As this month of October 2016 ends, I finish nearly 90 events for the year. I complete 18 years doing business as Future Sounds DJ Service. Looking back, I have a database with over 2500 events that I personally provided entertainment to as well as other professional services. If I include time back to 1993 when I began in the mobile industry with Cutting Edge Entertainment, that puts me at 23 years of special event experience. I also spent over ten years in radio, a few years in T.V., time at skating rinks, and dance clubs as an entertainer and manager. Between 1993 and 2003, I also spent many weeknights as a karaoke host leading and running some large-scale karaoke events that were the talk of the river. To enrich my media foundation, I added a BA in Technical Communication and a Master’s in Education. Although I mention a wealth of experience above that deals with group and event management for over 30 years, today I still find myself seeking more education, more knowledge and some type of certification that validates my experience when working with others in the industry. The question is where do I go from here, how do I achieve that certification and what is the next step?

According to the (2016), “the special events industry has experienced phenomenal growth, is more challenging than ever and requires an increasing level of professionalism.” Established in 1993, the Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) designation recognized event professionals who have successfully demonstrated the knowledge, skills and ability essential to perform all components of a special event. Furthermore, CSEP designation sets professionals apart from the competition and indicates expertise in the preparation and execution of successful special events ( 2016).

According to (2016), the CSEP program was developed to increase the proficiency of event professionals, elevate industry standards and practices, and establish the level of knowledge and performance necessary for certification. The program would also promote the advancement of the special events industry, advance the careers of practitioners and acknowledge the high caliber work of CSEPs and the value of the products and services they provide. Over the years, the CSEP continues an ongoing progression as a worldwide recognition of the special events industry and continues to develop greater acceptance as an industry standard of professionalism. Now more than ever before, professionals within the industry recognize the CSEP to be an influential designation for the education and the promotion of professional ethics and the highest standards ( 2016). The ILEA website continues by stating, that being a recipient of the CSEP designation demonstrates a continuous dedication to enhance individual and professional performance. The CSEP designation offers a competitive advantage when soliciting business as either a special events industry supplier or planner. It represents proof of your professional market knowledge.


Recently, Gary Jones CSEP, talked at an ILEA S.A. Chapter Lunch and Learn. Jones shared his valuable insight gained while on his journey as a CSEP. You too have an opportunity to elevate the caliber of your work and acceptance not just locally, but worldwide! Tests occur every quarter. Connect with Gary Jones, CSEP at Green Dot for questions or visit to learn more. Where do I go from here, how do I achieve this certification and what is the next step? Follow the link above and search for other local members who are seeking to take the test. Take time to registered and schedule the date. Then you like Jones and many others can show your expertise in the preparation and execution of successful special events every day! #myilea, #ileasa