Women are making events industry history in leadership roles

Access—the largest privately-held destination management company in the United States, and the only woman-owned and led National DMC—makes history with its appointment of three women as Co-Chief Executive Officers: Jennifer Miller, Danielle Phippen and Heidi Brown. Together, they bring over six decades of experience in DMC-specific backgrounds across sales, creative design, operations and hospitality. Each of them is celebrated in the industry for their proven success in pushing boundaries and exceeding client expectations.

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller headshot, co-CEOs at Access
Jennifer Miller

Miller began working with Access over 25 years ago, first in operations, then in sales. Her involvement in a San Diego business think tank exposed her to some of the largest business owners in San Diego. There, she gained extensive insight into business models, strategy and leadership styles, which she will draw from as she leads the vision and culture for Access alongside her co-CEOs.

She has a particular knack for company values, seeing them as a way to center and support Access as an organization from within, and providing employees with individual and team growth and prosperity.

Danielle Phippen

Danielle Phippen headshot, co-CEOs at Access for Smart Moves
Danielle Phippen

Phippen began her career at an advertising agency in 1999, after earning a degree in business with a specialty in marketing. In this role, she developed a passion for event design, art direction and marketing. Later on, she spent eight years working in the sales and creative departments at a Colorado-based DMC. In 2009, she opened Workshop, a Colorado DMC. It became part of Access in 2015, and afterwards, grew from Colorado to Tennessee. At the same time, she opened rental and design company Max/Livie, which she still owns.

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In 2020, she was part of the team that started the new Access and saw it grow under their leadership. She finds constant motivation in the Access team’s passion, loyalty and hard work. She believes that, when work feels less like work, and is founded more in passion, creativity and output thrives.

Heidi Brown

Heidi Brown headshot co-CEOs at Access for Smart Moves
Heidi Brown

Brown began her career in the advertising industry, but later moved to Colorado and began working at a 5-star hotel, where she fell in love with the hospitality industry. She developed a deep fascination with the fast-paced environment and the cohesive teamwork across numerous departments with one common goal: to create an incredible guest experience. After working with several leading Colorado DMCs, she met Phippen. Together, they opened and grew the Access Colorado office.

After purchasing the brand, she worked to build Access up to what it is today: one of the largest DMCs in the country. Access, and its community of genuine, loyal people with a shared vision for greatness, continually inspires her, and she hopes to continue to show complete appreciation for the team’s people and culture.

Why Three?

The concept of three co-CEOs, at first, may come as a surprise. But Access has no doubts about it. By appointing these three leaders together, the company benefits from each of their individual strengths and diverse perspectives. Between the three of them, Miller, Phippen and Brown will be able to provide a seamless executive presence and coast-to-coast coverage. Each is deeply familiar with what it takes to operate a successful DMC, and by collaborating, the three of them can ensure success for the company, its 250 full-time employees, its large team of event staff and its operations in over 45 locations.

Miller shared, “We are thrilled to embark on this journey together, continuing to lead Access towards even greater heights. Our combined experience and collaborative spirit enable us to deliver on our promise of creating extraordinary, shared experiences that inspire people.”

Blazing Trails

Though women make up 63% of the event planning workforce, women hold only 37% of CEO positions, according to the 2022 Global Women in Events Report from International Live Events Association (ILEA). But this move shows that things are changing for the better, growing female representation in events industry leadership. Access takes immense pride in this Co-CEO appointment, which serves as a testament to its commitment to diversity and to driving the events industry towards a more equitable future.

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