DEI Spotlight: Leveraging Tech to Transform Storytelling

Author: Curtis Powers       

After earning her DES certification, Hope Mikal has put her new knowledge to work in a range of places: in her role at Joy Factory Films, as a contract assistant during TED Talks programming, and as a volunteer at an entrepreneurial event that will tug on anyone’s heartstrings.

Hope Mikal, DES

Hope Mikal has two undergraduate degrees, but her desire to learn hasn’t let up. The production and communications manager at Joy Factory Films received a scholarship from Meetings + Conventions Calgary to pursue her DES certification in 2017, which gave her the ability to put that passion for new knowledge to work. As new digital tools continue to reshape the way people connect, she believes the meetings industry needs to remain on the cutting edge in the tech-driven era.

What prompted you to pursue DES certification?
As I’ve grown in the event management industry, I discovered that some of my mentors and peers have the Digital Event Strategist certification, and I thought, “Why not?”

How have you seen digital drive engagement at events?
In September of 2017, I volunteered in planning a 54-hour, entrepreneurial-focused hybrid event called Startup Weekend. It was fantastic to watch total strangers—a mix of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus and graphic artists—come together to pitch ideas for startup companies. Quickly, these ideas turned into working prototypes with demos and presentations to a panel of judges.

The winner of this tech competition was an eclectic group of individuals with an app that allows users to record messages to loved ones that they can listen to after the user has passed away. It’s a way to keep loved ones close to us always. Memo.Re took the top prize at this competition and went on to place in the Top 3 in a national competition. I was wiping my eyes watching the Memo.Re team’s award-winning presentation.

In both 2017 and 2018, I was contracted to work as an event assistant for TED Talks. While I was not directly involved with the media production side of this well-known digital conference, I consider my experiences working here to be the highlight of my events career. I signed a non-disclosure agreement, otherwise I could go on and on with all of my incredible experiences working on a project of this immense scale and popularity. I was absolutely blown away when His Holiness Pope Francis live-streamed a powerful Ted Talk from the Vatican City in 2017.

How specifically are you using digital and hybrid events?
My managerial role is focused on project management and communications. I am now more on the tech side and part of a talented team that allows other event properties and planning agencies to take their events and storytelling techniques to the next level.

What are you most excited about in the digital space?
I just can’t get enough of how brands have the ability to be incredibly creative with guerrilla and mainstream marketing techniques. How we choose to tell a story in the digital space is vital. Whether this is at a conference, an interactive booth, or an artistic installation, there are so many mind-blowing examples of excellent execution out there. As an event geek, I’m excited to see what the future holds and I look forward to seeing how we can push the bubble of innovation.

Looking for tips to fuel success at your digital events? Click here to browse resources from the Digital Experience Institute.

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