Hall of Fame




2017 | Tami Forero
ILEA Member since 2006

Tami Forero is a strategic event planner and CEO of successful, Colorado Springs-based company, Forté Events, Inc. With twenty-four years of event planning experience, Tami helps clients meet goals using experiential events and is a sought-after speaker nationwide, on subjects of sales, work life balance, and profitability. Forté Events has created unique training and leadership development programs that have earned international recognition and awards. Tami has helped companies significantly increase their profits in record time, attract and retain employees, and successfully launch products and community programs. Over the past ten years, Forero’s company has doubled or tripled sales each year, even during economic recession. The Forté Events team not only plans and executes corporate, non-profit, and social events worldwide, but also enjoys working together for their “perfect” clientele.



2016 | Syd Sexton
ILEA Member since 2001

Syd Sexton






HeitzHeadshot2016_V2 - Copy2014 | Karl Heitz, CSEP
ILEA Member since 2001

Karl Heitz, CSEP brings over 16 years of direct event management experience to AXS Group. He achieved his Destination Management Certified Professional (DMCP) designation in 2006 and earned his Certified Special Event Professional (CSEP) certification in 2012. During his tenure he has produced 10’s of millions of dollars in events, some of which have been awarded for their creativity, execution, and logistical complexity.  Alongside his team of Operations Managers, AXS Group implements and oversees the execution of over 500 events a year.  Karl is a Past President of the Denver ILEA Chapter has chaired and been a part of numerous ILEA International committees.  In 2015 Karl was named one of 25 Young Event Pros to Watch by Special Event Magazine.  He is currently on the SEARCH Foundation Board of Directors, the Special Events Magazine Advisory Board and ILEA International Industry Engagement Committee.  Karl’s education includes a BS from Colorado State University in Natural Resource Recreation & Tourism with a concentration in Commercial Tourism Enterprises. In his free time, Karl enjoys skiing, soccer and the outdoors.  He has a passion for travel, great food and excellent wine.



2013 | Danny Findley

ILEA Member since 2003

Danny has over 25 years of experience in the event and meeting management and planning industry. His experience covers a wide variety of areas including off-site catering, special event venues, restaurants, destination management, non-profits, design and décor. From corporate events, association planning to social events and conferences. Danny has been successful in all areas of the hospitality industry.

He is very active in the event community serving as Past President of the Denver Chapter of International Live Events Association (ILEA) and Past President of the Meeting Professional International Rocky Mountain Chapter (MPIRMC). Danny was the recipient of the 2009 Rising Star Award for the MPI Rocky Mountain Chapter, the 2011 Planner of the Year Award for the MPI Rocky Mountain Chapter and was inducted into the ILEA Denver Chapter Hall of Fame in 2013.
Danny was born and raised in Colorado, he went to school in Chicago where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree and has traveled extensively. His passion is being creative in all things especially in special events! Creating the WOW factor is his joy!


2012 | Dawn Abbott, CSEP
ILEA Member since 2001

Dawn Abbott, CSEP is CEO and Owner of Fun Productions, Inc. which she began in 1991 with her husband after working in the catering industry majority of her life.  She is also a owner & the chief creative officer of Colorado Teambuilding Events and VIE Events which are the sister companies to Fun Productions, Inc.

Dawn has been a part of the special event industry for longer than she can remember.  Growing up in Aspen, Colorado her Father was Food & Beverage Manager of a major hotel and a Master Chef.  Her mother owned a catering company.  The event business and the entrepreneurial spirit was instilled in Dawn her entire life.

Dawn Abbott, CSEP served for 2 years as the Western Regional Vice-President for ILEA and has served 6 years on the ILEA Denver Board of Directors.  Last year she was inducted into the ILEA Denver Hall of Fame as well as Colorado Meeting and Events Magazine Hall of Fame.  Dawn has also served on the Meetings Industry Council Board and currently serves on the Denver Small Business Development Center advisory board and The Colorado Meetings and Events magazine Advisory Board.

Dawn has grown her small business from a tiny start up out of her home to a multi-office, 12,000 square foot warehouse and showroom with 40+ employees and multi-million dollar revenues.  She credits her lack of creativity but very strong skills in business planning and logistics for her success.



Ingrid Nagy

2011 | Ingrid Nagy, CSEP

ILEA Member since 2000

Ingrid Nagy, CSEP, brings over 25 years of experience in the catering and events industry.  Ingrid and her Executive Chef husband, Cade Nagy, currently own and operate Catering by Design, By Design Event Décor and Denver’s Picnic Company – three brand divisions under Four Five One Events, a full service event company specializing in executing highly customized event experiences.

Together Ingrid & Cade have grown their small start-up catering firm to a multi-million dollar company, with over 300 employees.  As CEO of the company, she oversees day to day operations and administrative functions, including financial management.  Ingrid’s fiscal, strategic and management skills balance the creative genius of her husband.  They are celebrating 20 years together in business!

Ingrid is an active member of International Live Events Association (ILEA) representing the Denver Chapter.  She has served on the local board (including chapter President) as well as on the International Board of Governors.  She is currently serving as International Treasurer of the Board of Governors and will be ILEA International President in 2017-18.

Ingrid holds a BS in Foods Merchandising from Valparaiso University.  She and Cade live in Greenwood Village with their two children, Trae & Breck.  In her free time, she values yoga, fitness, gardening…and wine!

Jerry Barnett



2010 | Jerry Barnett
ILEA Member since 1989