From creating magical experiences at Disney World, to forward-thinking association event planning, Amanda Safdar understands the power of communities connecting over the things they love.
Although her many roles at Disney and her work with associations gave her the tools to be a successful event professional, like many within the industry, she was not quite prepared for the impact the pandemic would have on events.
“We were really lucky; [my past association] held our last in-person meeting on Presidents week of 2020. As soon as that event wrapped up, I said I have got to finish my DES. This is now necessary and critical to being able to help my association through what we had no idea was coming. I finished the DES in June of 2020 and immediately after, we started to launch our first virtual conference series,” Amanda Safdar DES, PCA said.
PCMA’s Digital Event Strategist Certification Course is a 6-module online course with Q&A sessions led by experts across meetings and events. The course educates event professionals on hybrid and virtual experiences to help grow audience engagement.
“A lot of the course focuses on the attendee experience and beginning to understand how they are digesting content. I think that was the biggest shift in that the industry was having 60-minute breakouts, 90-minute keynotes in real life, and very quickly learned that in a virtual world the capacity to digest that amount of information just isn’t there anymore,” Safdar said.
To combat that shift in virtual event content and presentation, Safdar began to see the importance of learning about year-round community engagement. As a newly-certified DES graduate, the wave of virtual events continued, leading Safdar to shift her focus where she found JUNO’s 365 community platform.
“I saw JUNO come up and what really drew me to even look at a tech company or consider myself moving from a mainly soft skill focused career to more technical skills was all of the conversations I had and what got me through the other platforms I used, were those relationships with Client Success Managers,” Safdar said.
As a result, Safdar joined the JUNO team to help serve as Client Success Manager to assist partnerships who went through the same sudden challenges of the pandemic. PCMA’s partnership with JUNO also enlightened her drive to join the team.
“When it came to joining JUNO specifically, PCMA was a big part of it for me. I’ve been a member with PCMA for over a decade and to see an association like that put their weight behind a virtual platform this far into the pandemic, I said, okay, that's serious. Although PCMA is a big deal, that's just one thing, but coupled with JUNO’s 7E culture was huge,” Safdar said.
Safdar’s Disney experiences valued community and team-building, and JUNO’s community-first culture felt at home. Although the technology side to working at JUNO is new territory, Safdar appreciates her many roles that helped her shift.
“[At Disney] I started working at resorts and then I moved to off-site ticket sales, a lot of work with their inbound team for lead management; then I moved from there to work on the youth group team where I worked with travel planners exclusively who were bringing their groups to Disney,” Safdar said. “Lastly, before I left, I stayed seasonal and did some event guide work and helped with the operations side of events.”
After her time at Disney, she was recruited at an association for her event planning talents, which she now puts to use accelerating JUNO’s partnerships.
“My last association needed someone to come in and take over the events and help not only run and build the events but to be able to be strategic throughout the association. I worked in all sections from our membership team developing membership offerings, sold and developed sponsorships. I had a holistic kind of hand in everything, really helping with the strategic side of events,” Safdar said.
JUNO offers a Single Destination Platform (SDP) and hybrid event experiences that open a new wave of learning and community connections that Safdar believes in. Her role as a CSM will allow her to continue those forward-thinking conversations and assist associations in executing their content shift, community engagement, and hybrid event experiences.
“When it comes to an SDP, it's one destination for everything and we are just beginning to see that being adopted. It’s going to be a big game changer once associations can understand content lives better virtual: we have more control, analytics, and other things you just couldn’t do in-person,” Safdar said.
“As JUNO begins to dive more into 365 and we see this coming to life, we are going to be changing what's offered and include more offerings. We are all a team; we are all working towards the same goals and come from so many different walks and it makes one outstanding team to be part of.”
About Amanda Safdar
Safdar is currently a Client Success Manager for JUNO. She comes with decades of event experience at IAOP and Walt Disney World leading global brand strategy, launching platforms for business discussions, ensuring flawless event execution, and delivering cutting-edge content to diverse audiences.
About This Series
JUNO believes in the future of strategic events, delivered in hybrid, virtual event, and in-person formats. As supporters of PCMA Foundation, we value reskilling for industry professionals and want to highlight Professionals Who Go Beyond.