‘Because I Volunteered’ — A Conversation With Connie Riley
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Photo Credit: Booth Easy
In the season of giving, ILEA celebrates its members’ commitment to volunteer their time and expertise to their communities and colleagues. This year’s recipient of the Klaus Inkamp Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors an ILEA member who has given selflessly to the live events industry and ILEA, is Connie Riley, CSEP, CMP, vice president at T. Skorman Productions Inc. As she approaches 30 years of ILEA membership, we connected with Connie, a past ILEA international president, to learn more about what this award means to her and the impact volunteering has on her life.
ILEA Experience: Congratulations on receiving the Klaus Inkamp Lifetime Achievement Award at ILEA Live 2019! What was your reaction upon finding out you were the recipient?
Connie Riley, CSEP, CMP (CR): I was humbled that my ILEA colleagues selected me for this rarely presented award. I also was happy that this award acknowledges volunteer service and dedication to the events industry and ILEA.
ILEA Experience: In your award acceptance speech, you spoke about the importance of volunteering. What does volunteering mean to you?
CR: In my experience, being a volunteer means serving and supporting others without expecting compensation or recognition. I began volunteering before I could earn a wage. Volunteering presented situations that built my character and strengthened my awareness of people’s feelings and needs.
ILEA Experience: Tell us about your favorite volunteering experience.
CR: I really enjoy speaking to students at the annual teach-in about careers in the events industry. My favorites are fifth and sixth graders. They are inquisitive and opinionated about most media — music, movies, video games, athletes and celebrities. They revel in playing a game to try and stump me with a career not associated with our industry. I am able to give an example for every career they offer in their game since events have expanded into every facet of our lives, not just entertainment.
ILEA Experience: As an experienced ILEA leader, what insight would you share with someone thinking of pursing a leadership position?
CR: I suggest you take advantage of every leadership opportunity presented. Each will grow your knowledge and increase your problem-solving skills with situations you may not encounter at your job. And, most importantly, you will meet people who become clients, lifelong friends or both!
ILEA Experience: How do you envision the future of the live events industry?
CR: Constantly changing trends keep the industry in flux. Over the years, audiences are looking for experiences and want to be a participant, not just a spectator.
ILEA Experience: Tell us about your most memorable ILEA experience.
CR: As I approach 30 years of membership, I can’t choose one. My highlights include:
- Being a founding member of ILEA Orlando and watching my city build an incredible chapter.
- Sitting for and passing the CSEP exam in the first class in 1993.
- Traveling to Australia for the Conference for Professional Development, ILEA Live 2002 and performing in a guest orchestra at the Sydney Opera House.
- Personality testing and leadership training while serving as International President after 10 years serving on the Board of Governors and Executive Committee.
- Meeting and building friendships that will last a lifetime.
All of these experiences enriched my life because I volunteered!
Watch this video to view Connie’s award acceptance speech during the Spirit of Excellence Awards at ILEA Live 2019.
Tags: ILEA Live , live events , ILEA Live 2019 , live event professionals , Spirit of Excellence Awards , volunteering , volunteer