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The association for Florida events and festivals was established in 1994 and for over 20 years, Florida Festivals & Events Association has been impacting and guiding the event industry throughout Florida. Today, the FFEA operates out of Orlando, Fl and supports more than five hundred event industry professional members who collectively represent more than thirty-five separate events. According to their direct website, The FFEA’s mission is to promote and strengthen the festival and event industry in Florida. They offer a vast community of support and ideas to help establish the best practices with practical educational training in order to help grow your event management skills.
They are widely recognized for creating opportunities to network with event professionals, which is the best way to expand the base of your personal business or knowledge. The FFEA has hosted more than four thousand speakers, vendors, and event organizers at its annual trade shows and conventions. In addition, FFEA has presented nearly fifteen hundred awards recognizing the technical innovations and creative minds of its members.
The reason I find the Florida Festival and Events Association so beneficial is because it can provide hands on, real-life experiences and exposure to events which can allow me to gain the skills and proper networking contacts to pursue a career in the event industry.
In order to become a member, all you have to do is fill out an application that asks you to explain why you think the FFEA would benefit you, and also pay an annual member fee.
According to their website, there are 3 types of memberships available. The three available memberships include Individual, Corporate, and Student accounts. Corporate Members are required to pay four hundred dollars annually, but this will allow up to ten individuals from one organization to represent and receive the benefits from the FFEA. Some other additional benefits of this membership are having your company listed in a printed convention program as a corporate member, receiving advanced notices on networking and educational events so you can register in time and also you are allowed one feature on a social media network per year. To become a recognized individual member, you must pay the annual fee of two hundred and fifty dollars. The individual membership option is only available to anyone who wishes to have a single person represent their organization as a member and this is also available to both planners and suppliers. This membership can also be transferable by request in the event of a position change in your organization. The FFEA also introduced a special membership only for students who are pursuing a degree in the Event Management industry and because of that they only charge twenty-five dollars annually which is a very good price for the same benefits as an individual member. Including the other benefits student members can also be eligible to receive first notices on available entry level jobs, volunteer positions and paid internships.
When you decide to become a member, you are affiliating yourself with brand that holds their standards high. When you do this, you are joining more than five hundred other professionals just like you and gain the credibility of knowing that you belong to an organization that is dedicated to a high integrity policy and exhibiting top professional excellence throughout the event industry. One thing that also helps members signify their association is by receiving the signature digital “Proud FFEA Member” logo to display on their material programs. Something else really beneficial from FFEA is having access to their Peer-to-Peer network which allows you to network with other professionals and discuss challenges you might be facing. This opportunity also allows you to continue your professional education by staying current with industry trends and maintain the best and most effective practices with your peers. The FFEA has established communities on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and all members are encouraged to join. This membership allows more visibility in advertising your organization by using their publications, which can be found online or at sponsored events. Another added benefit would be how the FFEA elevates the image of its members as value-added professionals in the event industry which creates countless job opportunities because it is proven that employers will turn to FFEA’s online job board when they need qualified professionals for hire.
Like I mentioned before, the FFEA has established multiple social media outlets to connect with its members and the rest of the world. Their growth in technology use has allowed them to expand and connect on a much more effective level with their members and future suppliers/planners. They use their Instagram page to promote their best volunteers and those who are making a difference in the community. Two of the other social media accounts they utilize are Facebook and Twitter, which are two of the most popular social media websites today. Both of those outlets allow them to network and reach millions of people. By using these websites, the FFEA can continue to offer the community and their members mass support.
In Addition, the CEO Suzanne Neve is a perfect example of what a leadership role must consist of in this association. According to the information on their website, “As the CEO for FFEA, Suzanne is responsible for all operational aspects of the organization, including membership growth, multimedia marketing, and event management. This means that in her role with FFEA, Suzanne and her team visit events throughout the state of Florida where they hope to connect, advocate and educate on behalf of the association’s diverse membership.” Upon her graduation from Pennsylvania State University, Suzanne began her professional hospitality industry career where she developed her organizational, marketing, and social skills. She oversaw a high performing Marriott property which during her time there she won several awards. She was granted with the Manager of the Year, General Manager of the Year and given Hotel of the Year awards. Prior to accepting the position as Executive Director for FFEA, Suzanne also spent five years directing events for the Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce. According to the staff information page, while she held her position there she oversaw the production and execution of more than 60 events per year, including the ArtiGras Fine Arts Festival. “The ArtiGras Festival is one of the largest art festivals in the state of Florida and has been recognized as one of the top 50 art festivals in the U.S. and one of the top 20 events in the Southeastern U.S. During her time at the Chamber, their events earned several awards for advertising and organizational excellence.”
In conclusion, The Florida Festival and Events Association is involved in many more upcoming events this year. Future dates show they are hosting events on a weekly basis and just a few will be county specific farmers markets, local food truck competitions, Music festivals, Art festivals, and arguably the most important, the famous Florida Strawberry Festival which takes place in March. With just a quick visit to their website, you will find the remainder of all the events hosted by the FFEA until the end of April. This organization is a great way to connect with your fellow peers and network with future employers, suppliers, and develop relationships throughout the Event Management Industry. Whether you would like to open your personal business or are just looking to hone your skills and stay on top of the industry trends. This will be a wonderful association to get involved in and I personally plan to join as a student member to gain industry insights and connect with business and community leaders who can help build my future career.
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