, CSEP, MarCom-ISES Pages Editor 2008-2009

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