Job Listings

Conference & Special Events Planner

National Louis University
Job Location:
Conference and Events Administration


Who We Are:

National Louis is a 135+ year old university that has been grounded in the values of innovation, access, excellence, and equity from its inception. As an institution, we believe in providing access to educational opportunity and that education is our greatest lever for social and economic mobility. We are a student-focused community that is committed to continuous improvement and superior student service. We believe that through education we are able to empower change and build healthy communities. Our hard-working community is based on collaboration and respect for all team members and students.

What We Offer:

At National Louis University, we offer our employees an innovative environment to work together and inspire the ideas that will make an impact. As our external environment changes, our employees are provided the opportunities and tools needed to grow both personally and professionally to remain successful. NLU employees and dependents are offered a wide range of benefits, including but not limited to, Health Insurance benefits, Retirement benefits, Paid Time Off and Educational Benefits.

Job Summary

The Conference & Special Events Planner at the McCormick Institute for Early Childhood is a professional responsible for organizing, coordinating, and managing all aspects of conferences and special events for The Institute, including the Center for Early Childhood Leadership. This role involves a wide range of activities from conceptualization to execution, ensuring that all events are successful, meet organizational objectives, and provide a positive experience for attendees. The Conference and Special Events Planner is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing all types of conferences and special events for the Institute, including Leadership Connections, the national Leadership conference sponsored annually by the Center for Early Childhood Leadership, within the McCormick Institute for Early Childhood. Activities executed by the role include managing budgets, selecting venues, coordinating with vendors, obtaining sponsors, coordinating staff, managing presenters, and handling logistics to ensure smooth and efficient event execution. As a valued member of the Institute Operations teams, this role will serve as a liaison with appropriate units across the Institute and NLU to ensure streamlined operations and efficiencies are achieved.

Essential Responsibilities

Event Planning and Design:

  • Conceptualize and plan event details based on objectives and requirements.
  • Design event programs that align with the goals and audience engagement strategies.
  • Create detailed proposals for events (e.g., timelines, venues, suppliers, legal obligations, staffing, and budgets).
  • Collaborate with key staff to ensure that program objectives for events are captured within plans and designs.
  • Works closely with the Director of Events at NLU to ensure streamlined operations regarding conferences and events.
  • Collaborates closely with the Managing Director of the Center for Early Childhood Leadership within the Institute to plan and execute Leadership Connections

Venue and Vendor Management:

  • Research and select venues, caterers, speakers, entertainers, photographers, and other vendors.
  • Negotiate contracts and fees with venues and vendors.
  • Coordinate venue management, caterers, stand designers, contractors, and equipment hire.

Logistical Coordination:

  • Manage logistical aspects of event planning and execution, including transportation, accommodation for attendees, equipment, and catering.
  • Ensure compliance with insurance, legal, health, and safety obligations.
  • Troubleshoot and handle any issues arising during the events.

Stakeholder Management:

  • Work closely with clients, sponsors, and other stakeholders to meet their needs and expectations.
  • Communicate regularly with clients and vendors to ensure clear understanding of expectations and responsibilities.

Evaluation and Reporting:

  • Conduct post-event evaluations to determine how future events could be improved.
  • Collect feedback from participants and other stakeholders to enhance the quality and effectiveness of event planning and management.
  • Prepare detailed reports on the outcomes and learnings from the event.

Marketing and Promotion:

  • Collaborate with marketing teams to promote events through various channels, including social media, email marketing, and advertising as well as develop and distribute materials related to events such as (digital) brochures and flyers, and ensure that the event reaches its target audience and achieves desired publicity.

Budget Management:

  • Support Director of Operations and Finance to prepare and manage budgets for events, monitor event expenses and review financial transactions to ensure adherence to budgetary constraints, and provide periodic reports and post-event analysis to assess opportunities for cost savings and process improvements.

Other duties as assigned:

  • Support the Director of Finance and Operations in the coordination of thought leadership efforts across the Institute.

Qualifications Skills and Competencies

  • Bachelor's Degree in Event Management, Hospitality, Marketing, Business Administration, or related field.
  • Five plus (5+) years proven experience as an events planner or organizer, with examples of successfully managed events from conception to completion.
  • Five plus (5+) years demonstrated experience using time management and communication skills.
  • Five plus (5+) years demonstrated experience managing multiple projects independently.
  • Five plus (5+) years experience managing vendors, presenters and stakeholders.
  • Five plus (5+) years demonstrated experience in using and developing proficiency in event management software.
  • Five plus (5+) years proven ability to be creative, solution-driven, and able to work in a fast-paced environment.
  • Attention to Detail: Precision in managing all the small, intricate details necessary for the smooth execution of an event.
  • Negotiation Skills: Ability to negotiate effectively with vendors, venues, and contractors to secure the best possible rates and services.
  • Communication: Strong written and verbal communication skills for clear, concise, and effective interaction with clients, vendors, and team members.
  • Cost Awareness: Demonstrates an ongoing awareness of budget levels and the ramifications of exceeding them. Regularly tracks expenses against budget projections to ensure that spending levels can be adjusted as necessary. Cost-conscious and tends to stay within budget.
  • Project Management: Manages each stage of a project to ensure that commitments are met in a manner that is timely and within budget. Clearly defines roles and responsibilities, determines necessary resources, and monitors project performance through appropriate systems and procedures

Work environment/Physical Demands/Travel Requirements:

This is a hybrid work environment with expected time on campus in either Wheeling or Chicago 2-3 days per week. This role will have some travel requirements across the state of Illinois to support event planning accordingly.

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