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Meet ILEA Chicago Member - Jill Brown


Tell us a little bit about yourself...

Who/ what inspired you to go into event planning?
This will sound like a joke, but I was recently chatting with friends about
The Love Boat. It reminded me that at a young age I wanted to be Julie the
Cruise Director.

While I had many influencers and support through the years, in my first job
out of college as a trust banker, one of my managers encouraged me to
make a change. He knew I had a knack and personality for other things. I
quit the job and started my quest in the event industry.

Tell us one thing we might not learn about you right away?
I started playing the flute in 5th grade, and I still play today!
What do you love the most about what you do?
I love the opportunity to work with a variety of organizations and
people - it is never boring!

Where did you grow up?
I live in Chicago but am a proud product of Aurora, IL. I am still very much
connected to friends and involved with organizations all things Aurora.
(Roll-On WA Blackhawks!)

What's your event gone wrong horror story?
Goodness - when I worked for LaSalle/ABN AMRO there was a week
when the Chairman was in town for small executive meetings. The entire
city was over-booked and long story short, we were at The Peninsula and
the staff tried to get very creative moving/storing furniture out of a too-small
suite space we were using. I’d like to just forget about it. But lessons
learned include: sometimes you just have to speak up sooner to say “this
isn’t going to work”, creative solutions in non-traditional venues, language
usage between cultures (especially when someone indicates something is
a casual meeting...the Dutch can be easy-going in some ways, other ways
not! It’s never casual with the Chairman). It’s all so obvious now.

What made you interested in participating in ILEA? 
It has been a few years since being a member of the organization. Last
year I was receiving the invitations to participate in the Real Talk sessions
and once I was hooked into those monthly, I realized this would be the
right place for me considering my focus and interests. Of course the many
members who I am already connected with was another attraction to
joining. And Patrick, of course Patrick because of Wednesday morning

Learn more about and connect with Jill:
Hint - Jill prefers to be referred to as Jill Brown but some of her accounts
still have Jill Brown Smith listed.