dd:IMPACT - Events inspiring and educating Dallas' digital leaders


Through hosting a variety of events focused on furthering the start-up, design and marketing space, Dallas’ digital community and influence is significantly growing. A wave of new technologies and business trends emerged in 2015 and many digital professionals relied on these educational opportunities to stay ahead of the curve.

Where did some of the city’s most visible digital leaders go to enhance their professional network and expand their knowledge? Again, we asked digital professionals in Dallas which events they thought were impactful. The stand-out events they found the most valuable this year are unveiled below.

Ryan Bischoff

Sr. Account Director, RadiumOne

I’ve enjoyed forums and discussions hosted by the DFW Interactive Marketing Association (DFWIMA), such as iHack and the Excellence in Interactive Marketing Awards (EIMA), as well as 4A's programmatic discussion.

Jim David

Founder, Leapfrawg

Social Media Breakfast Dallas has consistently let me hear other practitioners in the industry discuss what is working and what is not working in digital marketing.

Patrick Derdeyn

Director of Sales, Specific Media

Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) Dallas, DFWIMA, iMedia and J.D. Power threw great events this year. Each one allowed me to meet with key decision makers and establish business relationships.

* Congratulations to DFWIMA for making this list twice!

Cameron Gawley

CEO & Co-Founder, BuzzShift

Typically this answer would be SXSW Interactive. But SXSW is changing and the corporate world is taking over. The scrappy tech start-ups are exploring new conferences for 2015. I attended or spoke at 10 conferences this year and must say that the iMedia Agency Summit in Scottsdale and Los Angeles were the most valuable when it came to networking/contacts. This exclusively curated 300 person conference brings together like-minded agency executives from across the industry and has proven to be the most fruitful relationship building event. Who said the best conferences had to be big?

* Congratulations to iMedia for making this list twice!

Kyle Hartman

Business Development, Zeta Interactive

I found the TubeMogul Roadshow on programmatic TV to be beneficial. As someone who is not well versed in the world of TV, this was a great 101 on what TV buying looks like, the challenges, and what the future could look like.

Lauren Hasson

Founder & CEO, LH & Co.

The 2015 State of Entrepreneurship, hosted by the DEC, brought out people interested in the start-up community that typically weren’t a part of this group.

Jeremy Johnson

Director of User Experience, projekt202

The Big Design Conference is always a great place to meet new people from Dallas and beyond. They have good content and speakers, and foster community in the area.

Randy Krum

Founder, President and Chief Designer, InfoNewt

The Big Design Conference in Dallas was a great event in 2015! I met some fascinating people from companies I didn't even know were in Dallas as well as those who had flown in for the conference from all over the world. The design and UX community in DFW is already strong and growing!

Mike Lyon

Founder & CEO, Calamity Gym

The BBVA Investor Relations breakfast taught me about a fin-tech disruptor app called "Simple," used by BBVA to reach millennials, who I had no idea hate brick and mortar banks. This helped me because we now have meeting with the BBVA Global Marketing Director to see if Calamity Gym can help them reach millennials via fitness + philanthropy.

Grant Moise

SVP, Business Development and Niche Products, The Dallas Morning News

The SEM/SEO seminars by Vertical Nerve this year taught me a great deal about search.

Michael Sitarzewski

Publisher, LAUNCH DFW; CEO, Epic Playground

I found great value with Dallas Startup Week and any of the Downtown Dallas, Inc (DDI) 360 planning sessions.

Kyle Taylor

Front-end Drupal Developer, LevelTen Interactive; President, TechMill Denton

By drawing over 2,500 attendees to downtown Dallas, Dallas Startup Week enabled us to share our stories on the successes and failures of starting companies and learn from others as well as have the chance to cultivate new partnerships with other entrepreneurs we met.

* Congratulations to Dallas Startup Week for making this list twice!

Dan Sturdivant

Dir, Speakeasy Digital Marketing; Past Chairman and President, DFW Search Engine Marketing Association

I attended several Digital Dallas (editor's note: we swear this was not a plant :-) events this year. I learned more about new technologies and Dallas-based companies (e.g., Vinli) and made new contacts (such as with Universal Mind) at each gathering. Thanks for continuing to push the digital agenda!

Kevin Vela

Founder, DAN Fund/Dallas Angel Network; Managing Partner, Vela Keller

I thought the REVTECH Pitch Day at Southside was a great event. It was well attended, offered good networking, and had great pitches.

If you don't see a Dallas event here you think is deserving recognition for its work in 2016, Submit it here

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  • Casey Markee
    My comment below can be read as ‘harsh.’ I’ll blame it on my huge amount of eggnog today. I’m sure there was nothing intentional about leaving out SOS. It was just BAD-ASS and bias and based on the survey sample alone.

    I appreciate Michael reaching out on Twitter and agreeing to include the influx of new survey responses he has now received on this piece. That’s very kind and yes, I believe your “credentials” are just fine. :)
  • Michael Pratt
    Thank you everyone for your comments. I would like to emphasize something before more SEO/SEM guru’s fly off the handle: As stated in the blog post, this was a survey of digital professionals in Dallas about events that impacted them in 2015. This was NOT a Digital Dallas created list by no means. SO while I understand your being up in arms about the absence of State of Search (an amazing conference, I might add) hopefully, our “credentials” can recover ;-)
  • Casey Markee
    I found a very visible omission from your list and that is the incredible “State of Search” digital marketing conference that is held yearly there by DFW SEM. The digital marketing conference was held at Deep Ellum in November of this year and was lauded as one of the top digital marketing conferences held in the ENTIRE World in 2015.

    That’s not hubris. The event contained over 40 of the top speakers in the Digital Marketing world as well as keynote presentations from top representatives of Bing and Google. The hashtag #StateofSearch trended online for three full days and the conference has already generated a ton of early bird attendee registrations for 2017.

    Not only did the conference provide a great way for Dallas to showcase Deep Ellum to a large out-of-state contingent. But the event itself contained some of the finest thought leadership generated anywhere in Dallas during the current calendar year.

    I can only assume this was an incredible, but inadvertent oversight on your part. Because if you do anything with digital marketing, and do not know what “State of Search” is, then I can’t help but question your credentials.
  • Beth Kahlich
    A big vote for http://www.StateOfSearch.org – Lots of great national speakers and attendees from DFW and beyond. Focused specifically on digital marketing.
  • Joe Youngblood
    Some events listed that I need to check out in 2016, thanks for the list!
  • John Stalle