Diedra Crawford on leadership: ‘Always be yourself and stand firm on your values’
August 9, 2018

Diedra Crawford on leadership: ‘Always be yourself and stand firm on your values’

With more than 20 years of marketing, management and meeting planning, Diedra Crawford is an expert in her field and a leader in her industry. As Industry Sales and Operations Director for Digestive Disease Week® (DDW), she oversees exhibitor and vendor relationships, contract negotiations, and event logistics for the world’s largest gathering of digestive disease health professionals. Diedra’s story is part two of our Women in Leadership Series, where we’ve spotlighted innovative women in leadership positions who are paving the way in their association or company. They offer insight into their careers, tips for women starting out and their “secret sauce” ingredients for getting where they are today.

Diedra Crawford  → 
Industry Sales and Operations Director, DDW

Q: What is your current position and how long have you been in your field?

A: Industry Sales and Operations Director, DDW


Q: Who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader and how did he/she affect your leadership style?

A: I have two people: 1. Jackie Russo, IAEE (International Association of Exhibitions and Events) industry icon. I saw her at one of my first IAEE events and was super impressed with her. I met her at that meeting, and we’ve been friends since then. She showed me that you can be a female in this industry and still be beloved and recognized as an industry leader. This affected my leadership style by boosting my confidence that you can be nice, friendly, fair and female as a leader. And you don’t have to be a 50-plus-year-old male to make a difference in this industry.  2. My previous boss, Chris Dolnack at NSSF (National Shooting Sports Foundation). Chris taught me the value of being authentic. Always be yourself and stand firm on your values.


Q: What’s one leadership lesson you’ve learned in your career?

A: Listening, which leads into collaboration.


Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

A:Be more open, but hold true to your values. Your values ground you.


Q: What strategies would you recommend to women who are trying to achieve a more prominent role in their organization?

A: Claim your ideas and get credit for them; demonstrate your value and be heard.


Q: What is your secret sauce?

A: Not sure this meets the secret sauce question, but the beach or lake with my family and dogs refreshes me. 


Stay tuned for part three and four of our Women in Leadership Series. Read part one here.

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