An interview with Brett Harned about this year's 5th anniversary of the DPM Summit, and what inspires him about these events. Catch up and read on!
View this email in your browser

Issue #28

Community, & an interview with Brett Harned

Three years ago I attended my first conference as a full-time freelancer and gave my first talk in front of a conference audience at the DPM Summit in Austin. At the conference, I met tons of folks who understood me and what I do for a living—and it was amazing. I had never had that before! Three years later, I'm lucky to be able to call those people I met at the Austin conference my friends. We occasionally work or collaborate together, trade advice and support with each other, share memes, listen to and visit each other. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how great it feels to find someone who understands you—not to mention a whole community. 

Anyway. Enough with the sap! Excitingly, the DPM Summit celebrated its 5th birthday this year. Much less excitingly, I was unable to attend—luckily, this wek I've interviewed friend, consultant, and conference founder Brett Harned to talk about the logistics of planning a conference, what happens after five years of running a conference, the best moments at DPM Summit 2017, and what inspires him about the community. 

The DPM Summit just hit its five-year anniversary this year. That's huge—congrats!

When you put together the first conference, did you have long-term plans for it? What have you found most challenging about running the conference from year to year? What's been your favorite?

BH: Thank you! It’s really hard to believe that we just wrapped our fifth event. To be honest, when I first conceptualized and organized the first Digital PM Summit, I had no idea if we’d even have success with it. But it only took 30 days to sell that first one out, and I haven’t looked back since. Now it’s all about looking forward to try to figure out how we can make the programming even better, and continue and strengthen the community vibe that the event is truly built on.

There are some challenges with planning events, but it’s silly stuff like working with event spaces and A/V teams that you meet once before the show begins. Thankfully, after five years that has become easier, but there is always some level of stress going into it. I don’t think that will ever go away. But I’m a DPM, so I tend to thrive on stress. No matter how it works out, I always enjoy the work leading up to the event and know that if it’s done well, it will make for an enjoyable event…not just for attendees, but for me too!

What was your favorite bit of wisdom (quote, moment, conversation, realization) that you gained from this year's DPM Summit?

BH: There was so much! The DPM Career Path panel led by Meghan McInerny was really insightful and vulnerable. I think it made everyone in the room realize that we all experience the same feelings in the job, and that we can help one another. Plus, no career path is perfect, and that’s okay!

What was the most inspiring story, talk or conversation that you saw/had at the Summit this year? 

BH: Personally, I was blown away by Sharon Steed, who gave an amazing talk about empathy and communications. Not only did she talk about the topic, she made us experience it. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a conference where one speaker gets 100% of the room’s attention the way Sharon did. For me, her talk was both practical and inspirational. 

What are you most excited for in the future of the DPM Summit? Where do you see it going in the next few years? (and beyond!)

BH: This year we saw a huge increase in new attendees and people attending from all over the world from different types of organizations. It’s interesting to get all of these very different people in one room and talk about the experiences, values, and challenges we share. That’s really powerful to me, and I look forward to reaching the many DPMs out there who are not aware of this community, and finding better ways to get people talking about topics that are important to them. 

I would be remiss if I didn't ask about tools or processes in a DPM-focused tell me, what was your favorite tool while planning the DPM Summit this year? Any processes or habits that you swear by in order to get things organized every year as you plan?

BH: It’s all about shared to-do lists. We use Basecamp, and when we get started with a new event I create to-do lists for every single aspect of the event (Speakers and contracts, A/V, supplies, etc.). We have it down to a science now, so we know what to expect (and do), but we’d definitely miss something without them!

More Reading

Other Links
Tweet and spread the word.
Like this content? Forward to a DPM friend!
Copyright © 2017 Natalie Semczuk, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
Tweet @ Natalie
Read PM Reactions
More DPM posts