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CPCE Spotlight: Dee Lane Eades, 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 Dee Lane Eades, CPCE, Senior Sales Representative, Event Design Specialist, and Board of Directors for Graceful Tables.

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 am an original investor in the company and have been with Graceful Tables for ten years. I lead the sales initiative in the Atlanta market and the state of Georgia as well as national accounts on large scale events. In addition, I represent our Sales Team in other territories to give our client base a seasoned professional for their design needs.

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

A. I believe the CPCE certification has a positive impact on anyone in our Special Events industry. I know it has for me personally. Being educated in all aspects of the industry assists in making every event that I am a team member of that much more expertly executed. I am not an expert in all aspects of the event; however, I am familiar enough with the full picture to ensure that the final product has been produced in a professional manner. For that, I feel the CPCE has assisted in my current position and place in my career.

Q. Do you have professional goals you’d like to share with readers? If so, describe them.

A. Yes!

  1. To be a TEAM player on every event in which I am involved.
  2. To bring to the table a level of professionalism and to give my clients a wonderful event.
  3. To assist other professionals in the industry in recommending them when I feel they will be an asset to an event.
  4. To stay relevant through education in both personal and professional growth opportunities.

Q: How and when did you first learn about CPCE?

A. I am not sure I remember how long ago I learned of the certification through NACE but I was familiar with the designation because of co-workers who had achieved CPCE. It made sense to me to better myself by studying for and then sitting for the exam.

Q. What or who encouraged you to consider applying?

A. I was inspired by Jo Dermid, CPCE. She was one of my supervisors, had earned CPCE, and recommended I look into the certification for my own professional development. Many years later, we are now both on the Board of Directors together with Graceful Tables.

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 chose CPCE as I found it to be more relevant to my area of expertise in the Special Events industry. I also have been a long-time member of NACE, so it made sense to follow the career path available to me as a member.

Q. Any tips for future applicants of CPCE?

A. Don’t get yourself twisted up in the passing part. Study the material and rely on your own knowledge base and you will be fine. When you put too much pressure on yourself, you will not perform to your maximum potential.

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. Some people are already familiar with the designation and realize what it takes to achieve CPCE and import the body of knowledge into our craft. Others are unaware of how significant designations are, so it gives me the opportunity to educate them if they ask me about the certification.

Q. Do you have a favorite CPCE memory?

A. We had a study group who had been together for a while studying and it was time to sit for the exam. I didn’t think I was ready, so I opted out during the first go-around of taking the test. Then I found myself having to go it alone! I was so sure I wouldn’t pass that I found myself putting it off again. Then I was under serious time constraints to sit for the exam in the time allotted from the beginning of my studies. I left myself only one shot to pass before I had to start over. I don’t know if that is truly a favorite memory, but it shows what procrastination will do! By the way, I passed at the last possible moment. I don’t recommend doing the test-taking the way I did it 😊.

Q. Do you have a funny or surprising story about CPCE or working in the catering and events industry?

A. During a large event, we discovered fire ants all over the subfloor of the tent where the main party was being set up, as well as huge scorpions scurrying from shadow to shadow inside one of the venues. Oh, and also a 1.5 ton bull that snorted snot and goo all down my back through a tiny fence separating us as we were unloading to set up the final event. I had no idea he had wandered up behind me to join in on the fun. He found an open gate allowing him closer access to us and decided to join us. We had to call in an exterminator for the ants and scorpions and get wranglers to coax the bull back into his pen. The bull had been enjoying eating the flowers around the ornamental fountain and checking out the activity near his pen – he didn’t want to leave the area with just a suggestion to move on down the road. He needed some additional incentives. More flowers to nibble on was the trick from the wranglers for bull removal. We all know we can’t make this stuff up.

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

A. No two days or events are ever the same. It is always a fresh perspective and that helps keep me motivated and energized to produce the best event every time.

Q. Are there any other thoughts you’d like to share in the CPCE Spotlight?

A. Just as an observation, isn’t it wonderful that we in the Special Events industry get to do what we do every day for our clients? We create joy. We create memories. We create happiness. And, for the most part, we get to be involved in unique and exciting events every time we go to work. I don’t know of very many jobs/careers that give such a wide variety of positive circumstances consistently and repeatedly. It has been observed – if you do what you love to do, you will never work a day in your life. That is so true and, certainly realized in Special Events!

Get to know Dee Lane a bit more: 

A graduate of the University of Georgia with a BSED in Recreation and an emphasis on Country Clubs and Resorts – the development, management and planning of events, Dee Lane Eades, CPCE, is a diehard Bulldogs fan! Getting to games during football season is tough with a crazy event schedule, but she keeps up with her team’s success as best she can during busy seasons. People often ask Dee Lane how she became interested in the Special Events field and her response is, “If you have met my mother, you know I was carrying a silver tray of canapes at age two! My mom was the quintessential hostess and grand dame of parties!” Having fun helping her mom in entertaining led to her planning events with the Social Chair in her sorority, Delta Gamma. The early training at her mother’s knee and continued planning led to a more in-depth education and certification in Special Events. As time has passed and career moves have taken place, Dee Lane has continued planning events for a few special clients. She continues her love of the industry with her day-to-day work designing with specialty linens used at events through Graceful Tables, a specialty linen rental company where she sits on the Board of Directors for the company.

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Crystal Irwin

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