How To Hold Successful Virtual Events | DeShawn Spellman


Purse Power

Ep. 282 - DeShawn Spellman is a Diversity Recruiting and Partnerships Manager with Lyft and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program Director with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. He has had extensive experience managing major virtual conferences for some of the largest companies in the country. In this episode, DeShawn shares his insights on creating extraordinary virtual events and what his work in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.

Listen in to learn how to creatively utilize your space as a business to create a lasting and memorable virtual event. You will also learn how to create successful virtual events with a return on investment without overextending yourself or making last-minute changes.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to thoroughly prepare and understand your client's vision as an event planner.
  • How to creatively utilize your space to create a lasting and memorable virtual event.
  • Why you should consider the return on investment of a virtual event before overextending yourself.
  • The importance of properly marketing your virtual event to make a good return on investment.
  • The importance of mentoring someone as an expert to carry forward your expertise.

"Understanding the major capabilities of what can and cannot be done in a virtual environment and space because it’s a lot easier to smile and pivot on-site than in a virtual space.” - DeShawn Spellman

In this episode, you will learn:

How DeShawn transitioned his career into event planning and eventually virtual events planning [02:04]

He explains the rewards of a diversity, equity, and inclusive role in different areas of his career [04:30]

The interesting aspects of a virtual events planner and how to successfully plan a virtual event [07:10]

The challenges he’s had to deal with as an on-site and virtual events planner [09:48]

He shares some of his favorite tools that help him facilitate successful virtual events [14:52]

Tips and tricks to create a lasting and memorable virtual event in your space as a company [18:18]

The top mistakes that companies make when holding virtual events and how to avoid them [21:05]

The role of marketing in making your virtual event successful and how to approach it [23:18]

DeShawn on how he approaches monetizing his work as something he enjoys doing [25:58]

He talks about his intrapreneurial mindset and how he uses it to do many things [27:58]

How he’s working to diversify the tech world for minority students through coaching and training [31:25]

Why you should mentor someone and learn to do things with excellence [38:10]


DeShawn Spellman is currently the Diversity, Recruiting and Partnerships manager at Lyft, a U.S. based - Fortune 500 tech company. With nearly 15 years of work in higher education, specifically with students from underserved/underrepresented communities, he believes his lifeblood is to help individuals reach their full potential.

His previous work with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund afforded Mr.
Spellman the opportunity to create positive outcomes and launch unique programming with brands such as Ally Financial, The National Basketball Association (NBA), GUCCI, and Apple®.

He has also been a champion in helping to diversify Silicon Valley by his work with
tech and social media giants Apple and Meta (formerly Facebook).

Through his leadership, he was able to increase his divisional budget from $300K to $1.8M. His work in diversity and inclusion has helped to foster positive change and create access to top companies for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Service Institutions (HSIs).


Mr. Spellman is a proud alumnus of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State
University, holding a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing.

He also holds a master’s degree in human service counseling from Liberty University.

In addition to his collegiate studies, Mr. Spellman is a certified Gallup® Builder Profile 10 coach, coaching teams to understand their builder talents.


He is an advisor for several organizations including Project Echo, Young Black
Leadership Alliance, GucciChangemakers, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

Mr. Spellman enjoys spending time with his wife, Nicole, and his son, Karson as well as traveling around the world.




Thurgood Marshall Board


Dr. Pamela Morris

Jennifer Brown

Virginia Harris


YouTube Channel


Donna Miller is the founder and CEO of Purse Power, Let's Share the Journey. Purse Power promotes women-led, women-owned businesses by providing a Google extension that allows everyone who visits your website to locate nearby businesses.

Let's Share the Journey holds calls at 10 AM Central every Friday to learn from national leaders to share expertise, ideas, and support. One week a month features Zoom Room networking. We support Donna's endeavor and have provided the speaker calls in a podcast format. Please join her on Friday mornings! You can register for the calls here.

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