Dawn E. Hewitt
The Arc of the Capital Area
Current Job Title: Development and Special Events Coordinator
Current Job Description:
“The Arc of the Capital Area is an Austin nonprofit that provides programs and support for Central Texans with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. My position with The Arc focuses on developing relationships with businesses and vendors in the area as well as planning and executing three major annual fundraisers (including a gala, a golf tournament, and Amplify Austin), smaller third-party events, and several art shows throughout the year. I had a whole two days to rest after graduating from Texas Christian University with my MA in Art History on May 9, 2015 before beginning my position at The Arc of May 11.
I am also a part-time Manager on Duty at The Blanton Museum of Art. It was during my second internship at the Blanton during the summer of 2014 that I started working with Stacey Hoty at the Blanton. Since that internship, I have continued on as a MOD. I have worked as a wedding cake consultant at the now defunct Bakerman’s Bakery, which my sister owned. I coordinated events and developed community partnerships for Cencor Realty; most notably bringing the Austin Farmer’s Market to The Triangle. I was an event assistant at ColoVista Country Club briefly. For three years, I was a sponsorship coordinator and liaison for Austin Human Resource Management Association. ! also assisted with monthly meeting and annual conference coordination. More recently I have been working with a small group of local artists to co-organize opportunities and events to show work in nontraditional spaces. Our first show was part of EAST 2015 and was a great success!”
FACTS ABOUT DAWN:
What’s your favorite thing about the event industry? I truly enjoy the challenges of planning and executing events. The challenges mean you will never have the same day twice. You will always need to exercise critical thinking and creativity skills. You can never rest on what you did yesterday, because that was yesterday. It keeps me motivated and excited to see what’s next!
Why did you join ISES? Honestly, Stacey Hoyt has been telling me about ISES for over a year now. Her excitement about the organization is contagious! I have attended several power lunches and happy hours and feel that the education and networking opportunities will be beneficial for me and the organization that I work for.
What have you enjoyed the most about ISES? The power lunches seem like great educational tools. I already feel like I have learned things from the few I’ve been able to attend. I have been in and around the events industry for many years; however, I have never participated in anything that helps me understand events and event planning in a holistic and methodical way. It’s kind of like having a box with all the parts you need to build your very own Vespa but no tools or instructions to put it together. I feel like ISES is going to help me build my Vespa-I mean events-in a more effective and productive manner!
Best advice you have for others or have been given? Always smile! As a special events professional, you should always look like a swan on a quiet pond floating around peacefully. Onlookers should never be aware of all the work that is happening under the surface that makes you glide so beautifully.
Favorite thing to do when you are not working? I love to travel, read, look at art, see new places, and have new experiences. But most of all I love doing things with and for my son and daughter.
Most Recent Vacation Spot? New Orleans for a few get away days. BEIGNETS! ‘nuf said.
Favorite Austin Experience? Having been in Austin for 20 years, it is difficult to choose just one. I would have to say, my very first visit to Austin in 1995, while looking for an apartment. It was Halloween weekend, and of course, my friend took me down to 6th Street. Austin was a smaller place and maybe a little weirder back then, but I thought to myself, “I like it!”
Favorite Austin Restaurant/Hang out spot? Favorite food? Lately, it would have to be Justine’s Brasserie. I have been to France a half-dozen times over the last decade and having the food there makes me feel like I am back in Paris for a moment but with an Austin vibe. I can often be found with my son, who is 21, at The North Door for Astronomy on Tap or Nerd Nite letting my nerdy side show and enjoying a beer. But for a quick bite, Torchy’s is always calling my name!
Any mentors or people who inspire you, you look up to – industry or non-industry I have a huge amount of respect for Stacey and what she does at the Blanton. I have learned so much from her about how to think through an event and bring it to life. I am constantly amazed by her inventiveness and ideas!
NOW FOR THE FUN QUESTIONS:
What is the neatest place you have ever visited? Visiting a count at his family’s home, the Palazzo Capponi, in Florence, Italy was pretty exciting. I was introduced to the count through a mutual friend and had no idea that I was going to the 15th century palace to visit him and his wife, when they invited me over to their place. They were very kind, showing me the family’s art collection and discussing the long history of the Capponi family.
If you won a million dollars, what is the first thing you would buy Nothing! I would travel on the cheap for as long as it lasted.
Who / What is your dream client or event? I am always inspired by art and the creative process! I guess if I were dreaming big it would be to work for an artist, museum or gallery that wanted to do an art themed event where the budget was big and my imagination could go wild. For the most part, the events that I do these days do involve art in some way, so I’m pretty lucky!
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would love to go to Spain. There is such a rich culture and layers of so many different influences to experience. I feel like it would inspire me in new ways!
What is a unique fact about you? I wrote a book that was published and is in the Library of Congress. It was my MA thesis on a 16th century printmaker named Diana Mantuana, who is the first female engraver with extant, signed works.
What is the weirdest place / person you have ever done an event or request for? Probably fifteen years ago, I was hired for a holiday party by a gentleman in North Austin. He hired me as a day of coordinator and gave me very specific instructions on the things he wanted me to deal with for him at the party. It was an interesting evening, especially after I found out that he was an adult entertainment mogul. Lesson that I learned that night was … always know who your client is!!!