Roberta Odebrecht, DES, CMP

Author: Michelle Russell       

Roberta Odebrecht began her globe-spanning career nearly 30 years ago and now serves as account director, team international at K.I.T. Group GmbH, in Berlin, Germany. Odebrecht was the first student to pass the DES certification exam for a new course format DEI developed for members of the International Association of Professional Congress Organizers (IAPCO).

What prompted you to pursue DES certification?
After learning about the DES course during PCMA Convening Leaders this past January, I immediately knew this was the right course for me.

What value do you place on the certification?
The DES course provided me with the toolbox to effectively hold my ground in today’s digital-events world. I look forward to enhancing my clients’ digital-event strategies.

How will you apply those new skills?
I want to advise my clients on how to recruit new customers through hybrid events and how to convert them into customers at their F2F events — and as a consequence, how to increase their ROI.

How are you using digital and hybrid events?
We provide livestreams for many of our clients and record their content for on-demand [viewing] after their events. And we produce webinars.

How does your organization support your efforts?
We currently have four DES course graduates in the company and I am sure that many more will follow.

Tell us about the first livestream you hosted earlier this year.
While doing my DES, I was determined to convince one of my clients, the International Federation of Library Associations, to add livestream to their August congress in Wroclaw, Poland. The results were beyond our expectations: We reached more than 94,000 librarians from all over the world.

Did you face any unexpected issues?
We streamed four sessions via Facebook and YouTube: the opening session, plenaries, and closing session. Three sessions were ok, but during the first livestream of the opening ceremony, we used a couple of music pieces during the artistic performance that, due to rights issues, YouTube and Facebook asked us to shut down the livestream. For us, it was a big lesson learned.

Do you worry that digital events will eliminate F2F events?
There’s always the fear of cannibalization with the F2F meetings, but it’s not the case. You can reach people who cannot afford to attend this year, but next year when it’s in another region, they can attend.

Odebrecht was interviewed earlier this year as part of the Convene Career Path series.

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