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CPCE Spotlight: Ashley Marie, CPCE

Our CPCE Spotlight is where professionals share their motivation behind earning the Certified Professional in Catering and Events (CPCE). This month we are featuring Ashley Marie, CPCE, Founder and Lead Planner for Ashley Rachelle Events.

If you are interested in being featured, please contact cpce@nace.net.

Q. Please provide some background on your current position and company. 

A. I have always loved wedding planning and did it as a side job and hobby. When I was laid off from my corporate event sales position due to COVID-19, I decided to make my company Ashley Rachelle Events my full-time job and take the company to the next level. Ashley Rachelle Events has been around for a little of 2 years; however, it has now become my permanent job/company since the pandemic began.

Q. How has CPCE helped your career?

A. CPCE absolutely gave me the confidence I was lacking in myself to be able to start my own company and go out on my own. It has also helped me achieve in securing clients. 😊

Q: Do you have professional goals you’d like to share with readers?

A. My professional goal is to see my clients’ dream weddings (events) come to life through vision, planning, and execution.

Q. Who or what encouraged you to apply?

A. Jennifer Jenkins, CPCE, Director of Catering and Events at Sugar Creek Country Club. As my director in my previous position, I watched Jennifer apply, study, and achieve CPCE. After watching her walk across the stage and hearing her name called at the 2019 NACE Experience Conference, I knew immediately that I was going to become CPCE certified as well!

Q. Is there a reason you chose CPCE as opposed to other industry certifications? If you have other certifications also, do you feel they complement each other?

A. I started with CPCE because I am a NACE member and because of inspiration from Jennifer (as mentioned above). Since achieving CPCE, I have become a TWP through AACWP, I am working toward becoming a CWP, and have applied to get my CMP through EIC. They absolutely complement one another! Even though they are completely different certifications, each of them helps me grow as an individual and in the event planning industry.

Q. Any tips for future applicants of CPCE?

A. If any future applicants were to ask me if they should obtain their CPCE, the answer would be ABSOLUTELY, without hesitation! The amount of knowledge I obtained while studying and the amount of respect has not only helped me as an individual feel more confident in what I do but also it truly is such a rewarding feeling!

Q. How do the CPCE letters behind your name help express to colleagues, clients, employers, or others your knowledge and experience in the industry?

A. It helps others understand that I have knowledge in the industry, and they can trust and rely on me to be able to create their visions. Yes, experience is huge in this industry; however, having CPCE behind my name also signifies that I am always willing to continue to grow my knowledge in the industry.

Q. Do you have a favorite CPCE memory?

A. Since I obtained my CPCE in February 2020 right before the pandemic, I would have to say that taking the exam with friends I have met because of NACE was fun and rewarding. All 6 of my friends who took the exam together, passed!! We have not gotten our chance to be called up on stage and recognized at Experience yet; however, the 2021 NACE Experience Conference will be our time to celebrate!!

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

A. I work in this industry because I love being able to see clients’ faces and reactions when their vision has come to life, and their event is everything they envisioned! Plus, planning events is so much fun, as no two are identical. Nothing brings me greater joy than seeing the look on my clients’ faces the first time they see their dreams become a reality. Hearing stories like how their wedding day was the best day of their life, or their wedding day was more than they could have ever dreamed of, is why I do what I do.


Get to know Ashley a bit more:

It took me a while to figure out what my true passion in life was. I knew I loved planning weddings, but I never knew I truly LOVED planning weddings until I helped several friends plan their weddings. Finally, with the encouragement of my mom and friends, I finally took a leap of faith and Ashley Rachelle Events was created. Ashley Rachelle Events was developed from the passion I have for ensuring my clients see their dream wedding come to life through creative designs, detailed planning, and flawless execution. I’m a proud Auntie and a dog mom of two (Axl and Phoenix). I graduated from the University of Houston – Clear Lake with a Bachelor’s in Communication, as I THOUGHT I was going to become a Sports Journalist. I enjoy the little things in life, like starting my day with a coffee and ending it with wine. I lead with my heart on my sleeve, and dream about “one day.” So, live your life with true passion, dream bigger than ever, and fall in love with what you do.

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Crystal Irwin


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