D’Arcy Klingle is director of meetings and events at the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a nonprofit organization. She’s responsible for planning and executing all special events, including the annual conference, the awards ceremony, board meetings, staff training sessions, and other staff meetings and outings. Before joining the Alliance, D’Arcy worked at The Webster Group (TWG), a Washington, D.C.-based consulting company specializing in event planning, fundraising, strategic planning and foundation management, with a focus on nonprofit organizations. D’Arcy’s roles at TWG involved event production and marketing, including budget and timeline development/management, stage management, event production, online auction management, fundraising and strategic planning. D’Arcy has been an active member of the Association of Meetings Professionals (AMPS) since 2008, serving on the special events committee since 2009. She received her degree in public relations from Northern Michigan University, and her Certified Meeting Professional (CMP) designation in 2011.
When people say ‘I want to do what you do,’ what do you tell them?
When getting started in the industry, networking is key. The meeting and events industry is a very close-knit and extremely social community. Getting your name out there, showing ambition and making lasting connections is extremely important. Get to know people in the industry and learn how you can partner with and help them — you never know when your paths may cross again and when they may be able to help you. I believe networking leads to lasting business partnerships and even true friendships, it is also a lot of fun, so enjoy!
What do you love most about your job?
I enjoy the creative process that goes into planning an event. Choosing a theme, which sets the tone of the event, is a process I love. At the Alliance, I have a lot of fun planning our annual awards ceremony, both the program and set design. It allows me to be creative; and seeing it all come together is the icing on the cake. Bbecause I work for a national nonprofit, bottom line is essential to the success of our events, which makes it easy to enjoy the negotiation process. It’s always nice to get a good deal, but knowing that the money I’m able to save is going back into the programs that are truly making a difference is something I can really appreciate. That is a reward in and of itself.
What advice can you share with others in the industry?
Have fun and never stop learning or giving back to the industry. Why be involved in an industry you don’t enjoy? Get out and network! Make lasting business relationships and friendships. Go to educational events to learn how to make your next event the best. Talk to industry colleagues and pick their brains about what new and innovative things they are doing with their events. Study, and sit for your CMP so you can expand your wealth of knowledge in the industry and keep up with the trends. Get involved in an industry association — locally, nationally, or even globally. But really most of all, have fun with it!
What inspires you and keeps you passionate?
Education and relationships. Learning how I can become a better planner and meeting new people in the industry keeps me motivated and genuinely excited about this work. I stay involved because developing new relationships is both important and fun, and also because there is always something new to learn.
To contact D’Arcy, please email her.