The Special Event Company Brings Academic Event Professionals Conference to Boston University After Pandemic Hiatus. The 15th Annual AEP Conference Goes Live at BU’s Questrom School of Business. 

After COVID-19 forced the renowned Academic Event Professionals (AEP) Conference into hiatus in 2021, The Special Event Company (TSEC) facilitated its return as the conference went live October 16-18 at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.

TSEC, the North Carolina-based global event producer that created the original AEP Conference in 2007, welcomed event planners in academe, providing them with a rare opportunity to receive industry-focused professional development training, education and insights.

2022 AEP Conference

2022 AEP Conference


History of the AEP Conference

The AEP conference began originally as a specialized workshop conducted by TSEC founder and CEO Sally Webb at The Special Event Conference & Tradeshow (TSE), the annual industry event held in the spring. Webb and her team converted the popular AEP session into a stand-alone conference held concurrently with TSE before the pandemic shutdown.

“At the start of 2022, we could not have envisaged that we could move the AEP Conference to October and produce such a content-rich event that was so rewarding for our attendees,” said Webb. “We were concerned about travel budgets and the ability to find professional development support from campus leadership after a bruising two years, but we had a packed conference and incredible speakers, making our 15th AEP one of our best ever.”

AEP Conference Theme: Brave New World

At this year’s AEP conference, the production was centered around the theme, “Brave New World,” the conference focused on event development, coordination and execution in a post-pandemic environment. The annual workshop allowed guests to network and visit with vendors that specialize in products and event services for academic professionals. Attendees were provided vital learnings and insights into best practices from seasoned planners in higher education.

“The Questrom School of Business at Boston University went above and beyond to host this event, and there was an incredible feeling of belonging again from this unique group of planners,” said Webb. “Our title of ‘Brave New World’ has never been more relevant as when we discussed the many resource and budget challenges now faced by academic planners. ”

Insights From 21 Different Event Professionals

The conference offered 21 different lessons from event professionals in the academic community. The keynote speaker was Karen Cochran, CFRE, founder of Philanthropy Innovators. Her presentation, titled “Event Professionals or Dream Facilitators? Inspiring and Developing Your Events Team,” detailed the path ahead for high-achieving teams, encouraging them to embrace the significance of their roles and responsibilities.

“We were so pleased to bring everyone together again, live, to celebrate AEP’s 15-year anniversary,” said Heather Blanken, CMP, Senior Producer at TSEC. “AEP is the only organization and conference for academic event planners, and there is a definite hunger for this level of networking, knowledge, and resources that our collective years of experience in this sector can provide, no matter one’s position or size of university. We are also excited to announced that AEP will align once again with Catersource + The Special Event Conference & Tradeshow beginning with the March 2023 event in Orlando, making it ever more attractive and feasible for our audience to attend!”

About The Special Event Company:

The Special Event Company (TSEC) has provided exceptional strategic and creative delivery of meetings and events since our formation in 1987. The company executes global programs seamlessly from our Raleigh, N.C. headquarters. We offer a turnkey service for strategy development, site selection, planning, logistics, A/V, virtual events and studio production, transport, collateral and graphic design. Our professional planners will effectively budget, design, source, contract, and execute award-winning programs that exceed clients’ goals and deliver excellent ROI.


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