DEI Spotlight: Donna Hitchings, CMP, DES

Author: Curt Wagner       

Donna Hitchings has the distinction of being the first DES in New Zealand, where she works as a conference manager for Auckland-based conference-management company The Conference Company. She earned her certification in 2017 through the London-based International Association of Professional Congress Organisers — and she is more than a little enthusiastic about the future of digital events.

What prompted you to pursue DES certification?
Digital events need to become part of the PCO’s toolbox (if they are not already) and it is important to be able to speak knowledgeably to clients and committees about their options for including digital events in their strategy and future planning. I wanted to understand the process, terminology, and best practices for digital events.

How do you see digital events helping organizations?
Digital events will help associations to increase their membership, increase engagement, and ultimately increase their face-to-face audience at in-person events and meetings. Many associations struggle to get past the cost of having a hybrid event and so being able to talk this through with them is a huge asset.

What are you most excited about in the digital event space?
There are so many options! There is something that can fit all clients —starting small or going big. Anything is possible! I am very excited about how digital events can provide engagement for attendees, having done a few live-streams in the past with no engagement. I am looking forward to being able to incorporate this in the future.

What would you tell others considering getting into the digital event space?
Do it! When we think about the future there is no escaping the digital space. PCOs need to embrace this and become advocates for digital events so they can best serve their clients

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