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ILEA ONWARD - Moving Onward with ILEA - Lisa Ware


As we move into renewal season for ILEA, the Chicago Membership team sat down with Lifetime, Long Term, and Past President members to hear why they are so committed to being a part of ILEA. Learn more about why these members are moving ONWARD with ILEA!

How long have you been a member of ILEA?

10 years! I signed up on my own dime the second I entered the event industry and have never looked back. On day two of being an ILEA member, I joined a Committee, and that was the best decision I made to get involved right out of the gate.

What did it mean to you to be the President of the Greater Chicago Chapter?

I was so proud to be the President of the Greater Chicago Chapter. It was a goal of mine as soon as I joined the Board. It was the most amazing experience to give back to my industry and work with my fellow Board members to provide really great resources, education and networking opportunities to bring our industry together. I loved being President so much, I came back for a second year. 😊

Did you meet any important people of influence in your career through ILEA?

I have met some of my forever friends through ILEA. I still give all the credit to Barb Harris as she was the one that inspired me to chase a dream and move to Chicago. She made the introductions to my first job in Chicago and has been the best cheerleader and mentor to me throughout my career path the last eight years and I met her through ILEA. If you let it, ILEA can give you lifelong friends and a network of people that will always have your back. 

Who/ what inspired you to go into the events industry?

My Nan (grandmother) was a lifelong entertainer, and I grew up in her kitchen and watched her every move. She taught me so much and absolutely gave me my love for entertaining and hospitality. 

What are you most excited for in the future of events?

The creativity and innovation of our industry is limitless, and I am forever amazed at the dreams event professionals bring to life every day. Our industry is so resilient and after the last year, I am so ready to stand side by side with all the amazing Chicago event professionals and execute some spectacular events for our clients and do things that would have seemed impossible even a few years ago! That is the magic of our industry – forever pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

How are you continuing to evolve your network and community over the years?

I always try to continue to stay involved. I have been actively involved with ILEA on a Board since the first year I joined. I am now enjoying being an active member on my local chapter and have joined the Board of the International Caterers Association. I think it is so important to always continue to flex your wings and stay involved in our industry.

Referral Program

Have a new referral or closed piece of  business that came from another ILEA Member? Please complete our Referral Tracking Program, linked here, to help us track the ROI of membership! If you have questions, please reach out to the membership team at

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