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The Top 17 Event Planning Associations and How to Make the Most of Them

Are you an event planner looking to take your business or career to the next level? Joining an event planning association can provide you with immense opportunities for growth and networking. But with so many...

Are you an event planner looking to take your business or career to the next level? Joining an event planning association can provide you with immense opportunities for growth and networking. But with so many options out there, how do you choose the right one for you?

In this article, we'll explore the top 17 event planning associations and provide insights on how to leverage them effectively. From industry-specific associations like WIPA and NACE to global organizations like MPI and ILEA, we've got you covered. So let's dive in and find the perfect association for you!

1. WIPA - The Wedding International Professionals Association

Wedding International Professionals WIPA brings together wedding professionals and offers continued education opportunities. With nine chapters across the country and a range of membership perks, WIPA is a great choice for anyone involved in the wedding industry.

2. NACE - The National Association for Catering and Events

NACE provides networking opportunities for catering and event professionals. With over 40 local chapters and the annual NACE Experience Conference, you'll have plenty of chances to connect with peers and expand your knowledge.

3. MPI - Meeting Professionals International

Meeting Professionals International MPI is the largest meeting and event planning association in the world, focusing on high-level education and business best practices. With more than 90 chapters spread across North America, South America, Europe, and Asia, MPI offers extensive networking opportunities and valuable educational resources.

4. ACCED-I - Association of Collegiate Conference and Events Directors - International

ACCED-I is perfect for event planning professionals who specialize in university and college events. With over 1,300 campus professionals as members, ACCED-I hosts an annual conference and elevates the visibility of collegiate conference and events.

5. ILEA - The International Live Events Association

ILEA is a global association with 51 international chapters, offering members access to invaluable resources and networking opportunities. With the ILEA Career Center, exclusive events, and the chance to enter the ILEA Esprit Awards, joining ILEA can enhance your network and open doors to exciting opportunities.

6. AEP - Academic Event Professional

AEP supports academic event planners through programs, conferences, and a thriving online community. Although they don't have local chapters, AEP hosts a yearly conference and provides valuable networking opportunities for event planners in educational institutions.

7. ESPA - Event Service Professionals Association

ESPA focuses on education and networking for event service professionals in North America. With year-round educational opportunities, certification eligibility, and professional resources, ESPA helps event service professionals excel in promoting destinations and facilities.

8. GMIC - Green Meeting Industry Council

Green Meeting Industry Council GMIC advocates for sustainability in corporate event planning. With chapters across the United States, GMIC provides access to vital research, certification opportunities, best practices, and networking programs.

9. CEMA - Corporate Event Marketing Association

CEMA fosters industry relationships and raises the level of excellence for corporate event planning. Through monthly CEMA Study Tours and various networking opportunities, members can connect with professionals and stay updated with market trends.

10. IAVM - International Association of Venue Managers

International Association of Venue Managers IAVM caters to venue managers and offers multiple membership levels tailored to different career stages. With active chapters across the United States, IAVM provides opportunities for career growth and continued education in venue management.

11. IACC - International Association of Conference Centers

IACC promotes better business meeting and event planning practices through education and networking initiatives. As a member, you'll gain access to global venue listings, exclusive events, and data reports that compare your property's performance with local competitors.

12. IAEE - International Association of Exhibitions and Events

IAEE serves as the leader of the global exhibition industry, providing professional development, industry news, and advocating for better exhibition practices worldwide. With chapters in 50 different countries, IAEE offers a vast network of professionals.

13. SEPA - Student Event Planners Association

SEPA engages with students pursuing higher education in event planning. Although they are closing their doors as an association, some independent chapters will continue to provide career-building resources for students.

15. PCMA - Professional Convention Management Association

Professional Convention Management Association PCMA focuses on networking opportunities and peer-to-peer education for convention planners. With professional chapters across America and Mexico, PCMA offers online boot camps, exclusive recorded lectures, and an abundance of resources for members.

16. APA - American Planning Association

APA assists event planners in every stage of their career, offering tools, guidance, and networking opportunities. With 47 active chapters across the United States, APA provides training workshops, awards, and resources to help planners excel in their profession.

17. ICCA - International Congress and Convention Association

ICCA specializes in large-scale, global events and connects planners and suppliers from around the world. With 11 chapters covering major regions, ICCA offers networking, education, and self-promotion opportunities for its members.

Making the most of event planning associations:

  • Volunteer your time for an organization event: By sponsoring or offering your services, you can gain visibility at events and strengthen your network.
  • Look into leadership opportunities: Find your calling within the association and reach out to directors about available leadership positions.
  • Engage with the community: Attend events, participate in webinars, and connect with other professionals to maximize the benefits of your membership.

In conclusion, event planning associations can open doors to valuable connections, resources, and growth opportunities. Choose the association that aligns with your goals, get involved, and watch your career flourish. And remember, it's up to you to make the most of your membership!

Want to learn more about growing your career in event planning? Check out our other articles:

  • The 6 Must-Have Event Planning Skills You Need for Career Success
  • How Do I Get into Event Planning? 5 Ways to Kickstart Your Events Career
  • 20 Hospitality Certifications You Should Know
  • The Essential Steps to Starting an Event Management Business
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