"A partner is someone that doesn’t just call to see if I have business for them…a partner is someone that helps provide new ideas for our clients."
Meeting Planner at a Glance:
Donna Johnson, CMP, CTS, CEM is the Strategic Account Director for Courtesy Associates. Her role is to provide thought leadership to ITC while overseeing the event execution team. Donna serves as Strategic Account Director for our slate of IEEE meetings, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities and the International Oil Spill Conference, all which broke attendance and exhibit records at their May 2011 conference.
- Donna has more than 22 years of experience in event and meeting management.
- She frequently guides clients through the development and expansion of sponsorship and support plans to increase revenue and expand participation.
- She served as exhibit sales manager for Projection Presentation Technology, where she was responsible for increasing audiovisual exhibit sales through lead generation, prospecting and marketing campaigns. She also served as operations manager in the trade show division of PGI, Inc. (now TBA Global Events), where she managed a staff responsible for executing trade shows and events (with a combined valued of over $5M in revenue) for various corporate, association and nonprofit organizations.
- She holds a B.S. in Communications from Ohio University
Our conversation about the value of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Partnership:
TERRI: What’s the hardest/most challenging part of your job? What do you most enjoy?
DONNA: I find the most challenging aspect of my job to be coming up with unique and creative ways, year after year, to make our events the most talked about in the industry.
I love that I never have the same day twice and even with twenty-two years’ experience, I still encounter opportunities that challenge me to solve efficiently and on budget. I truly enjoy watching a blank slate of an exhibit hall be transformed into an amazing event in less than three days.
TERRI: How did you first become aware of the services CVBs provided?
DONNA: Prior to contracting, it serves us well to ask a lot of questions, and CVBs are a great local resource for the answers. After working in the industry so long, they have become a natural part of our planning efficiency.
TERRI: What do you most value about your relationship with the Fort Worth CVB or other CVBs in general?
DONNA: The Fort Worth CVB is a true partner in our success! They listen to their clients and together we develop creative solutions or brainstorm ideas that are a win-win for all stakeholders.
TERRI: When you reach out, what is your litmus test for a quality CVB partner?
DONNA: A partner is someone that doesn’t just call to see if I have business for them…a partner is someone that helps provide new ideas for our clients.
TERRI: What do you think is unique about the value CVBs provide compared to other planning partners you might use?
DONNA: CVBs are the experts for a destination. We rely on them to share what is new, what is hot, successful ideas from other groups that have met in the city. They are our go to resource when we are thinking about bringing an event to their city.
TERRI: What is most compelling to you about Fort Worth as a meeting destination? What do your attendees have to say about Fort Worth as a meeting destination?
DONNA: Short and sweet-Fort Worth is a FRIENDLY, walkable city, with great airlift into the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and often times even competitive hotel rates.
TERRI: Why did you choose not to go it alone on the internet, or go direct to hotel, when planning your conference?
DONNA: Because we value our relationship with our CVB partners and if you engage them from the beginning, they can offer assistance throughout the entire planning process.