Staff Spotlight: Christopher Ford, Senior Director of Hybrid Events

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Q: So, tell us more about yourself. Why do you like working on events?

I like variety. I like the variety of clients that working on events allows me to interact with. I like the variety of experiences that we get to create for people.  I’ve often said  “an event is an event, is an event; but all events are different.”  In other words there’s some basic logistics to events, but the execution is different all the time. No day at work is ever the same.  

But mostly I like working in events because events bring people together. There’s something magical about getting a good group of people together for a common purpose. Whether they’re bonded by business, a common purpose or good music, a successful event can inspire people to act in a way other activities rarely do.

Q: How did you first hear about TechChange?

The first time I heard about TechChange was when Lindsey Burke reached out to me on LinkedIn. Thank you Lindsey! Although, through my past work at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Newseum, I realized TechChange and I had many overlapping connections – including close ties with USAID. I am thrilled to be able to continue playing a small part in supporting big goals like improving digital democracy and stemming climate change.

Q: What are some of your favorite parts of working at TechChange so far?

Two things immediately come to mind; the people and the culture. I’ve been using a Nick-ism a lot to describe it – TechChange is a company of “good humans”.  I don’t use the term company to mean a business.  But in the secondary definition; meaning the fact or condition of being with others, especially in a way that provides friendship and comradery.  And this company of good humans has created a culture where we get to do cool stuff that helps other good humans.  

Q: What excites you about this role?

I’m excited to apply the TechChange platform to the hybrid event model for our partners. Across the event industry, we can safely say that events are not going back to the pre-pandemic in-person only model.  Over the last couple of years, the entire world dove head first into virtual events and while virtual is fantastic, there’s nothing like real human interaction.  

So hybrid is the next step in the evolution of events.  It’s now about having the right people in the “room”- no matter if the “room” is real or not- and those people having the right conversations.  But more importantly, the right people in the right spaces having the right conversations can affect change in the right areas. So, I’m really looking forward to seeing how TechChange can help move the needle on the ground in the areas where our partners work. 

Q: Anything you look forward to working on or learning at TechChange?

Naturally, I’m looking forward to my first Global Digital Development Forum coming up soon in April. 

But, I’m also excited to build out the service packages that will go along with a TechChange hybrid event, like our local Watch Party model, venue selection, and full-service event management. We’ll be sharing a lot more on these in the coming weeks!  

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you? 

I’m a proud introvert. I get asked a lot, how is an introvert successful in an industry where your job is to literally bring people together.  The two are not mutually exclusive. Most people misunderstand introverts. I highly recommend reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts  In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain if you want to nerd out on the introverts vs extroverts topic.  

Not all introverts are antisocial or shy – I love being around people and if you put me on a stage and hand me a microphone I’m likely to break out in song.  My introvert-ness shows up after the “party” ends. I need time alone to recharge my batteries.

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