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All About Earning Your CPCE from Lauren Twichell

A CPCE designation signifies your mastery and knowledge of 8 core competencies as a professional in the catering and events industry. CPCE stands for Certified Professional in Catering and Events. It is a nationally recognized program and you receive the certification through NACE. It truly is the mark of excellence for catering and event professionals!

The 8 CPCE Core Competencies are:

  1. Accounting
  2. Beverage Management
  3. Catering Services
  4. Contracts and Agreements
  5. Food Production
  6. Event Management
  7. Human Resources
  8. Sales and Marketing

I believe that your education doesn’t end after school. Continuing to further your education as a professional is what sets you apart from all the other event professionals out there. The CPCE program allows you to become a trusted events and catering vendor partner and gives you a competitive advantage in the job market.

For me, earning my CPCE is about more than JUST my years of experience and my job title. Having earned my CPCE, I am not only demonstrating my expertise in these 8 subjects of the event industry and food and beverage, but I am also proving to myself, my employers, and my clients that I am an essential and versatile resource when planning and managing an event.

Preparing and studying for the CPCE is definitely something you want to make time in your schedule for. I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston Conrad Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, so I have had a thorough education in food and beverage safety, policies, and guidelines. But this was over a decade ago! Guidelines and protocols for the catering and events industry have evolved over time. So, I decided to take a Fast Track Course that NACE offers to freshen up my knowledge and I also used the CPCE handbook as a study guide.

On the morning of the test, like anyone else might feel, I was equally calm and nervous at the same time. I knew I was well-prepared, but I was anxious and ready to take the test! I was able to take the test during the NACE Evolve Conference earlier this year that was hosted in Dallas. And sweet Kevin Brant was my proctor.

If you’re interested in receiving your CPCE or you want to learn more, reach out to myself or another board member. As a chapter, we can set up a study group, and plan our own test date in DFW with a local proctor. It’s an incredibly easy process to set this up for our members, and the DFW NACE Board is always happy to facilitate the planning! Also, I want to note, that it was incredibly helpful to have a supportive group of friends and colleagues to study with and to be able to cheer each other on through it all. We were also able to quiz one another!

You can reach me at

Lauren Twichell, CPCE
Director of Business Development, CN Catering
Vice President of DFW NACE

Legends of NACE: Leigh Tidwell

Tell us about your business or the work that you do.

I’m the Regional Sales Manager for AFR Furniture Rental – We provide soft seating solutions for conferences, events, and sporting events.

What year did you join NACE? 


How do you define success.

I define success as being a benefit to your community and the world around you.  Setting goals that make the world a better place then utilizing your skills and network to achieve them. 

What would the title of your autobiography be? 

One day at a Time

Tell us your favorite NACE moment or memory.

My favorite NACE moment was when we raised over 2,500.00 for Cafe Momentum to support them – it was amazing! The membership really rallied to the cause. 

Advice for newer members of NACE

Get involved!  You definitely get back what you put into it.  Join a committee – any time spent is well worth it.  

Over the years what is the most important thing you have gained through NACE? 

Leadership skills and friendships that last a life time. 

Legends of NACE: Wendy Timson

Tell us about your business or the work that you do.

Director of Sales for Shag Carpet Prop Rentals.  We are a rental company that provides unique props and décor to create fabulous events

What year did you join NACE? 

June of 2006 – wow, it has been a long time

How do you define success.

When you feel fulfilled in both your personal and professional life

What would the title of your autobiography be? 

Planning for Others:  A Life in Events

Tell us your favorite NACE moment or memory.

Winning the NACE National Member of the Year award.  I was up against some pretty amazing others in the industry and wasn’t expecting to win.  I felt so honored to be recognized in that way on a National level.

Advice for newer members of NACE

Don’t under estimate the power of connections.  When you know people and you help each other out and can count on each other you can achieve just about anything for your clients.

Over the years what is the most important thing you have gained through NACE? 

Friends and Colleagues all over the US that I can reach out to for advice, guidance, friendship and a good laugh

Member Spotlight: Jonathan Goldwater

Tell us about your business or the work you do, including what you provided at the event you most recently sponsored.

GladTower provides photography to document events and fun services designed to ‘bring smiles to faces.’ The Photography work includes: Special events, golf tournaments, meetings, product, group photos and head shots. And, my Fun Services are focused on adding creativity and quality to the occasion.  Many of you will have enjoyed being part of a Green Screen photo you might have enjoyed pushing your BBF into the gaping jaws of a giant white shark, or maybe you played the role of the hapless person being pushed into that sharp-toothed mouth with a look of terror on your face. FlipBooks are fun and still bring smiles to faces. However, my newest service the PicsOnDrinksTM is something that was created for a client who requested ‘something special, something different.’  At the gala my team did PicsOnDrinks which was very well received and met the goal of bring smiles to faces.

What do you love most about the work you do?

To work with the company and do events, you must do a great job and genuinely enjoy people.  At the end of the event I want to hear ‘the time just flew by’ and that they had a ‘great time.’  When team members are happy, they share the warmth, the guests smile more and all have more fun.  I enjoy that warm feeling where we work together as a team enjoying our time together and providing services that share the joy.  One day Janie asked if she could work with Nica because she hadn’t seen her for a while and wanted to catch up.  It was wonderful, they had a great time and the client was very happy with the personable team I’d sent to the event.  This is what puts a smile on my face.

Which best describes you? Iphone/Mac, Iphone/PC, Android/Mac, Android/PC?

Both do the job.

When you’re not working, what are you doing?

Walking the dog, meeting with friends, movies, reading.

Tell us one thing on your bucket list.

 Galapagos Islands – I’ve always wanted to see those strange and wonderful animals in the wild.

Is there a song you wish they would stop playing at events?

Anything by Nine Inch Nails

If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it?

 I guess spend more time with my NACE friends.

Legends of NACE: Luana Stoutmeyer

Tell us about your business or the work that you do.

I am a musician with Center Stage Band. I play with my jazz group of 2-6 players with the options of keys, bass, drums, guitar, sax, trumpet, trombone, violin.  I also play solo piano/keyboard. We play for parties, weddings, private events

What year did you join NACE? 

June 1988

How do you define success?

Success is certainly different to everyone, but for me, success is doing what you like or even love and earning enough money to support this. That doesn’t mean you are always in the best place, but if you are creative, and not afraid, you can get there.

What would the title of your autobiography be? 

Never Think You Are Less

Tell us your favorite NACE moment or memory.

So many!! At one of the national conferences Kevin [Brandt] and I were setting on the ground watching fireworks and I remember saying “Do you believe this-we are the luckiest people in the world.”

Advice for newer members of NACE

Never be shy-approach all of us-tell us what you do and why we should work with you. Get on committees and be visible. Be confident! Spend money—go to the National Conference. It is an investment in your connections with us.

Over the years what is the most important thing you have gained through NACE? 

Confidence. I am never afraid to meet new people, I am never afraid to be rejected—it’s ok,  and I am never afraid to “ask for the order.”

Meet the Board: Constance Crouch – Secretary

Tell us about your business or the work that you do.

I am the director of Special Events for the Fashion Industry Gallery. We are a Wholesale Apparel Market specializing in Women’s Contemporary apparel, and outside of our in-house markets held five times a year we host private and public events in our 25,000 square foot event space.

How long have you been a NACE member? On the Board?

I have been a NACE member since 2018 and this is my first year on the board. I have been on the Fundraiser Committee for the past few years too.

What is your personal motto?

To not let things out of my control cause me added stress.

What is your guilty pleasure?

Dirty Martini’s

Which actress would play you in the movie about your life?

Probably Hilary Duff or Reese Witherspoon only because I get that I look like both of them.

What does true leadership mean to you?

To hold myself to a higher standard and lead by example.

What is in the trunk of your car right now?

Dog beds and blankets

NACE Webinar Series

Stay Productive, Build Skills, Set Goals, & Prioritize Self-Care

**Monday, April 20th – Thursday, April 23rd**

NACE and the Foundation of NACE, along with NACE Business Partner, Wedding Industry Speakers, is bringing a webinar series to you the week of April 20th.

Best of all, all four of the webinars are FREE to all NACE members, and non-members alike!

There is a great line-up of both topics and speakers. Meghan Ely will be the facilitator of the series. 

FREE for everyone!
You must register for each day separately at the links are below. Don’t forget to share with your friends and colleagues!

**Schedule for the week of April 20th**

Monday, April 20th
Featuring Elizabeth Sheils on Mastering Email Once and For All, Jen Taylor on Setting Client Boundaries + Expectations during COVID, Renee Dalo on Connecting on Camera and Kevin Dennis, CPCE on Tech Apps – Managing from Home.
Register for Monday here

Tuesday, April 21st
Featuring Michele Loretta on Cash Flow During Crisis, Brittny Drye on Getting Published, Leah Weinberg on The Psychological Impact of COVID on our Clients and Emily Sullivan on Finding Your Niche.
Register for Tuesday here

Wednesday, April 22nd
Featuring Lisa Anhaiser on Goal Setting for Event Pros, Christie Osborne on Preparing Your Marketing for Recovery, Kinsey Roberts on Managing Your Business Reputation During and After COVID-19 and Aleya Harris on Future Proofing your Business with Email Marketing.
Register for Wednesday here

Thursday, April 23rd
Featuring Eddie Zaratsian on Seeing/Finding Inspiration during COVID, Bron Hansboro on Self Discovery during COVID, Jose Rolon on Wellness During (and After) COVID, and Meryl Snow on Getting Ready for the New Normal.
Register for Thursday here

Member Spotlight: Lance Panton

Tell us about your business or the work you do, including what you provided at the event you most recently sponsored.
I own, operate and am the exclusive DJ for MY DFW DJ – Weddings and events. I provide music entertainment for couples that are getting married as well as corporate events. I most recently sponsored our DFW Chapter NACE March meeting. As opposed to a sit down dinner, this meeting was setup as a strolling buffet. As a result, I was able to have a bit more fun with the music as the energy was different. There was movement and chatter at dinner time, so I wanted the music to match that activity. I also had the opportunity to fire up some cool “walk up” music as my colleagues approached and exited the stage, and the feedback from that was awesome!

What do you love most about the work you do?
What I love most is that I am able to provide mood-appropriate music for such a grand life celebration as a wedding. As we all know, music effects moods. There’s music that can motivate you in the gym. There’s music that soothes when things are intense. There’s also music that tells any couple’s love story. That’s what I enjoy most. Learning everything I can about a couple so that as that music plays, everyone can connect to that couple’s personal love story. I don’t believe in standard playlists. Not even for dinner or cocktail hour. Nearly every song can be about that couple and their love. The journey of learning that story and connecting the music is the first part of what I love. The end result is the icing on the cake.

Which best describes you? Iphone/Mac, Iphone/PC, Android/Mac, Android/PC?
I am 100% an Apple guy. Windows is an ex. I’m not a Windows hater. When it was good, it was actually great. They lost their way with Windows Vista. After that, I went Mac and never looked back. Windows has since rebounded but my tech world is so Apple-centric, there’s no need to interrupt the synergy.

When you’re not working, what are you doing?
I enjoy cooking, listening to other DJs and vacations with my wife and family.

Tell us one thing on your bucket list.
I would absolutely skydive (once) with a reputable company.

Is there a song you wish they would stop playing at events?
I don’t know if there’s a song I wish they would stop playing at events. I do however wish that the sentiment that a line dance will “instantly” pack the floor not be such an auto-pilot notion. It’s correct. Most line dances WILL pack the floor. But I have to think beyond those 4 minutes. I have to have a road map to the very end. Just hastily tossing on a song to appease the moment without a roadmap to the next 2 or 3 serves no one.

If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it?With an uninterrupted and unaccounted for extra hour, I would absolutely use it to discover new music. Keeping up with American radio hits is as easy as keeping up with a soap opera. You don’t have to find American radio hits. They will find you. They’re in commercials, they’re playing in the store, you hear them streamed by friends without effort. It’s just part of the American music landscape. But I love international music. I love EDM. I love African Music. I love Caribbean music. There just isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with it all. Yet. “the music” is what I remain most passionate about. A big part of that passion is that music is not one dimensional. So many facets. So many genres. So many sounds. So many influences. I love it all. Time is just limited.

Covid-19 News & Resources from DFW NACE

We have compiled a list of resources and information. This list will be updated regularly as we learn more info about how to help each other.

**Check back often for the latest.

Resources for Event Professionals

Online Education & Webinars

Your Membership

NACE Experience

  • Early bird registration is extended until April 30

Job Resources

  • DFW NACE Members, you can now add a link to your LinkedIn on your Member Profile.
  • If you’re a member who has a job opening, email, and we will share the information on our social media accounts

Member Spotlight: Jennifer Crenshaw

Jennifer Crenshaw of Jennifer Crenshaw Photography

Tell us about your business or the work you do, including what you provided at the event you most recently sponsored.

My friends call me Jenn and I am a wedding and portrait photographer. I started my business, Jennifer Crenshaw Photography, in 2010 after falling in love with shooting weddings as a lead photographer for a studio in Dallas. I was right out of college with an advertising degree and had no idea what I really wanted to do. Once I started learning my camera and creating beautiful imagery, I knew this was it, and I I’ve been shooting weddings big and small ever since I opened in 2010. Recently, I had the opportunity to photograph the DFW NACE chapter and their annual awards gala at the Empire Room. The event had several moving parts for photography including a formal group photo of the board of directors, a casino game cocktail hour, and an awards presentation during dinner.

What do you love most about the work you do?

I feel like I have the best job in the world when I have my camera in hand. I’m one of those people who love to people watch, and it has given me the ability to capture true emotions at the right moments. I connect with people on a real level and create clients for life. As a small business owner, it’s been a long road, but I love that I have created a brand that I am proud of.

Which best describes you? Iphone/Mac, Iphone/PC, Android/Mac, Android/PC?

I’ve always been an iPhone/iMac user! I do all of my photo processing and editing on my Mac, and I must say that editing is the least favorite part of my job. 

When you’re not working, what are you doing?

When I’m not working, I’m binging Netflix with my husband. We have different schedules so when we get the chance to spend time with each other, snuggled up on the couch is where I want to be.

Tell us one thing on your bucket list

I have so many things on my bucket list but if I only get to choose one it would be photographing the Northern Lights. For the last 10 years I’ve made a yearly goal to travel to at least one place I’ve never been before, and Alaska is definitely on the bucket list of places to see. I try to combine my love of photography and my love of travel by creating personal projects for myself on trips.

Is there a song you wish they would stop playing at events? 

I wish they would stop playing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” at weddings. For me it marks the end of a very long day when I’m ready to go home and wind down with a glass of wine. However, if I’m at the bar or out with friends I will still sing it at the top of my lungs.

If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you use it?

If I had an extra hour in the day, and these days with the virus it seems like I do, I would take a long and hot bubble bath and relax.