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JURY PRESIDENT

Lenny Talarico, CSEP, CHE

CEO, Lenny Talarico Events

A recognized industry executive with more than 25 years' experience producing events and entertainment. In 2019 he founded Lenny Talarico Events, a consulting firm dedicated to supporting clients by producing signature event experiences for corporate and social customers. He is highly regarded for involvement in many iconic Las Vegas offerings, playing an active role in Las Vegas Resort openings beginning with the Mirage in 1989 to Resorts World in 2021.

During his tenure with MGM Resorts, he spearheaded high-profile international events including conferences for Fortune 500 companies, resort grand openings and entertainment launches for celebrities such as Cher, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars.  Many of these experiences garnered recognition with prestigious GALA Awards and ESPRIT Awards. In March 2020 he served as the Show Ambassador for the first combined Catersource +The Special Event in Las Vegas.  In May of 2022 the same organization, a division of Informa, awarded him an International GALA Lifetime Achievement Award.

He began his career in live entertainment as a vocalist. A booking at the world-famous Caesars Palace landed him in Las Vegas. For more than a decade he appeared at some of the most iconic resorts including Caesar’s Palace the Dunes, the Sands, the Flamingo, MGM and the Venetian.

His career in the event industry began accidentally while working for the Estee Lauder company coordinating what may be considered the original “activations”, booking models for in-store fragrance events. Since that time, he’s produced events domestically in major cities across the United States as well as in Mexico and China.

Over the course of his career, Lenny’s held various positions in hotels, entertainment agencies, destination management companies and design firms. He’s even worked in television production employed as a personal shopper for the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” during tapings in Las Vegas.

His industry leadership includes positions on the local and national level with the International Live Event Association (ILEA) and the National Association of Catering and Events (NACE) who recognized him with their Industry Leadership Award. Over the years he’s played an active role with SEARCH where he served in an advisory board capacity and is a founding SEARCH 100 member. He’s been a supporter of Event Professionals Take Action (EPTA,), rebuilding homes post hurricane Katrina.

As an industry speaker he regularly travels to support numerous organizations and conventions including ILEA, NACE, IMEX, AIBTM, SITE and of course Catersource / The Special Event.  He’s been recognized as One of the Most Influential Industry Professionals by Biz Bash, and in 2021 was named an industry Trailblazer in the Connect Corporate 15 Over 50.  Both a Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) and Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) he is a longtime instructor at The International School of Hospitality (TISOH) and has been dedicated to the development of future event professionals. Partnering with industry executives he founded TISOH’s Design Lab, an on-campus tactile learning environment that inspires student creativity and supports the school’s diverse hospitality curriculum.

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