Straight from a CSEP: Corinne Kessel, Greenscape Design & Décor
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
A CSEP (Certified Special Events Professional) designation reflects the caliber and skills of industry experts worldwide. The program was developed to not only elevate industry standards, but also to advance the careers of practitioners in a competitive events landscape. As part of our Straight from a CSEP series, we started asking current CSEPs about the long-term career benefits of their designations. Keep reading to find out how ILEA Canada leader Corrine Kessel has taken advantage of her CSEP as an events industry supplier.
ILEA: What factors motivated you to apply for your CSEP?
Kessel: As a supplier in the event industry, attaining my CSEP designation has validated for me that I have the knowledge and expertise that comes with working with a respected event professional. It’s shown myself and others that I have a full understanding of event planning, production and execution. I wanted to elevate how colleagues and clients viewed me: I was more than a decor supplier, event designer or fake plant expert; I was a well-rounded event professional who could contribute in many valuable ways to the event development process. Achieving my CSEP has proven that my years of hard work in the industry have actually translated into valuable, applicable, and necessary skills and knowledge that can actually be measured through industry accreditation.
ILEA: What doors can the CSEP designation open for you?
Kessel: The CSEP designation is designed to elevate industry practices and professional event standards, and being a member of a select group of elite designates worldwide shows to clients and colleagues that you can be trusted with their events and projects. It shows your clients and colleagues that you practice only the highest event industry standards and that you take our profession seriously. I personally have been engaged on a number of events where my client only wanted to work with CSEP suppliers and event partners, so having my CSEP gave me a distinct competitive advantage in my region. I am also connected to other CSEPs that I can draw on for support, guidance and advice, which in turn builds stronger relationships, and builds the global industry knowledge and accepted standards.
ILEA: What is the one piece of advice you would suggest to someone who is pursuing this designation?
Kessel: Experience matters. If you aren’t actively working in the industry and learning about all the related disciplines that come together to bring an event design to fruition, you will not succeed as a CSEP. Studying is not exclusively how you achieve your CSEP, nor should it be. While it is important to speak the same language and have the same terminology, professionalism, dedication to the highest standards and breadth of experience cannot be taught in a book. Talk, visit, volunteer or work for your colleagues, vendors and respected event leaders. Learn and grow, use your industry connections and passion for learning to better yourself and better the industry.
Corinne Kessel, CSEP, is the principal of the Canada-based Greenscape Design and Décor, an award-winning design build company that creates lush plantscapes and botanically beautiful natural scenery for any occasion or property, turning everyday spaces into stunningly memorable environments. Corinne is a director on the Board of Governors for ILEA, a past chair of ILEA Canada 2015-16 and a past president of ILEA Vancouver 2013-14. She is also an event coordinator and MarCom Committee member for the BCSCA (British Columbia Shopping Centre Association) and a director for November Theatre Society.