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CPCE Spotlight: Amanda Hawkinson

We are excited to introduce a new blog series – CPCE Spotlight, where professionals share their motivation behind earning their Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE). If you are interested in being featured, please contact cpce@nace.net.

Amanda Hawkinson, CPCE, is Director of Catering at Edgewater Hotel in Seattle, Washington. She became CPCE certified in 2015. She just celebrated her ten-year anniversary at the Edgewater, and fourth year in the role of Director. She is pictured here with two cuties during the 2019 NACE Evolve Conference in San Antonio, Texas earlier this year.

Q. How did you first learn about the CPCE program?

A. I first learned about the CPCE program in culinary school in 2005. I had it on my radar when becoming a NACE member in 2009, and really became interested when I went to my first NACE Leadership Conference in 2014.

Q. What or who encouraged you to consider applying? 

A. Donnell Bayot, PH.D., CPCE, CHE, CFBE!  With all those credentials behind his name, he’s an inspiration. Also, I think continuing your education is very important for career growth.

Q. Do you believe CPCE certification helped you achieve your current position? 

A. Absolutely!  Moving from a Catering Sales Manager position to a Director role is a big step, and I think the CPCE certification helped me appear more qualified. Any time you can show that you’re willing to use personal time to better yourself and your career shows dedication to excellence.

Q. Any tips for future applicants of CPCE?

Don’t be afraid to take the plunge! You’ll be happy you did.

Q. Do you have any stories to share about how the CPCE letters behind your name have helped express to colleagues, clients, employers, or others your knowledge and experience in the catering and events industry? 

A. People are always asking what the “CPCE” stands for.  It’s a great conversation starter for networking, and it’s a great way to talk to people about NACE.  I always tell people that it’s like “a PhD in Catering & Events.”

Q. What might fellow CPCEs be surprised to learn about you?

A. I actually failed the CPCE exam the first time! If the test wasn’t difficult, then it wouldn’t be as valuable.  I quickly signed up to retake it and learned even more along the way.

Q. Do you have a favorite CPCE memory? 

A. My favorite CPCE memory is being called up on stage at the Experience Conference after I passed.  It’s a great way to honor new CPCEs, and you can feel the energy in the room. You can’t help but feel proud of yourself. Julie Leslie, our former Seattle NACE 2nd VP of Membership, took photos from the audience and sent me the sweetest, most inspiring message afterward.

Q. What is your favorite part of the catering and events industry? 

A. I love watching an event come to fruition. Especially when I’m working with someone who’s planning for the first time, whether it be an administrative assistant trying to impress her boss or a couple planning their wedding, and you get to listen to their plans and calm their nerves before “wow-ing” them with the final product. A glowing review of a memorable day makes me so happy.


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Crystal Irwin


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One Reply to “CPCE Spotlight: Amanda Hawkinson”

  1. Robin Denny says:

    Woot! Go Hawk! Loved reading this and you are an asset to the Edgewater team and the Seattle NACE board!

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