WINiT Case Study: Donna Mitsos

Leading through Action, One Program at a Time

Leader Profile

Donna Mitsos came to the Events industry as a ‘second’ career but has always had a keen focus on delivering exceptional experiences for clients.

Upon receiving her degree in Business Travel Management 2010, she secured a volunteer role in the Society for Incentive Travel (SITE), which provided Donna with exposure to the industry and network. She secured sales roles with both The Leading Hotels of the World (LHW) and Innovation Meetings. She was then appointed to the Board of Directors of SITE Chicago in 2014. Her involvement at SITE led to yet another opportunity. WE World Experts, which represents international Destination Management Companies (DMCs), was looking for support to help them grow. Based on her customer centric focus and strong networking abilities, Donna become the Director of Sales in the Midwest region at WE World Experts where she continues to work concurrently with her position at Innovation Meetings.

A consummate connector and leader, Donna was introduced to WINiT in 2016 through one of the members of her network, Karen deKanter Brennan. Karen knew WINiT’s mission aligned perfectly with Donna’s passion for leading, networking and supporting others in the achievement of their personal and professional goals.

Leadership in Action

Donna joined WINiT in 2016. Some people take time to find their place; others, like Donna, hit the ground running and find opportunities to lead.

“I understood immediately – through the conversations I had and the information I received – that the members of WINiT had a real desire to help each other and connect,” commented Donna. “The WINiT community was really motivating so I jumped right in.”

The WINiT Gathering program, which leverages Members to host hyper-local networking events, had just launched when Donna joined WINiT. She loved the WINiT Gathering concept so she reached out to Dawn Repoli, WINiT’s Executive Director & COO, about leading a WINiT Gathering in Chicago. Dawn and WINiT provided Donna with the guidelines and tools necessary to ensure the Gathering aligned with the WINiT brand and, most importantly, delivered a casual yet engaging event for Members and prospective Members. With over 30 Members and supporters in attendance, the WINiT Gathering in Chicago was a huge success. It not only brought WINiT Members together but provided yet another opportunity for Donna to do what she does best: leading through action and helping others grow and advance their careers.

“The Chicago WINiT Gathering was the most enjoyable and beneficial industry networking event I have ever attended. I made many new connections and each of them was eager to hear my story and learn how they could help me reach my goals” – WINiT Chicago Gathering attendee

Donna’s enthusiasm for WINiT and her desire to give back to the industry through leadership continues to grow. With deep connections at SITE, she connected Dawn with the CEO as well as the CEO of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI) and the CEO of Here’s Chicago. These new relationships allowed Dawn to secure a booth for WINiT at Hospitality Fest 2017.

Why WINiT leadership matters

“One of the things working for WINiT has shown me is that leadership expresses itself in many forms” noted Dawn. “Donna recognized a chance to hone her leadership skills through the WINiT Gathering program. This event was just the starting point for Donna. She continues to seek additional opportunities to make an impact through leadership at WINiT, which is exactly the type of engagement we hope to foster.”

Sometimes the value WINiT delivers can be measured through tangible achievements: a job won, a career milestone met, or a new skill mastered. For other members, the most powerful benefit WINiT provides is the opportunity to lead. Donna is looking forward to expanding her leadership roles within WINiT, specifically by being a mentor through WINiT’s Mentor Program. She was also recently selected as a WINiT Leader and All Star, a Member who is actively supporting and promoting WINiT, its programs and services.

“Most professional organizations are more focused on connecting to do business. WINiT is truly unique in that its end goal is about helping women and men learn, grow, and succeed, and in my case, lead in all aspects of their lives,” said Donna.

Simply but perfectly put, Donna commented, “My WINiT story is mine, but every Member can write their own amazing story. What will your story be?”