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Why I Became a CSEP - Kelly Early, CSEP

When I entered the Event Profession full-time, I did not know what I was doing. Though I had worked in the industry throughout high school and college, but the business of events was much more complicated. I found myself in the unique position of needing to learn as much as possible as fast as possible. My mother, who started our company, retired suddenly when I had only been with the company full-time for 2 years. I had to learn quick, so I took the advice of a close friend of the company who told me it might be good for me to attend an ILEA function that was coming up. At that first meeting, I knew that this organization could provide growth and networking opportunities that I did not know even existed. When I decided to become a member, I knew I could not just be a “checkbook member”, writing a check and calling myself a member without participating in the organization. I joined a committee, and then quickly, the local Board of Directors, where I served as President. I valued the Organization on a regional and international level as well, so I also served two terms as out Regional Vice President. The contacts and content I have made through that participation has been THE most valuable steppingstone in my development as an Event Professional. The more I learned about ILEA, and the more I heard about the CSEP Designation, the more I knew that obtaining my CSEP would help set me apart from other people who talked the talk, but didn’t walk the walk of being a true professional in this industry. I found some other people who also had the goal of obtaining their CSEP and we formed a study group. We met once a week for 6 months prior to sitting for our exams (in those days the exam was only given at ILEA Live and at The Special Event). It was not easy, and I did not want it to be. Nothing worth having should come easy. All our study group members passed the exam. It has been a source of accomplishment and pride for me and my company. I recommend it to anyone who wants to set themselves apart in this industry.

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