Desi Whitney, 37, works in Scottsdale, Arizona, as senior vice president of sourcing operation and industry relations at HPN Global. As a 2019 40 Under 40 honoree, Whitney discusses her passion for the events industry.
What I do: I lead the sourcing operations team for HPN Global. My team supports more than 150 HPN Global sales associates worldwide. Additionally, I am responsible for HPN Global’s industry relations, dedicating time building and enhancing relationships, as well as strategic partnerships, contracts and commission agreements. I also plan and execute the annual HPN Global Partner Conference, which has become the most sought after third-party conference.
How I got here: I believe the universe lined up perfectly 17 years ago connecting me with the CEO of HPN Global, Bill Kilburg. I began on the ground floor at the inception of HPN Global and have worked my way through the ranks of executive assistant, sourcing specialist, sourcing manager, sourcing director, vice president of sourcing operations and industry relations, and senior vice president of sourcing operations and industry relations. I continue to be right where I am supposed to be.
Greatest career accomplishment: I have been able to successfully tackle being a dedicated mom and a passionate professional. This is a prime example of the kind of company culture we set out to promote 17 years ago.
Impressive stats: My sourcing operations team has overseen significant growth for the company—to the tune of 80 percent in the past five years.
Specific improvement I’ve made: I took over planning for the HPN Global Partner Conference in 2015. Attendance has increased by 60 percent since that time. My initiatives have elevated attendee experience by putting great focus on sponsorship, quality of speakers, and branding. We have revolutionized the industry approach to growth, development and networking.
What I do outside of work: When I’m not spending time in my role with HPN Global, you can find me working on my new business venture: Emergency Concierge International. I co-founded Emergency Concierge International with my husband after identifying an industry need for emergency operations planning and on-site crisis management. Most importantly, I love spending time with family and, even though we travel so much in our industry, I still truly love to travel.